Sunday, May 14, 2017

Much ado about spices

Food is THE central component in my life. Food is social. How many events are planned around food? Food is comfort. Was it a good day? Let's celebrate with food. Was it a bad day? Let's drown our sorrows with food. Oh you're sick? You need to eat. 

It isn't just about eating though. I think about food. ALOT. Where am I buying it? Can I grow, harvest and preserve it? What am I cooking, baking or creating?

One of my favorite things about food is to try or create new recipes. Part of that creation process are the flavors of the ingredients. Especially the herbs and spices. Combining all the ingredients to form just the right combination of  texture, aroma and taste. Every growing season I have several planter boxes filled with various herbs. I use what I can then harvest and store what I can't use.  I would say there is nothing like fresh herbs and spices. The aromas are so tantalizing!  To be honest though, the bulk of spices/ herbs I use, are dried simply because it is convenient.  I have tried many varieties and brands of spices. Generic, Store branded, McCormick, Spice Island, Simply Organic and Dean & DeLuca. But not all spices are created equally.

Recently I had the opportunity to try Penzey's Spices. They have brick and mortar stores across the country as well as a strong online presence.

The store is very well laid out. Oh and the smells are AWESOME! There are all sorts of little sections on how the spices are categorized. Salads, Grilling, Baking, Indian, BBQ, etc...

My favorite part of the trip (besides smelling all the yummy spices) is the kitchen display. ALL the Penzey stores have a replica vintage kitchen, displaying jars of cinnamon (4 varieties), cake spice, pie spice, baking spice and vanilla (as well as other baking type spices and blends!). This is the stock photo for the Cincinnati store because I actually forgot to take a picture!

I showed considerable restraint and didn't buy the whole store...but it was tempting! The Tsar Dust, Greek and Star Anise were freebies with my purchase!

Since visiting the store I have also placed an order...or 2. They have amazing service and there are always freebie spices and swag (Bumper stickers, pins, etc) in the orders.

Besides the excellent quality of the spices, Penzey's is also involved in the community and an advocate for equal rights. Yet another reason I love them! If you haven't been I suggest you go. If there isn't a store local you, order online. You will not regret it!

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  1. i-heart-penzey's as well - if nothing else, just for the cinnamon and cocoa, but i buy almost all of my other herbs/spices there, too. my store is in suburban cleveland (woodmere area), about an hour away, but i can combine it with other places i go. i'm closer to the pittsburgh store, but it's a harder location for me to get in and out of and would take longer. --suz in ohio

  2. We were recently given some Penzey spices and love them!


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