Friday, September 9, 2016

Field Trip Friday: Spice, Spice, Baby


I’m a practical cook by necessity. I don’t love cooking, but I do love fresh, homemade, relatively healthy food. Naturally, now and then I get utterly sick of cooking and need either a break or a new source of inspiration.  So when my friend Marianne suggested a trip to Penzeys Spices in Sarasota, FL, I jumped at the chance. Our excuse, if one was needed, was the need to buy a wedding gift for the daughter of a mutual friend.

Marianne was familiar with Penzeys through her in-laws, but she hadn’t been to the store herself. We took our time strolling through the displays of everything from adobo seasoning to zatar (“a Middle-Eastern tabletop blend”). Penzeys had vanilla beans, and freeze dried shallots, and special herb blends for every possible cuisine you could name. Each one had a jar for sniffing and we sniffed. We made two passes through the store, first to choose spices for a gift box for Amanda, then to choose spices for ourselves. I saw many that I wanted to try, but I limited myself to five, including Sicilian Salad Seasoning, Ruth Ann’s Muskego Ave. Chicken and Fish Seasoning, and minced ginger. With my purchase, they gave me a slim book filled with product information and recipes. I’m already making a list of more items I want to try. 


Penzeys (no affiliation) might have a store near you. According to the list in their book, they have 66 stores in 28 states, as well as mail/online ordering.

Sometimes a field trip is all about exploring, sometimes it’s a treat, and sometimes I look for inspiration to send me on toward my goals. It’s a lot to ask of a few spices, but I hope they’ll help change cooking from drudgery back into a simple pleasure.

Do you need inspiration? Where could you find some?

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7 comments:

Deborah Nolan said...

Dear Kathy this looks like such a neat store. Have never heard of them before. Need to Google to see if there is one in Ohio. So glad you added some spice to your life☺. Hugs!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Debbie--According to the list in their book, they have four locations in Ohio: Cincinnati, Cleveland area (2), and Columbus. I think you'd enjoy a visit there.

Deborah Nolan said...

Dear Kathy this looks like such a neat store. Have never heard of them before. Need to Google to see if there is one in Ohio. So glad you added some spice to your life☺. Hugs!

Cheryl Gebhart said...

Sounds like a fun outing. There aren't any stores anywhere in Oklahoma, but there are a few in Minneapolis and St Paul, so I'll have to check them out next time we visit our grandson. I have some of their spices that were given to me. I figured they were just an online store, or maybe just wholesale, selling to grocery stores and the like.

Sketchbook Wandering said...

A treat for the senses and some adventures in the kitchen.. That's great that you found a new inspiration. Quebec City has a wonderful spice shop, all these spices and herbs and teas in little drawers that remind me of an old fashioned card catalog. I'm going to get some spices at our Common Ground Fair that is coming up. (sponsored by Maine Organic Farmers Assoc.)

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Cheryl--Yes, you'll have to go check them out. It's a fun little outing.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Rita--The store in Quebec City sounds fabulous. What fun it would be to look into all the nooks and crannies there. Hope you find some fun new (or old) spices at the Common Ground Fair.