Yesterday, I realized we were getting dangerously low on one of our favorite seasonings...McCormicks "Seasoned Pepper". It's a blend of black, red and green pepper with a teensy bit of sugar that is, as far as this household is concerned, the perfect topping to help avoid all the unhealthy salt we used to love to sprinkle so liberally. For the past several months, I have not been able to find it anyplace. There are all sorts of blended this, and mixed up that, but please McCormick's ---for the most part I prefer to add my own spices to get just the right blend for whatever I'm cooking. If I want onion and garlic in something, I'll add it. If I want lemon, I'll squeeze it. If I want mesquite, I'll pinch it in.
There were copious suggestions for replacements, but none fit the bill. In searching around their webpage however, I did find a fun little section how old are your spices?
Now Tutu has been collecting spices from all over the world for the past 45 years. When hubster was in the Navy, we moved 19 times in 26 years, and I wasn't about to throw away spices every time we moved (they're so expensive!!!) so I'd mark the name of the place where we were living as I unpacked them, and put them into the spice rack, cabinet or drawer until they acquired passport stamps from five locations. By that time, I'd usually used them up, or figured they were pretty stale, so I'd toss them, and start new at the next port of call.
When I found this little tester though, it made me realize that it's been eight years since we settled here in Maine, and many of these spices date back to Navy days. Bob's been retired now for over 20 years (hard to believe) so it may be time to start culling the spice larder. When we designed this kitchen, we built in spice drawers, pull out shelves, and small hanging spots for spices, extracts and herbs. They've worked really well, but lately, I seem to be outgrowing them, and we've spilled into a cabinet in the laundry room. I think this will be a good project for the next foggy, rainy day....too bad the tester doesn't have the ability to scan in the bar codes, but then again, many of my jars and bottles pre-date that technology which should be a big hint they've outlasted their usefulness. Anybody want some 35 year old cinnamon sticks from Penang?
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