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Love spices, but don't know how to use them?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello all:

 

Since I love cooking, I find spices really essential to give an amazing flavor to the food. But unfortunately, spices that we can find in shops -mostly- come in a bad or medium quality. That's why I usually buy them from their countries of origin through friends or when I'm travelling. When people try my food and wonder why it tastes different, I give them some of my spices as a gift (A pack of 10-15 spices). Surprisingly, most of my friends don't know how to use them and leave them in the shelf. (sad sad) I don't know why, and was wondering if there is an answer for this.

 

Because I'm a software developer, my technical brain had to jump in. And I came up with an idea of an app that could make it easier to learn how to use spices with food (and vice versa), mix them together or learn how to preserve them. You can also buy high quality spices for a good price or sell your own spices if you produce them. But since developing this app would require a lot of efforts, I thought to share the idea with you. Would you like an app like this? What are you thoughts?

post #2 of 9

Would you be talking about herbs like thyme, sage, oregano, marjoram, or spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, anise?.

post #3 of 9

I, personally, am not a fan of "cooking" apps as I don't like having my electronics in the kitchen where so many things can happen to them.  That being said, a "Spice" app might be cool, but it would have to be a pretty large database.  Not only would you need a good description of each spice (and herb as they should be included also) but you would need numerous recipes for each herb and spice, plus recipes using multiple.  Also something that would be important, in my eyes, is a chart, or some such thing, that lists what spices are compatible with each other.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefross View Post
 

Would you be talking about herbs like thyme, sage, oregano, marjoram, or spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, anise?.

Definitely. I'm focusing now on building a database of every single spice, herb or sauce used in North American kitchen. What do you think?

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete View Post
 

I, personally, am not a fan of "cooking" apps as I don't like having my electronics in the kitchen where so many things can happen to them.  That being said, a "Spice" app might be cool, but it would have to be a pretty large database.  Not only would you need a good description of each spice (and herb as they should be included also) but you would need numerous recipes for each herb and spice, plus recipes using multiple.  Also something that would be important, in my eyes, is a chart, or some such thing, that lists what spices are compatible with each other.

That's very interesting thought as I find it inspiring. But let me ask some questions for clarifications.

 

What is a good description to a spice? Like mention what it is, origin and which family of spices it belongs to? Remember I will also show you what food (chicken, tortillas, etc) goes well with it. 

 

Numerous recipes means what? Like how to cook a meal using the spice? If yes, I guess this would just make the app another 'cooking' app. Right? Or maybe you mean recipes for spices mixes?

 

So you want a chart or maybe a graph showing what goes well with what?

post #6 of 9

You might want to look at how the spice entries in The Flavor Bible and The Vegetarian Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dorenburg are laid out.

post #7 of 9

Let me try and answer all your questions:

 

Description: should include a brief physical description, what cuisines it is often used in and the name it goes by in those cuisines, a description of the flavor, and what types of food it is often used to accent (chicken, pork, tomato, etc.)

 

If you want to teach people how to use spices  you are going to have to include some recipes that are good examples of how to use the spice properly.  Without it the whole basis of your concept jsut doesn't make sense.  To do this each spice will need to include, at least 2-3 recipes, IMHO.

 

To really cover off on the topic I think you need a chart or something to show what spices go well with what other spices as spices are often used in conjunction with other spices.  I think that this is an area where the average home cook is unsure of his/herself.  They've added some cumin to their chili, along with the chili powder but they want to add something else but are unsure of what would taste good with the cumin.  By showing what herbs and spices have an affinity with other herbs and spices you open up the door for them to experiment.

post #8 of 9

Somewhat in line with what Pete described:

 

It was in my early twenties that I first began to think about better eating.  At that time I just filled up the cupboard and would throw the kitchen sink in with every sort of meat and vegetable.  Then I got the bright idea to follow some recipes.  So it wasn't too many years went by and I just stopped using recipes for the most part, instead thinking in terms of catering to whatever flavor whim I had at the moment.

 

That being said, I think there would be a market for your app, but not amongst the somewhat serious foody, which doesn't matter because I believe that amounts to a small minority.

 

But there was a recent article about flavor profiles and how Indian cuisine differed from all others in its use of them.  This is a bit more serious and would really require an app to make use of. 

 

 

Rick

post #9 of 9
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