We have a very robust collection of herbs and spices. Our local food co-op has made it easy to purchase spices, in small or large quantities, for very reasonable prices.
Many of the containers are not filled with their original contents-they’ve been saved and refilled. If you were to look through my entire spice drawer, you would discover a range of spices: basil, garam masala, curry, chili powder, garlic powder, mint and more.
Recently I noticed that a lot of my recipes were calling for smoked paprika. The co-op doesn’t carry smoked paprika and I was trying to be thrifty, so I continued to use my regular paprika. Eventually, however, I caved and bought the smoked paprika.
I am so glad I did. Even though I’m well aware of the idea of umami, I often forget about the power of smoky flavors and their ability to make food that much more satisfying. The smoked paprika has a distinctly different taste from the standard version and I’m very much enjoying using it in my cooking, especially fall comfort foods like chili or rice and beans. I highly recommend spending the 6 dollars or so and trying out this spice, especially if you’re seeing it appear in your recipes as an ingredient. You’ll really like the difference.