Penzeys Spices Up the Day

A day doing paperwork doesn't have to be all bad.  Last week I proved this to myself yet again.  Afer a morning of minutiae, I stepped out to buy envelopes to discover a sunny and glorious day.  Happily, I met  a dear friend for lunch at CooperElla in Maplewood, the oh so hip coffee and sandwich shop / art gallery we like (and where this blog first started.)  Veggie and Two Cheese Grilled Sandwiches and iced teas in colorful tumblers led to a brisk walk down the street to Penzeys Spices.  We feel lucky to have one here in St. Louis.  Click here to see if there is one in your city.

The store is pleasing to enter.  The soft scent of spices lingers as you grab a wire arm basket and set about to gather your goods.  The spices are neatly organized in methodical groupings such as peppercorns, baking, spicy seasonings.  There is no clutter in the shop which allows you to absorb yourself in the selection of your spices.  The experience is much more than merely taking a jar off the shelf.  You are drawn to read the descriptions, ponder the applications, take the lid off the glass candy jar and smell the clear and curious subtleties between different varieties of the same spice.  There are five types of cinnamon: Ceylon, Korintj Indonesia, Vietnamese Extra Fancy, China Tung Hing and Penzey's Cinnamon which is their secret blend of the other four.  I buy Turkish oregano; my friend uses Mexican oregano.  Is there really a difference?  Yes, yes.  And here at Penzeys you can smell the difference.  Quality ingredients, such as these, inspire one to cook.   Cook to your taste preferences.

The SimplyCooking® pantry calls for the basics in spices.  But from this small and considered set you can make any cuisine from Thai to Southwestern.  We encourage people to buy quality spices that are broad and basic rather that the exotics.  Buying small containers allows you to use them fresh and replace them more frequently which also makes a big difference in taste.

 I filled my string bag with a bunch of the 1 oz. sized jars - Turkish oregano, sweet curry, French thyme, sweet basil, cumin seed, India Black sesame seeds for starters.  Our brief sojourn to the spice store transported us that day to a cheerier place.  I went back to my paperwork with a renewed spirit, anxious to wind it up and start cooking something good for dinner with my new spices.