Sunday, August 09, 2020

Spicing It Up A Bit

Way, way back, when Theo was one year old and I was a mere infant myself in the ways of homemaking, I bought an entire set of Tupperware spice containers WITH the special carousel. This was an unprecedented purchase for our household, financially speaking, one that I agonized over before submitting my order.

As it turns out, I have no regrets. None. Zero.

My birthday presents - it's relevant, read on...

You see, Theo was an extremely fussy baby, and I couldn't afford to waste the precious 15 minutes between crying bouts rummaging through the pantry looking for the right spice container. I know this sounds silly, but it was a real problem. I NEEDED TO COOK QUICKLY.

Which I guess was good training for one of these cooking competition shows now, but I'm past my prime for that. Born too soon...

So I bought the containers and, in a fit of organization that could only have taken place while Theo was either sleeping or being walked around outside by Larry, I put tiny stickers on each of them with the name of the spice/herb contained therein. This system worked surprisingly well for over 20 years. Oh, sure, the oregano and thyme stickers fell off fairly early on, with the oregano container thereafter being identified by the fact that it had retained a little gummy residue from the missing sticker, whereas the thyme container had no residue at all; and, yeah, the turmeric label fell off sometime in the 2000's, but you could still see a vague imprint of the ink from the label and besides, turmeric looks pretty unique anyway, so who needs to label it? 

By 2015 or so, however, neither the paprika nor the cayenne had their labels anymore, either, a situation that was, admittedly, a little tough, because they look fairly identical. But after one particularly traumatic cooking mistake, Rachel wrapped the cayenne container with a rubber band to distinguish it from the paprika, and we all moved on with our lives.

We're survivors.

Oregano, far left; cayenne, far right - no problem here!

All this to explain that, for my birthday in June (see, I told you that first image was relevant), I received from my family a package of blank labels. That's sort of cute, right? Also, it pretty much amounted to an intervention staged by my grown kids, who had become tired of playing what was essentially a game of  Russian roulette every time they wanted to cook something in my kitchen.

People, this $2 gift has changed my life. As you can see in the photo above, even the stickers that had remained on the containers were 27 years old and looked worn and tired (like myself, come to think of it, but I'd rather not). Putting new labels on my tried-and-true Tupperware spice containers has given my pantry a face lift of unprecedented proportions. What's more, now we don't have to pass around a container of red powder for a sniff test: Paprika? The dreaded cayenne?

No more rubber band!

Hello, easily identifiable oregano!

It's a beautiful sight, everything being clearly labeled and put in its proper place, and it makes my heart leap with joy every time I open my pantry door (look, it's 2020, so it doesn't take much to make me happy, all right?). 

Best of all? We can now rest secure in the knowledge that we will never again have to relive the infamous broccoli-sprinkled-with-something-other-than-salt incident of a few years ago. 

(Not to name names, but BRIAN)


  1. LOL, I'm sure that was an interesting experiment. When my children were young, my mom would bake before we came for a visit. There was a pan of brownies on the counter one time and my son made a beeline for it. He cut a piece, bit into it, and spit it out. She'd mistaken her bag of salt for the sugar. My Dad who seriously had no taste buds was quite prepared to keep the cake and eat it, buttered - another of his quirks. We tossed it!

    Happy Birthday!

  2. It's the little things in life, isn't it? ESPECIALLY this year.

  3. Oh! And Happy Birthday!!

  4. Funny the things we put up with for years lol

  5. What a great gift! I finally organized my spice drawer last week and my husband was in shock. "They're ALPHABETIZED!"

  6. When I was a kid, my mom cut the labels off our soup cans in order to send them in to school for the soup can label collection. She labeled the cans with a little piece of paper with name of soup taped to the can. Her brother came in town and switched all the labels around. I witnessed it but he swore me to secrecy. Mom was NOT happy when she opened a can of tomato thinking it was something else.

    Proof that it is indeed the little things. Happy belated bday.

  7. NICE! I can only imagine the excitement that is lost when you cook now--no more surprises.

  8. Organizing spices--perfect pandemic project!