In the introduction to ''60-minute Gourmet'' (Times Books) Pierre Franey gives several hints for those who wish to cook in a hurry and without frustration. His first and most important admonition is to outfit your kitchen with the best equipment possible within your budget.
In addition to cookware and utensils, Pierre keeps his pantry shelves stocked and some basic items on hand in the refrigerator. In the summer, he has an herb garden which supplies him with a good selection of herbs. But in the winter, like everyone else, he is dependent on dried herbs and spices.
The following is a list of spices Pierre considers essential for a spice rack in any kitchen, particularly for the cook who wants to prepare imaginative meals at a moment's notice. Check through the list and see if any of these need to be added or replenished on your spice rack. Allspice, whole or ground Basil Bay leaves Caraway seeds Cayenne pepper or hot ground red pepper Chili powder Cinnamon, ground and/or in stick form Cloves, whole and/or ground Coriander, seeds or ground Cumin, seeds or ground Curry powder Marjoram Mustard powder Nutmeg, whole and/or ground Oregano Paprika Black peppercorns and ground black pepper White peppercorns and ground white pepper Hot red pepper flakes and/or whole dried hot red pepper pods Rosemary Saffron, in stem form or powdered Tarragon Thyme Vanilla extract