It’s Good to Have a Nose: A Story in Photos

Sure, it’s not as soaring and breathtaking as Notre Dame, but to me, Penzeys is a sacred place: the Cathedral of Cumin.

Inside was foodie heaven. Each station included small and large jars of spices to buy, plus a big, square-mouthed apothecary jar to sniff. We started in Spices A-Z and worked our way through Baking to Cinnamon, and from Curry to Salts.

In the second nook of A-Z, we found the cumin.

Earthy, warm, biting, cumin-y goodness.
The nice spice ladies were reluctant at first, but I got them to pose for a photo. When I remarked that the prices were quite low for such fresh, pungent spices, they told me that everyone says that. “Mr. Penzey could charge more, but he won’t,” she said. “He thinks good spices should be available to everyone, so he doesn’t raise the prices.”


This is what I decided to take home after smelling almost every jar in the store:

For my kickass homemade chili recipe: Medium Hot Chili Powder, Natural Cocoa Powder with 24% butterfat, and Mexican Oregano

To make fresh fruit taste just a little more sinful: Almond Extract and Vanilla Sugar. Just 1/4 teaspoon of either one added to fresh strawberries, raspberries, or peaches is super-yum.

Hot Chocolate Mix for Dave

Chinese Five Spice Powder
for stir-frying magic

A new jar of Tsardust Memories, even though I already have a big jar at home, because it had a really pretty label.

To make our BBQs even tastier: Northwoods Fire Seasoning (with chipotle!) and Barbecue of the Americas… “This blend combines our knowledge of outdoor seasoning and cooking from the buccaneers to the great colonial cooks to the backyard chefs of today.”

Italian Dressing Base: To mix with EVOO and lemon juice to throw on everything: raw and cooked veggies, grilled meats… or something like this chicken and pasta, without the poison, I mean… pasta.

Rogan Josh Seasoning: To make red lamb curry. According to Penzeys, “This version of red lamb stew comes from the state of Rajasthan, known for its hilly deserts and fierce, yet chilalrous warriors.

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9 Responses to “It’s Good to Have a Nose: A Story in Photos”

  1. Barbara says:

    so, you want a good laugh? I purchased my very first jar of curry powder yesterday. Had not a clue what to do with it since um…I don't cook. I ended up dumping it on steamed veggies and snarfing it down. Overall tasty but me thinks there are much better ways to enjoy it. LOL..I'm a cooking dork:(

  2. Mindy says:

    mouth is watery!!!!

  3. Melicious says:

    Oh, Barbara! Looks like I'm going to have to have you over for a quick spices 'how to.' I mean, you can do what you did, and it's just fine. But if you lovingly finesse those spices, they'll sing.

    Try this next time: Steam your veggies, then put a little olive oil in a pan and heat it gently. Add your spices and let them cook just until they're fragrant — maybe 20-30 seconds, max. Dump the veggies in and heat through. The oil releases the spice magic. The flavors will be rich but not sharp. YUMMY. Bonus points if you add a crushed garlic clove to the oil with the spices, then sprinkle a little sea salt on the veggies when the whole shebang is done.

  4. Melicious says:

    Also, get some cumin, for the love of all that is good. And chili powder. You can do a lot with those two things.

  5. Barbara says:


  6. Melicious says:

    I grew up in my dad's restaurant, and my mom is also a phenomenal cook. It's kind of our family "thing." Food questions? Bring 'em on. At least now I can apply my skills to Dino-Chow!

  7. Amber says:

    We've got a Penzey's down the way, (like, 20 minutes) and while I have had other people pick things up for me, I still haven't been. Gotta get around to that!

  8. Melissa says:

    Penzeys is heaven on earth..enjoy and experiment!!!
    Bon Apetit

  9. Melissa says:

    Penzeys is heaven on earth..enjoy and experiment!!!

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