How can you eat the same thing for dinner for 5 consecutive days without getting bored with it? Spices and seasonings. They can transform the mundane to the magical, the dull into a fantastic feast, and make leftovers feel not-leftover-y.
The advice on spice is simple: buy it whole from an ethnic store. Ethnic stores tend to get the same spices at a far better price than grocery stores, and buying it whole will make sure you get the best possible taste: the essential oils that makes spices taste the way they do evaporate over time, but the whole spices lock them in.
Seasoning mixes are hugely overpriced and mixes can be blended with anything cheap to bulk them out – flour, for example. A few seconds with Google will reveal a stupendous variety of recipes for making your own spice mixes, and the investment of 10 to 20 minutes once a month will result in a jar of your own spice mix, made fresh, with only ingredients that you recognise.
I’ll be posting some recipes this week for spice mixes that deserve a place in everyone’s pantry, along with a time estimate for the preparation of said mix – laughably cheap mixes, in pint quantities, that take no more than 20 minutes to prepare? That’s what I am aiming for!