Monday, January 11, 2010

An Extended Fugue in the Key of Chili; Part Three


black peppercorns

The main spice in Chili was discussed earlier.  But there are other spices which you will have to have around to make a decent chili.

  1. Garlic Powder  (yes, yes, fresh garlic is preferable, but you would be wise to keep some of this around. BTW, more on this tomorrow)
  2. Onion powder (same caveat as above)
  3. Cumin
  4. black pepper
  5. white pepper
  6. Cinnamon
  7. Cocoa
  8. Cilantro
  9. Oregano
  10. Salt

Now, there is a discourse on spices. 

Simply put: Don’t go spending a lot of money on snobby-ass yuppie spices with their stylish bottles and tales of the huge efforts that they went through to pry these tasty things from the jaws of the lesbian Siberian tigers who diligently guard the virgin forest where these grow naturally and are gently encouraged by free-trade peasants who curl around the delicate plants to warm them at night.

Its a load of bullshit, for the most part spices are spices, and anyone trying to tell you any different is trying to get their hands into your wallet.  I buy most of my chili spices at the mercado where I buy my peppers, there are also little Russian and Indian markets who sell really good stuff.  The only thing that is lacking is the packaging and yuppie-foodie snob appeal. 

Another good idea would be to buy big packages at your local restaurant supply and actually put some aside for the cold times.  I routinely sing the praises of my little pump sealer.  This thing works great on mason jars with new lids.  if you toss a oxygen scavenger in a clean mason jar, put in the bulk spices, put on a clean top and then pump down the air out of the bottle, these things can last quite a long time.

The final thing to talk about is salt.  I think that a lot of folks don’t think about adding this to their preps.   A big bag of salt is cheap, cheap, cheap.  you will also be surprised how desperately useful this stuff is.  I heartily recommend reading a book from your local library:  Salt, by Mark Kurlansky

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