My spice shelf looks rather empty these days, or minimalist perhaps. We use a selection of pepper: black, white, green, pink, which we buy whole grain to prevent them from going off. A mortar is essential! Then there is always paprika for goulash, nutmeg for mashed potatoes and borsjtj, cinnamon for rice porridge, thyme and marjoram for pea soupe, Worchestershire sauce and Tabasco in the fridge for almost everything, and that’s about it. Allspice, of course, for meat stews, cabbage pudding and chutney. Basil is wonderful in anything remotely Italian (which can be anything with tomatoes or mozzarella), but is useless unless it’s fresh. There is a pot of curry, but I can’t remember when we last used it, and something called lemon-pepper, which is a mix of salt, pepper, lemon, cellery, and whatnot that is good on fish and some soups.
The only thing I remember my mother ever using was salt, white pepper, and paprika. True minimalism, but she totally got away with it.