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Growing up in a house that relied on food stamps and church soup kitchens to feed us most of the time, spices were not a necessity – food was. You’re not too picky when you’re hungry and if you’ve never had “fine” food, you never know what you’re missing.
I remember starting out on my own at 22 and as a gift I received one of those generic spice racks that had a variety of spices and I had no idea how to use 90% of them.
Then a friend invited me to dinner at an Indian restaurant. I was around 27 and had never eaten Indian food. I can still remember the joy I felt as the spices of the food touched my tongue for the first time. I literally could have cried, it was that good.
Fast forward 20+ years and spices are now one of the things I love most about cooking. One spice can totally change the entire taste of a meal.
Here is a list of spices which I believe every kitchen should start out with. Ideally, fresh herbs and “natural” and “organic” are the best, but YOU buy what YOU can afford. The Dollar Tree has a wonderful variety of spices for those of you just starting out and don’t be afraid to give them a try. I can thankfully buy whatever spice I want these days and I still find myself picking up a spice here and there at the Dollar Tree!