Spicing Up Your Meals: Cooking

Sometimes all a dish needs is a good spice to take it from tasty to delicious. There are so many spices and herbs out there, though, that it can be tough to decide what works best with your dish, even for someone who’s enrolled in culinary academy. Next time you find yourself in doubt in the kitchen, check out this comprehensive guide to spicing up your cooking:

What it tastes like:
This aromatic herb is a member of the mint family, but fits into more recipes than its counterparts. It’s a bit sweet, but not sweet enough for baking.
What it tastes best in: Italian and Mediterranean dishes

Bay Leaf
What it tastes like:
Bay leaf has been described as having a “woodsy” flavor. This makes sense because they are leaves from the evergreen bay laurel tree.
What it tastes best in: Meats, sauces, stews

Celery Seed
What it tastes like:
Celery seed tastes how you would expect – kind of like celery, only a little more bitter. It’s not from your typical celery stalks, though. Celery seed is the seed of lovage, an Indian celery.
What it tastes best in: Cole slaw, soups, salads

What it tastes like:
Chives are a part of the onion family, so they have a lot of flavor. They look like small, delicate leeks. If you think onions would be too overpowering in your dish, opt for chives instead as they’re a bit milder.
What it tastes best in: Soups and sauces

What it tastes like:
Some think that cilantro has a refreshing taste, while others think it tastes like soap. These leaves come from the coriander plant, but cilantro tastes much different than the coriander used in cooking.
What it tastes best in: Mexican and Middle Eastern dishes

What it tastes like: Cumin is spicy, but smoky and flavorful. It’s a staple in many taco seasonings for its distinct flavor.
What it tastes best in: Chili, Southwestern and Middle Eastern dishes

What it tastes like:
Fennel is sweet,  with a bit of a licorice flavor and has even been chewed alone as a way to freshen breath.
What it tastes best in: Chicken, fish, sausage

What it tastes like:
Marjoram is an aromatic, floral member of the mint family. It has a similar flavor as oregano, but it’s a bit milder and sweeter.
What it tastes best in: Sauces and marinades

Mustard Seed
What it tastes like:
Mustard seed has a very distinct flavor, with a lot of kick to it. It can be used in seed form, or the seeds can be ground to a powder. Mustard seeds can range in color from light yellow to black.
What it tastes best in: Relishes, meats, anything that you’d enjoy mustard on

What it tastes like:
Rosemary is a member of the mint family and one of the only sweet spices that doesn’t work in desserts. With a hint of pine and lemon, it is also high in iron, calcium and vitamin B6.
What it tastes best in: Stews, beef, potatoes

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