Popular spices and herbs used for cooking differ for many reasons. Different countries use different spices and herbs. Different cultures use different spices and herbs. Popular spices and herbs used for cooking can also vary from region to region, by religion, family, individual and/or health situations. They can also differ dish to dish. What I use in my cooking could be very different from what you use and vice versa. I know I use an entirely different array of spices and herbs than my mother did. My sisters even have different spices and herbs that work for each of them, so I’m sure there are many different combinations of spices and herbs that can be used in cooking.
The most popular combination of spices and herbs used in cooking are salt, pepper and garlic. Different types of salt, coarse, ground and hot pepper, and whole, minced, chopped or roasted garlic is added to a number of dishes. This classic trio doesn’t vary much from one country to another. Most people use them. They’ve even come out with a bottled version called grill seasoning. It goes good with anything from salads to meats and adds plenty of flavor to your cooking.
Different countries have combinations of spices that are used in most every dish. Italian foods usually contain a mixture of basil, oregano and thyme and Southern American fare uses cilantro, parsley and oregano. The French have their own combination as I’m sure do the Africans, Spanish and Australians. Depending upon where you live, the combination of herbs you use reflects your culture and is a part of your heritage.
Different dishes call for different spices and herbs. While I would cook seafood with garlic, butter, dill, salt and pepper, I would not use that combination on steak. I might use garlic, oregano and salt, pepper and lemon. Most vegetables only need salt, pepper and garlic, whereas chicken or turkey tastes better with rosemary and sage. Some cultures like to heat up their foods by adding hot sauce or hot peppers. Some regions use what is locally grown such as tomatoes, onions or even fruits.
If you or your family have health concerns, you may not be able to use certain spices, herbs or flavorings. Some people have allergies or other health or diet related issues that only allow the basic seasonings and do not allow salt, pepper or things that interfere with medications. Usually this type of diet allows fresh herbs or other natural flavorings. Check with your health professional before adding any new spice to your diet if you suffer from a condition that requires medical attention.
Finally, individual tastes dictate what types of spices and herbs people use. My mom didn’t like the taste of salt so she never used it. I cook with salt but don’t add it after cooking. My daughter doesn’t like onions, but she has learned to pick them out when she comes to dinner at my house. Whatever your tastes are, there is probably a group of popular spices and herbs you like to use for cooking. If I were to ask ten different people, I’m sure I would get ten different combinations of popular spices and herbs used for cooking.