Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Guest Blog #2: In Search of a Spice Rack

The following is the second of many guest blog appearances by the friends and family who inspire my own culinary, crafty, artistic, and life-enhancing endeavors, as documented here. Much thanks to my friends Lauren and John for sharing their recent kitchen achievement. They are both good friends and excellent chefs. I know this firsthand, as we are both part of a small dinner club that meets twice a month to share new recipes, stories, and of course LOTS OF WINE. Read on for some advice from two creative young kitchen enhancers...

In Search of a Spice Rack
by Lauren Thompson

“This will make us the envy of all the world!” I said. That might not be entirely correct, but if you came to my house, you would surely be envious of me. Because I have a test tube spice rack.

The rack was born when I saw one on the Dean & Deluca Web site. Dean & Deluca is an upscale gourmet grocery store in New York. They sell things like $32 elderberry vinegar, $23 coffee oil, and $135 lobster rolls. Expensive stuff. Probably delicious and certainly pretty to look at, but hard on the wallet.

Then I saw the spice rack. Go look at it. Isn’t it pretty? Doesn’t it make you want to break out a Bunsen burner and a chemistry kit? Don’t you want it for yourself? I did too! But I wasn’t about to shell out $100-$150 for one, no sir.

And so we did without a spice rack. We had some spices in jars, some in magnetic pots, some in tiny plastic bags. They sat in the cupboard, over the stove, on the fridge, on top of the island. They were everywhere.

Until one day John came home and said, “I bought us something from your wishlist. Well, half of it.” And this was how I discovered that John decided we were to make our own test tube spice rack. With a set of 50 test tubes, 50 cork stoppers and 1 metal rack, we had our spice rack.

First we had to figure out how to label the spices. we didn’t want to write directly on the test tubes or stoppers, so they could be reused. Stickers, we decided. But where to put them – on the stoppers or on the test tubes? We chose stoppers, so we can easily identify our spices.

Next came filling the tubes. We don’t have a funnel, so we had to slap together some makeshift ones using pieces of paper. John insisted we use fresh paper for every spice, ranting about cross contamination.

Last was the labeling. Using a fine-tip pen, I wrote out the names on the spices on rectangular labels cut to fit the stoppers. Hopefully my serial-killer handwriting will be legible.

The test tubes don’t hold very much, but aren’t they pretty? Don’t you want one for yourself?

Are we not the envy of all the world?

p.s. I would LOVE to include more guest blogs on this site. If you are interested, please email me your story and photos at sincerelyyourskate@gmail.com. I will do my best not to edit your contributions, aside from tiny formatting or grammatical changes. Bring on the guest blogs people!


ohmypuddin said...

Hello! It's Lauren! We got all the supplies for this here http://www.testtubesonline.com, if you're interested in making your own. Thanks to Kate for letting me post this and bragging about my awesome culinary skillz!

Lauren said...

I like the test tube style, good job. It seems like a lot of work for cooks with lots of spices (transferring to the tubes, labeling, getting spices out of the tubes in the right measurements). I think i'll stick with my SpiceStack which lets me use spice bottles from the grocery store. It may not look as pretty, but it works and keeps everything organized nicely in my kitchen cabinet.

ohmypuddin said...

It's true, it's not the most practical way to store spices. We still have a lot of spices in the cabinet. But it looks pretty neat, and it's a way to store those random spices we buy and use once (fenugreek, I'm looking at you).

Spice Rack said...

Any designs of spice rack for me will do. No problem. Seeing our own kitchen being fully set up brings out the energy in us to cook delicious meals. When it is arranged, it keeps us to have a good mood for cooking. I just couldn’t imagine how and what it feels to cook in a kitchen that’s disorganized and thatis’s unfinished with the necessary equipments for cooking. But this testtube spice rack is way too impressive though.

Bridget said...

Can I ask where you got the test tubes and stand from? I luv it!

Mum of 3 said...

I love your idea!!! Please can you tell me the size of the tubes - length and diameter. Do they hold a standard box of spice? Time to go shopping I think.