Some common questions during cooking demos include; what spice is that, where do you get that spice, and how long do spices last.
Well there are a lot of spices out there so that first question is a bit harder to answer but here is a list of what think are home cook must haves.
Italian herb mix
Where to get goo quality spices for a good price might seem trick but it is important if you are shooting for the best flavor. I strongly recommend to view the grocery store as last resort or only in time of convenience. This is because the prices are much higher than if you went to a spice shop to buy spices. The product might be close or even comparable but the price is much higher. Here is my list of spice companies I recommend:
How long should you keep spices and herbs? That is a difficult question to answer but a goo rule of thumb is 1-2 years for spices and 3-4 years for dried herbs. Some people feel that if a spice still has a smell you can use it, which could work but the quality will be strongly reduced and there for show in your foods flavor. Here is a good article from the today show on spices: