Generally speaking I abhor torture and stand four square with the UN, Amnesty International, and all other organizations that ban its use. I would personally rather water ski through shark infested waters than water board a single living creature. Except when it comes to spices. Yes, it is true, I whole-heartedly endorse the use of the spice rack.
I know you all can relate. Have you ever prepared a tomato sauce that lacked pizazz? Made un-peppery pepper steak? Has the garlic ever let you down? Has the celery not earned it’s salary?
Spices will not always cheerfully cooperate with you in your finest culinary endeavors. When this happens it becomes necessary to grind their gustatory secrets from them by extraordinary methods. The oven mitts must come off. No more Mr. or Mrs. Nice Guy!
Ladies and gentlemen, submitted for your approval, the spice rack.
You can find anything on the web, and the spice rack is no exception. A smallish contraption as befits its potential occupants, it is a flat board with shackles on one end and a tiny but effective winch at the other.
Lets say you require a particularly vibrant taste of celery in your casserole. Simple strap the potentially offending stalk in the spice rack and sloooooowly tighten the winch.
“Tasty, my Darling” you might whisper, “Is what we are looking for tonight. Which would you prefer, a fast boil, or weeks of extended, (not to put to fine a point on it) stalkliness?”
Or Tumeric! I speak not of the fourth century Visigoth, temporary conqueror of one of the minor suburbs of Rome, but of the spice. Have you ever tried to deal with Tumeric? Reasoning does not work. Seasoning does not work. Only brutish brutal force and coerced compliance can persuade Tumeric to provide the proper yellowness of spice that you require. When you are contemplating yellow rice, “reason” harshly with the spice!
Strap that Tumeric into the rack and heave on the winch handle! And heave! And repeat:
“Spice? Can you say yellow?”
You: “LOUDER, SPICE! WHAT DO WE HAVE HERE, A CONDIMENT INSTEAD OF A SPICE?”
And then toss the tumeric in the pot before it can change it’s mind
Need I mention the Garlic Press? The garlic press is a kind of hand held iron maiden useful for garlic, onions, shallots, and indeed any medium sized roundish vegetable or seasoning. Nothing wrings tang out of a recalcitrant plumb tomato like the garlic press. But I diverge: the subject is spices.
Consider, if you have the fortitude, the pepper mill.
Do you want heat? Do you want piquancy? Do you want a spice that stands up and shouts boldly to the world: “I am here and I will not be ignored?”
Demonstrate the pepper mill on a lesser spice, like marjoram or basil as an object lesson to the balky pepper. You will find that the pepper speedily becomes most cooperative. It is truly thyme well spent.