What with being located on the old Spice Road, and with my cataloguing tendencies, the diversity of spices always exerted some fascination on me; now that I cook on a daily basis, with a preference for food from that general area, it's become an obsession. When I started keeping an eye out for good spice racks, I found the market terribly disappointing, with most items on offer consisting in neat-looking but laughable shelves of 5-6 jars. You get ugly stuff with 10 or 12 jars, and the best I could find was this 16-jar thing and as you can see, I almost immediately had more spices than it could fit.Rotating gimmick: NOT so practical.
So I took matters into my own hands, or rather my carpenters' capable hands. I head to the carpenters' whenever I need something it would be tedious (or costly) to find on the market, and they know me well by now. I had them make my bed (and the beds of other people since, as they are conveniently located next to a mattress shop, so the routine is: order custom mattress, walk next door, order bed frame to fit it), I pop in anytime I need a shelf (which they cut for me on the spot), and when I moved into this apartment, I showed up once again, drawings in hand, to order a large shoe rack and a sliding computer desk (that'll be for another post.) Being familiar with the kinds of wood, and even the size of the boards they come in, means I can plan ahead and make it really cost-effective.The carpenters' shop, opening right on the sidewalk.
So I arrived once more with a very strange order, to their eyes, but one that made them smile once I had explained what it was. "That's a lot of spices!" they said. "When one cooks a lot, one requires a lot of them." I said "We need to taste your cooking then."
A few days later, this is the monster:
You don't see it here in its full glory, because I'm due to pick up more jars and design the rest of the labels I'll need for them. But that'll take a few weeks so I didn't want to wait before I posted. Basically I kept the jars from that ugly thing I was using; they're standard and practical, and I can buy them individually for cheap. They also happen to be exactly the right size for Moo.com's wonderful Round Stickers, which come in sets of 52 labels that can be all different. Perfect, eh? I started with 26 labels, and I plan on completing 26 more to have a full set of kitchen labels. Here's a close-up I posted previously: they are in three languages, because it can be maddening when you live in a trilingual country to keep track of what is what.
I couldn't be happier about my spices arrangement now but now my herbal tea storage is starting to get out of hand, so maybe that's something to address in the future...