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April 5, 2013 / tyandolivia

Fact for Friday: Allspice Does Not Mean “All the Spices”

In case anyone was getting the idea that I’m a really amazing cook or know what I’m doing in the kitchen, let me set the record straight with a simple vignette from my own kitchen.

The stage: It’s two weeks ago, 6 p.m. and I’m making Ina Garten’s roast chicken. Ty is sitting at the table surfing the internet, probably on

Me: Hmmm, do we have any thyme? Or sage?

Ty: (doesn’t look up) I don’t know. Did you check the spice cabinet?

Me: (pulling out every packet of spices out of the cabinet) Yes. Oh well. (pause). I guess I’ll just use some allspice.

Ty: (jerks to attention) What? Why? Does the recipe call for that?

Me: Well, no, but I don’t have the spices it calls for. Allspice is like a generic spice, right?

Ty: (laughs heartily and rushes over to snatch it out of my hand). Um, no. Allspice doesn’t mean “all the spices”. It tastes more sweet, like cinnamon.

Me: Oh. Ah. Yes, not what I need.

I have no idea how I resolved the problem, I think I threw in some rosemary and called it a day.


Allspice does not mean “all the spices”

Here is an actual fact about allspice: it is the berry of the Pimenta dioica plant. Most of the world’s allspice comes from Jamaica.



Leave a Comment
  1. roodonfood / Apr 5 2013 2:48 pm

    Ha. No worries. When I started cooking I thought the same thing.

  2. Deva Jasheway / Apr 5 2013 3:13 pm

    Great anecdote. I’m pretty sure I used to think the same thing. In fact, I think the only time I’ve ever used allspice is unintentional, because it’s in the pumpkin pie seasoning.

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