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Welcome to WFAEats — a fun adventure where we explore all things tasty and interesting in the Charlotte food scene. We want to share stories, recipes and culinary escapades and hear about yours!

Spicing Things Up On 'Date Night'

John Reid

Baby, it’s cold outside, and there’s nothing better on a winter night than hunkering down and showing some love…to your pantry.

Credit Amy Rogers

  Yes. If you’re like most people, your pantry contain herbs and spices that have been on its shelves entirely too long. Some probably date back to a year that began with “19__.”

It’s time to fix that right up. After all, who wants to let life get stale, when there are so many ways to make it fresh?

First, pull down all those little jars and tins and look at each one. Then ask:

Does it come from a store that’s no longer in existence – hello, Food Fair and Pantry Pride? Say goodbye.

Does it have a price sticker? Those pre-date the age of barcode labeling. Out it goes.

Are the contents of the jar stuck together in a lump? Pitch it.

Baking soda and baking powder lose their power if stored too long. If you can’t recall the last time you used them, pour them down your kitchen drain and buy new ones.

You probably already know the stuff that comes pre-packaged in those cute spice-rack jars isn’t worth its weight in compost. If you haven’t already done it, dump that junk right now.

And finally: Is it out of date? Plenty of things are still safe to use, but that doesn’t make them worth adding to your food. If you’re taking the time to prepare a treasured recipe, or even just a quick nibble, why risk that effort – not to mention expense – by using something flavorless, or worse?

In other words: When in doubt, throw it out.

Credit Glory Bee Vintage Finds

There is an exception to this rule, however. Some of those old-timey tins are awfully cute. Collectible, in fact. Fourteen bidders recently fought to buy an old French’s onion flake tin that sold for $68.50 on eBay. One online seller, Glory Bee Estate Finds, has a set of three tins listed for $43 (and she does caution buyers not to use the contents). So hold on to those vintage keepsakes if you like. Just don’t eat anything from a container that’s rusty, dusty, or musty.

Now that you’ve made more space for spice, you’re ready for the next step.

Replace and replenish with abandon. Sample something new and different, or revisit a forgotten flavor. And promise we’ll make a date to do this again, sometime soon.