Spices are the reason good food tastes good.
In my childhood home there was a decorative spice rack on the counter. Based on the font, it likely dated back to my parent’s wedding. That rack of spices used solely as decoration was the reason our house was not scented with cumin, fennel, and nutmeg. Instead my house smelled like the kind of plainness that is only present in white people’s homes.
I’m on the other side of decorative spices now. My house is the kind of place where people who enter inhale and smile.
Spices are the reason that the simple, super easy-to-make Ayurvedic food that I live on tastes like love. Half of the reason is that I know the qualities of the spices and am not afraid to use them. The other half is that I know how to store them.
How to store spices and more
Powdered spices — just like flour, meal, or any food that has been cut up into tiny bits — lose their potency quickly. For this reason, it’s best to buy spices whole, powder them up in a coffee grinder, and store them 100% away from sunlight like fragrant vampires (I have a spice drawer with small, clearly labeled stainless steel jars). Even with this method, use them up within a month or so.
If you’re beginning to learn how to cook Ayurvedic food, you’re bound to overdo or underdo the spicing. Here’s a tip: Use a pinch of two to three spices per person per dish. Then build from that spicey foundation.
Oh, and always keep one thing in your meal neutral in taste (another reason to learn how to make rice right).
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