Critics' Cupboard: McCormick Recipe Inspirations

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

McCormick Recipe Inspirations, premeasured spices and recipe card, six varieties, $1.99

Jennifer Mastroianni: SPATULA DOWN

At first glance, McCormick’s new Recipe Inspirations seems like their most ingenious product to date.

Each package contains six premeasured herbs and spices affixed to a plastic-coated recipe card. Add just a few of your own ingredients, and you’ve got tasty dishes such as shrimp and pasta primavera and garlic lime fajitas without a lot of hassle.

Great idea, right? Not so much.

The spice quantity is over the top, even for the most committed herbophile. I suppose you could use less and save the spices for multiple uses, but then you’ve got a freshness factor to consider. I’m sticking with my spice bottles, thank you very much.

Jim Hillibish: SPATULA DOWN

Something as simple as measuring a teaspoon of dried herbs hardly seems vexing. McCormick’s new Recipe Inspirations offers a solution for a problem that does not exist.

Each card contains six “premeasured” spices and herbs for the highly spiced recipe on the back. One card, one recipe. Since you’ve probably never used rubbed sage, allspice, thyme, and paprika, plus garlic, all in a single recipe, this will be new ground for the adventurous.

The herbs, encapsulated in plastic bubbles, seem ripe for the Consumer Reports packaging overkill column. You’re paying a lot for this, and it takes longer to peel open the six bubbles than it would to open jars.

Then again, there are benefits. New cooks will find a way to learn herbal seasoning without investing in full bottles. Folks who don’t use a lot of herbs will like the freshness of the cards. No more stale herbs, the bane of all of us.

McCormick obviously wants us to increase herb consumption. I tried the Recipe Imaginations pork chops and found them way too herbed for my taste. (I would not use 1 1/2 teaspoons of allspice in anything short of a whole chicken.)

New problem: What if you only want two servings? Throw away the rest?

For those of us who cook regularly with herbs, stick to the bottles and cans. Remember, less is more with these seasonings. Do your own measuring.

The Repository