ABOUT EMERIL’S ESSENCE
The briefest perusal of the internet reveals a flourishing interest in spice blends. Attempts to replicate Emeril’s Essence (a spice blend favored by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse), Kentucky Fried Chicken’s “secret spices”, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, Lipton’s onion soup mix, Old Bay Seasoning, Pizza Hut’s breadstick spices, Shake and Bake mix, and Taco Bell’s taco seasoning, to mention just a few, abound.
Copyrights notwithstanding, any time a particular combination of spices is used regularly, it becomes convenient to mix up a batch large enough for multiple use. Often, spice merchants will do it for you. Chili powder, curry powder, garlic salt, herbes de Provence, mixed pickling spice, and pumpkin pie spice are commonly sold pre-made by American grocers. Similarly, masalas (a South Asian term for spice mixes), raz el hanout (“the best of the shop” in North Africa), five spice powder (Chinese), and baharat (an all-purpose Middle Eastern seasoning) are just a few of the spice blends often sold premixed in other parts of the world.
But should you find yourself without an obliging merchant, it is easy enough to mix spices yourself. Keep in mind that there are as many recipes for barbecue dry rubs as there are bars in Kansas City. Once you know which spices are used in a mix, you may want to play with the proportions until you get the flavor you want. With any luck you’ll find your own essence and won’t have to borrow Emeril’s.