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How to Select and Cook with Spices

Spice up your love life with more flavor.

Spices can be used to enhance your food life. Always smell and taste your spices because they can weaken over time. Do not get one of those spice racks with the spices already in it. It may have been sitting on the shelf for years. It's always best to grind your own, but if you're looking for good quality pre-ground spices, I'm a huge fan of the Penzyes brand. They're amazing and can be easily mail ordered. McCormick's brand is another good option. See the below chart for spices and how they are used.

Spice                                                                    Use                                                            Additional Info


Fish, desserts, pickles


Black Pepper

Almost anything

Whole, black peppercorns are best

I season almost everything with fresh crushed black pepper and Kosher salt


Use the crushed seeds before using them. Best in curries, some baked goods and pickling


Cayenne Pepper

It varies in intensity. Used for sauces, soups, fish, meats, and poultry. Taste it first. You don't want your date sweating while she eats your meal.


Chili Powder

To make it come alive, cook it in some oil. Great for you guys in Chili, Mexican dishes, curries and poultry.



Cinnamon sticks can be good to infuse in hot liquids. Ground cinnamon is great in desserts, sweet potatoes and curries.

Great with Hot Toddies


Something that people like to smoke sometimes. Great to shove into ham. Oranges with cloves smell grand. I don't use them much because ya can't eat them.



Good for curries

Coriander is from the same herb plant as cilantro


Very aromatic, great for potatoes, curries, chili, and Mexican food

Comes from the parsley family

Curry Powder

Should be used in curry

It's a blend of spices.




Asian foods, fish, desserts, baked goods



Sauces.  For all meats, eggs and potatoes.



Meats, cheese, and eggs

You can get a lot of different types of prepared mustards


Egg nog, best if you get the whole nut. Sauces, cream soups, veal, spinach, chicken, veggies, dessert

Dead Sexy


Great for Hungarian and Spanish foods, stews, garnish

This comes from dried peppers


Poultry, sauces, soups, rice, seafood

The most expensive spice on the planet. Dead, dead sexy.

Salt - Kosher

A refined, coarse-grained salt with no additives.

Use it for everything except baking. Do away with table salt.

Salt - Sea salts

Salt that is produced by the evaporation of sea water. It's much coarser in texture. There are many varieties and colors of sea salts.


Use it for salads and to delicately garnish a dish.

White Pepper

This is the riper of the pepper berry. It's used in veggies, soups and sauces. I don't use it much except to mix things up a little.



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