I love to cook. Occasionally, I will bake, as well, but after reading Hannah Poindexter’s article myself scratching my head — twice. First, because the spices mentioned led me to look at your name once again to see if you were Mexican, then again to see wondering if this was a paid advertisement as opposed to an information article. You may be a married American born Mexican, I am still unsure of them both.
What happens should a potential chef dine at local middle Eastern cafe and love the Curried Chicken they ordered? How would he, or she, know which of the many curries yellow, red, green or ? curries to buy, from very mild to “oh my god get me some milk!” hot? The same may be true for the red chilies in the list, actually, since each pepper had its own distinct flavor, not merely the Scoville scale of heat.
Also, in much of the middle Eastern and Asian food, despite the variety of cinnamons, there are gingers, coriandor, cardomon, and saffron (which in America you may need a second mortgage on your home to afford). This does list, neither considers the rosemary or basil for Italian meals basics, or the suggestion of buy purchasing good quality empty jars and bottles along with high quality, freshly ground spice bulk quantities which are fresher, and less expensive, such as, Penzeys, or American Spice, just to name a couple who sell from small to larger amounts depending on the need. Many also have descriptions of flavor, what the spice is used in, and sometimes recipes.
After living in a world of convenience for past decades of recalls, and not knowing what one bring home from the supermarkets today I have enjoyed the “old way” of eating; the way my mother did. Using whole food, which includes the onion and garlic, freshly ground peppercorns, and have even grown nurtured my own Rosemary, Basil and Parsley plants.
One thing I would suggest to people who want to begin an adventure into the art of cuisine is to try a variety of authentic ethnic restaurants if they are so fortunate to live where immigrants are to discover which flavors you love best (always asking which spices are used!), and then ask your local library where cook books are, or Google search for recipes with those spices in them to get as close to ‘real’ as one can. Experience it before you dive in, to make sure its water and not quicksand.