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4 spices that don't belong in your kitchen

4 spices that don't belong in your kitchen

Photo credit: Atharva Lele

Photo credit: Atharva Lele

Our spice collections give us a snapshot of what kind of foodie we are in our own kitchens.

Spice collections are usually prominently displayed, like rows of little soldiers standing at attention, awaiting inspection. Or lying carefully and alphabetically in a drawer liner custom fit for them. Sometimes for years, their formation doesn’t change, yet they still stand ready to serve. They are ready to be our front line in our food preparation battles over instant pots and steaming woks and stewing slow cookers and sizzling pans.

Every time we cook next to them, every time our hand passed over their labeled lids to land on the spice next to them, these unused spices are a drag on our spirits, whether we realize this or not. The effect is very subtle, very easy to miss. We keep these spices because we are attached to the past or we fear the future (thanks for the insight, Marie Kondo!). We keep these spices mindlessly, because that is what we have always done. In those split-seconds when we subconsciously read their labels, we are reminded of pressing expectations, dusty self-history and failed to-dos.

What spices do not belong in our collection?

·         status-symbol spices

·         long-ago recommended but unused spices

·         obligatory spices

·         aspirational spices

We want as much “distance” between ourselves and these kinds of spices in our kitchen. We want our truly used, appreciated, inspirational, joy-sparking spices to stay with us. Our konmari-ed collection only contains the kind of spices we have to resist pulling out of their formation and start cooking right then and there, even if it is 3 AM. Konmari does this!

Photo credit: Matt Briney

Photo credit: Matt Briney

Release your spice expectations …

Konmari-ing our band of spice-soldiers is a wonderful exercise that can be completed in a few minutes of self-reflection and honesty. We can let go of what other cooks think of us. We can release aging spices that are simply there to be our memories of our past self. We can stop reminding ourselves of our sometimes-outrageous expectations of what our future self needs to be prepared to cook.

Isn’t it amazing how many emotional layers are involved in konmari-ing our spice category? It is really important to treat spices like useful allies and to konmari them in order, as a komono (miscellaneous) category after we have completed our konmari of clothes, books and papers.

Let your spices reflect who you are and what you cook in the present. Do not keep spices that only served you at the holiday two years ago or the the ones you intend to use at the event you will hostess in the distant future.

Today. Just today.

Make your kitchen you.

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