As a Canadian, I pretty much have never had a time in my life where I wasn’t cooking with spices. Even just the simple act of putting salt and pepper onto my eggs in the morning has always come naturally to me.
I love using spices in my cooking. Pretty much everything I make has at least one spice in it.
When I moved to Osan 5 years ago, I took over the apartment from the last teacher. I arrived on a Saturday and she had left a few days before. The apartment had been cleaned but everything she left was still there. A little bit of stuff in the cupboards, a sofa, nice big chair, bedding, and a super cute princess bed frame.
When I arrive this time, it was pretty much the same. I was taking the apartment over from someone else. I arrived on a Saturday evening, and they had moved out that morning. The apartment was still pretty clean for less than 12 hours of vacancy. But there was NOTHING here. Not even a pillow on the bed – I was a little shocked.
So back to spices: when I opened the cupboards, there was 1 mug and 2 plates. That’s all the was left for me. Not even a pair of chopsticks!!! Over the next few days I was looking around the supermarket and finding small things to keep me comfortable until I got paid and could really do a big shop. And every time I would pass the spice rack a little piece of me died.
The spices were way out of my price range for living off of credit cards. Ranging from 3,000 won to 6,000. Which is about $4-$7 Canadian. That really is about normal range for since I didn’t know when I would be getting paid, I had to pass them by.
For the last 2 months I have been cooking with no spices! Any extra flavour I add to my food is through other food. Of course the main would be onions and garlic. In Korea you can buy bags of peeled garlic. It’s amazing – and since I hate peeling garlic it works the best for me! I throw it into the freezer and whenever I need it, I just take a clove or two out, chop it up and off we go! The bag I bought when I first arrived is only about 1/2 empty and I use it all the time!
I think the worse thing about no spices has been the lack of s&p. Like I said before, I use it in almost everything!! Cooking pasta without some salt in the water? Blasphemy!!
Today I finally broke down and bought some spices though!! Just a pepper grinder and a thing of salt. Of course they were in two separate areas of the store and it took me forever to find both. The pepper was easy. I had an entire shelve length to choose from for pepper! Black, white, ground, flakes, corns – goodness!! I finally settled on a peppercorns in a grinder. I paid a little bit more for it but I think I can reuse it. The salt was a little more difficult to find. I had to find the international section to get some.
Although I am sure my blood pressure and health has appreciated the break from all the sodium, I am very happy to have it back in my life again! I was surprised how well I have been able to cope without spices for everything, but now I’m just totally over it. I NEED SPICE!!!