I know it's been sitting there in that little round building on Reed Road for a couple of years now, I just never seemed to get there - until last weekend. Finally, I'm not a Penzey's virgin anymore.
I was no stranger to this building, though - I'd actually been inside of it years before it was a Penzey's. Way back, this odd shaped building was a bank, the covered portion on it's south side was drive-through. After the bank closed, and after a while of being empty, the building became the home of the "Zacchaeus Short Man's Clothing store". Yes, I'm a bit vertically challenged, so I visited the store in search of some pants to wear to work. I quickly learned that the name of the store should have been "Zacchaeus Short *FAT* Man's Clothing store". I was looking for 29x29 - they had 26x45, 27x49, etc., with prices as large as the wiast sizes and in those fabulous golf prints everybody loves to wear to the office... Lovely. Would you believe I didn't buy anything?
But I digress.
We stepped in to Penzey's and I almost felt overwhelmed. I have been receiving their catalog, so I was somewhat familiar with their products,but I was completely unprepared for how nice the actual store would be. Boogie grabbed a basket and I immediately started fiding things to put in it. Of course, I did have a list to follow and quickly reverted to it in a desperate attempt to keep from spending too much. It was tough, but I managed to stick mostly to the list, spending a bit over $20 on: chili powder, garam masala, Fine ground white pepper, white cardamom pods (for Kheema), vanilla sugar, and some hot chocolate mix with mint:
Back at home, I decided that before I put my Penzey's bounty away, I would clean up/out my spice rack & cabinet and boy, oh, boy did they need cleaning. This turned into more of a project than I had anticipated, but I was still giddy from the shopping adventure in that little round store and had plenty of energy to burn off.
I wiped down all of the bottles & I found some really old and scary stuff hiding back there, along with some things I know I'll never use. Both categories included a few bottles of spice that originally came with the rack (we received it from my classmate Tracy as a wedding present in back 1987...). When the heck am *I* ever going to use pickling spice? I also found a 10 year old can of cinnamon hiding inthe back of the cabinet. I hate cinnamon. I emptied both of those (and a few others) into the trash and thoroughly washed and dried the bottles for re-use.
With a cleaned up space, I began to put my spices & herbs back into the rack. After a bit of organizing/alphabetizing/categorizing, I decided, being the nerd that I am, to make a list to blog, a list of my spices... I discovered that I had much more variety than I thought. Actually, I hadn't really thought at all about how many different herbs and spices I had. I've accumulated so many different ones over the past years that I lost track. Here's what I found in the rack and two shelves of the cabinet:
|Allspice||Whole Cumin Seed|
|Basil Leaves||Ground Cumin|
|Black Peppercorns||Mustard Seed|
|Ground White Pepper||Ground Mustard|
|Caraway Seed||Marjoram Leaves|
|Cavender's Greek Seasoning||Ground Marjoram|
|Chili Powder||Old Bay Seasoning|
|Toasted Chili Powder||Oregano Leaves (Homegrown)|
|Chinese 5 Spice||Paprika|
|Cilantro Leaves||Smoked Paprika|
|Coriander Powder||Sesame Seed|
|Whole Coriander Seed||Tarragon Leaves (Homegrown)|
|Dill||Thyme Leaves (Homegrown)|
|Onion Powder||Ground Thyme|
|Dried Onion Flake||Wasabi Powder|
|Whole Sage, Dried (Homegrown)||White Cardamom Pods|
|Rubbed Sage||Whole Fennel Seed|
|Garam Masala||Baliene Sea Salt|
|Garlic Powder||Course Sea Salt|
|Ground Cayenne pepper||Kosher Salt|
|Red Pepper Flakes||Lowery's Season Salt|
|Thai Chili Powder||Morton's Iodized Salt|
|(made from Rosie's Homegrown peppers)|
48 in all and I'll be buying more the next time I get to Penzey's, which hopefully won't be too far away.
Go, Shop, Enjoy,