by Karen Healy

When the big green awning saying “Penzeys” went up at 783 Elmwood Ave. local cooks rejoiced. No more shipping charges, no more internet orders, no more taking chances on spice mixes, now the reknowned spice merchant has a shop in the Elmwood Village and you can buy your Northwoods Seasoning Mix any time you want.

After several months of waiting, breath bated, I was finally able to visit the newly opened store. What fun! The large and cheerful space is well laid out and your herb and spice needs are easy to find. I browsed the collection of salad dressing mixes and barbecue rubs, each mix accompanied by a large jarful just for interested sniffers. Bakers will be happy to see high quality vanilla and vanilla beans, whole star anise, and wonderful baking mixes like pumpkin and apple pie spice. Grillers have rubs galore to choose from. There are chili and taco mixes, barbecue sauce mixes and curries for cooks of all experience levels to try, and everything is sold in jars or in bulk, which is very inexpensive for such high quality spices.

I left clutching my favorite Italian Sausage seasoning and a new chili powder, secure in the thought that I can go back anytime and try the five spice powder without even a second thought.

I have one worry though. If I stop buying through the mail, will I stop getting the catalogue? Those recipes are always really fun to read….must consider sending my sister a regular gift through the mail…

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