Friday, 1 July 2011

The poetry of spice racks

I think you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their spice racks.  I'll describe a couple and you'll see what I mean.

First, there's the spice rack that has barely been touched since the day it was received as a wedding gift.  The occasional foray into the Mixed Herbs or even occasionally into the Ginger, Cinnamon or Mixed Spice on occasional domesticated baking days.  I have to say that I think there are one or two spice racks like these among my sisters and parents.  The spices and herbs are rarely refreshed or used, and are just there because that's what you're supposed to have in your kitchen.  Check out this Michael McIntyre clip for a more eloquent way of describing it - I love it, it's so true!

Second, there's the spice rack belonging to a child of the war era (my in-laws).  A fabulous cook, the herbs and spices are well used.  The rack is customised to personal cooking, with home made labels.  However, the range is limited to spices for baking, and a few herbs.  Adventurous and experimental cookery are definitely not the name of the game here.  There are no exotic spices, and definitely no garlic.

Finally, there's a spice rack like this:
This spice rack oozes character.  As you can see the conventional spice rack with space for 12 jars just doesn't cut it.  I want my spice rack to inspire me to culinary adventures.  The contents are a cacophony of smells and heady aromas.  Opening a jar takes you instantly to the souks of Istanbul, to the herb patch in the garden, to a favourite restaurant.  The names are evocative - Ras el Hanout, paprika, saffron and cinnamon - I am transported to the early explorers and the huge trade built up around these valuable commodities.  It may look chaotic (and poor Big C would have to hunt to find what he wants) but there is an organisation in place, though throwing jars back on the shelves as I cook with a toddler means that it frequently needs to be tidied.  Top shelf - bicarb of soda, baking powder, cream of tartar, food colourings, vanilla essence, bouquet garni, birthday cake candles etc.
Second shelf - short jars arranged alphabetically, and paper cake cases
Third shelf - tall jars arranged alphabetically and tomato puree
Bottom shelf - big tubs and pots, Calpol, Marmite, stock cubes, Tobasco, mustards and gravy granules.

I love my spice rack.  It takes central place in my kitchen and I think it tells anybody who sees it that I love to cook.  I'd love to see photos of other people's spice racks, so post a link to a photo below, and we'll draw some conclusions about what kind of cook you are...

1 comment:

  1. Love the idea of photographing my spice rack. I'll have to try and do this on the weekend I think.