Thursday, February 14, 2008

My first trip to Penzey's

Penzey's Spices.

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:

My Spices

AllspiceWhole Cumin Seed
Basil LeavesGround Cumin
Black PeppercornsMustard Seed
Ground White PepperGround Mustard
Caraway SeedMarjoram Leaves
Cavender's Greek SeasoningGround Marjoram
Celery SeedNutmeg
Chili PowderOld Bay Seasoning
Toasted Chili PowderOregano Leaves (Homegrown)
Chinese 5 SpicePaprika
Cilantro LeavesSmoked Paprika
CinnamonRosemary Leaves
Coriander PowderSesame Seed
Whole Coriander SeedTarragon Leaves (Homegrown)
DillThyme Leaves (Homegrown)
Onion PowderGround Thyme
Dried Onion FlakeWasabi Powder
Whole Sage, Dried (Homegrown)White Cardamom Pods
Rubbed SageWhole Fennel Seed
Garam MasalaBaliene Sea Salt
Garlic PowderCourse Sea Salt
Ground Cayenne pepperKosher Salt
Red Pepper FlakesLowery's Season Salt
Thai Chili PowderMorton'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,

1 comment:

Columbus Foodie said...

I'm glad you finally made it to Penzey's - its one of my favorite places in town, and if I don't go with a list, I end up buying almost everything that catches my fancy.

I don't even want to think about cleaning up my spice racks/boxes - there are probably 100+ different bottles of who knows what - maybe one of these days I'll give it a try. Sad thing is, I too have spices that came with the original rack when we got married in 1996. 12 year old cream of tartar, anyone?