spicesI’ll never forget the first time I attempted to cook in a kitchen that didn’t have spices. It was about three years ago, and I was making chicken francese at my boyfriend’s apartment for him and his roommates. I had picked up all the ingredients, I thought, and was setting up my dredging station. I opened the pantry to take out garlic powder and whatever dried herbs I could find… nothing was to be found. I didn’t know what to make of this situation. How did they cook? The answer, to my chagrin, was that they just didn’t. HOW COULD THIS BE?

Anyway, since that day (and moving in with the BF), I’ve become a spice collector of sorts. Every time I look at my bounty, I can hear Julia Child (the reason for my name) in her whimsical voice, saying she’s proud. Cliché? Maybe, but whatever gets you (me) through the day!

I promise I have a point here. Today is Cinco de Mayo, and instead of another recipe list, I figure I’d help the both of us out. So, without further ado, here’s your Mexican spice online ordering cheat-sheet:

Before you fill out your spice rack, there is one tool you’ll need: the molcajete y tejolote, or  mortar and pestle. My fave is from Williams Sonoma. Sure, they look pretty swanky, but the real importance here is mixing and crushing spices. See? You’re already on your way to be an authentic Mexican chef!

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff.

SPICE: Chili powder
Chili powder
WHERE TO GET IT: The Spice House
HOW MUCH: about $6

SPICE: Dried peppers
WHERE TO GET IT: Spice Jungle
HOW MUCH: about $6

SPICE: Coriander seeds
HOW MUCH: $3.95

SPICE: Oregano
WHERE TO GET IT: Rancho Gordo
HOW MUCH: $2.95

If you need more online buying power, Spiceologist has you covered.

Overwhelmed yet? I figured. To put it all together and get to cooking, here are some of the quintessential dishes you can now prepare:\

Recipe courtesy of Saveur

RellenoRecipe courtesy of Food Network

PozoleRecipe courtesy of New York Times

Obviously, Food Network has thousands more recipes for you to choose from. Take a peek!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!