Buying spices in the supermarket always feels harder than it should be. I know they’re alphabetically ordered, so I look for basil between allspice and cinnamon, but fail to find it. Then I look down and see basil on a completely different shelf. I vaguely wonder why it’s on a different shelf, but I rationalise it away: “Maybe it’s a different brand or something.”
Or I’m looking for nutmeg. Again, I know they’re alphabetically ordered so I look for it between mixed herbs and oregano. But it isn’t there. But it is on a completely different shelf. And it’s the same brand. What’s going on?
What I finally, finally worked out last week is this: supermarkets make a distinction between herbs and spices. Or, rather, the companies supplying herbs and spices to supermarkets make that distinction. Brands like Schwartz and Barts seem to share a colour-coded system: green for fresh/herbs and orange for warm/spice.
I will admit I have a tendency to ignore visual cues in favour of text. So maybe my Lynx browser of a brain has missed something that’s long been obvious to other people. But for me, last week’s revelation ended literally years of wondering why those little jars are organised in such a stupid, counter-intuitive way.
Did you realise this before I pointed it out? Be honest.