10 herbs and spices to start with (actually, just what I enjoy)

My mom had most of these (and many others) around when I was growing up and showed me some of the cool uses for them. Otherwise, I might have given up before I found anything I liked. Just saying…

Also, I have no idea if all of these are herbs and spices. They might technically be called something else. Whatever. Here you go:

1. Black pepper: This is your staple. You have to have black pepper. Also, experiment with how fine it’s ground.

2. Cayenne pepper: Bring on the heat. Perfect for bringing out the flavor in a ton of foods: eggs, potatoes, soups, and so on.

3. Cilantro: Some say it tastes like soap. They’re probably right. It’s an acquired taste perhaps, but it’s just what you need to freshen some dishes.

4. Cardamom: To me, this is dusty bark whenever you want that flavor. I love what it does to hot teas but also try it in something like banana-nut bread.

4. Cinnamon: Perfect for that buttered tortilla, but this isn’t just for sweet stuff. Try using it on some main dishes too.

5. Ginger: Spicy in a “not spicy” way. I often like this with vinegary foods.

6. Turmeric: Get your curry going on… but yeah, you can use it anywhere. Try some for more fun with rice.

7. Nutmeg: Ever wonder why your blueberry pie doesn’t taste as spectacular as your Aunt’s? Try adding some nutmeg – it’ll rock it.

8. Oregano: Most people think Italian food with oregano (at least I did), but it’s delicious in omelets or paired with olive oil on bread.

9. Dill: A cool flavor for soups and salads, just try it in a bunch of stuff.

10. Garlic: Another one that’s good all over the place, except maybe cereal (though you might enjoy it). Oh, and careful with your breath afterward.

Bonus: Sea Salt: Just something nice to have around to bring out flavors. Careful, though – I think a lot of people, and especially restaurants, use too much because they’re food’s not that fantastic in the first place.

Now to you. What are some of your favorites? How do you use them? Help out a naive, young, single guy.