I once went to Glasto with a proud collection of herbs and spices, intending to dazzle my friends with top-class comedown nosh. Unfortunately, they all got stolen. Maybe I shouldn't have stored them in empty pill bottles ... What you take depends on how much you can carry and what you can afford. The better your selection, the nicer you'll be able to make your food taste, but the bottom line is that you don't really need any. Here's a few suggestions:
- you're unlikely to be thinking about how much salt you lose through sweat when you're having it large in a crowded dance tent. The food you eat naturally contains as much salt as you normally need, but when you're living outside, exercising a lot, doing drugs and/or drinking, you need more. Salt is vital to your metabolism, so if you take nothing else on this list, take salt.
- Stock cubes or Gravy Powder
- for richer flavours and thicker stews and sauces.
- adds a poke to anything.
- ginger, chilli powder, garlic granules and ground allspice (makes food taste Jamaican) are my favourites. Pre-mixed spices called things like "Thai 7-Spice" and "Cajun Seasoning" are really convenient, and add an instant exotic boost.
- basil is an all-round favourite and adds a subtle sweetness to food; rosemary, thyme and oregano also go well with most things. I really like sage, but it's quite bitter so should be used carefully.
- Nuts and seeds
- as well as adding flavour and texture, they're also rich in proteins and vitamins. Cashew nuts and sesame seeds both have a warming flavour. Almonds, walnuts and poppy seeds are slightly bitter. Hazelnuts and alfalfa seeds have reasonably neutral flavours.
- General flavourings
- mustard powder is great for adding flavour and spice at the same time. Bottled sauces like Worcestor Sauce, Fish Sauce, HP or Tomato Ketchup can be fantastic for reviving a sluggish appetite, and a teaspoonful of yeast extract will enrichen any soup or stew.