When my kitchen was remodeled a few years back, there were many decisions to make. Some were made for me, mostly dictated by the size of the kitchen —mainly walls we couldn't knock down, or adjacent rooms we could not do away with. We had to keep two doors and a window, which meant the walls we had to work with to install cabinets were pretty limited. Then there were so many cabinet designs . . .
One choice I made was one I probably couldn't have made when I had five hungry children living here—a spice cabinet. Then I would have needed the space for food or casseroles or pots and pans. At this stage of my life I have loved it, because I was so fed up with rummaging around for thyme or marjoram or whatever.
See those shorter jars? They make so much sense, because it is almost always impossible to use up an entire jar before it is out of date. When we were last in Chicago we visited the Penzeys store in Naperville and I bought jars, both short and tall, and caused laughter—or was it scorn?—in my family by indicating by labels the date of their purchase. Since then I have been replacing some of my older purchases, studying a jar or two before I visit the grocery store. 2002? I really bought some in 2002?
Excuse me while I go arrange my jars alphabetically. It really will be even easier to find Chinese Five Spice.