Baconfest – and a recipe – cool email connections!

Bacon-Poached-Creole-Wings-2A most wonderful byproduct of answering the company email is learning how many customers of ours are doing really fun and interesting things. Recently a total stranger and I became acquainted via this email.

“Hello, I wanted to let you know that a recipe i created using your King Creole Spice has been selected as one of 5 finalists at the Nueske’s Amateur Cook-off at Baconfest Chicago on April 10th.  Here is the link to my Recipe.

Here is the link to the Baconfest announcement
I really enjoy the quality and freshness of your spices and have featured them in other recipes on my food blog as well.
I’m hopeful that the King Creole Seasoning will help my recipe shine above the competition!  Have a great day.


Okay, we are from Wisconsin, where it goes without saying that Nueske’s bacon is THE BEST. Also, no one loves chicken wings more than I do. I had never dreamed of putting the two together. Add King Creole seasoning, and I have to believe in this recipe. Go Brad.

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Is it important to personally answer the company email?

IStock_000010998849LargeAs the owners of The Spice House, my husband Tom and I often wrestle with time management issues, there simply is not enough time in the day for all of the hats we must wear. We have learned that, while painful, you can delegate chores. They might not be done to the standard to which we aspire, but they can come close enough. I personally answer the company email for hours every day, and we have discussed whether this is something that could be given to one of our staff members. Many of these emails are very simple, but others are quite complex. Often times, simply out of politeness, unless my box has over 200 emails to get through, I will seek out an answer for someone who is looking to find a product we do not carry, or a recipe. I sometimes wonder if it is possible that so many people out there have no idea how to google the information they need. Or perhaps I have unwittingly turned myself into a Ready Reference resource. Growing up, before the days of computers, we used libraries and reference books. The families that could afford encyclopedias invested serious money in these books which their children could use as a valuable resource for schoolwork. Tom even sold encyclopedias on the road awhile in his youth, if you want a good laugh ask him about those ?good old days?! If you were not lucky enough to have some serious reference books at home, the library had a Ready Reference number you called for help. The person who answered was not hooked into any computer, she would leave the desk, go get a book, and look up the answer for you. So, on the most generic level, I may now be this person. HOWEVER, on the most valuable level, I can?t tell you how many emails I read that are written by remarkable people.

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Boxes of Beautiful Vanilla Beans

Vanilla beans 004 Everyone is familiar with the excitement of opening beautifully wrapped presents during the holidays. What lovely treasure might be discovered in the box? Maybe a beautiful jewel of a gift, sometimes a dud. We are fortunate to experience that anticipation year round, here at The Spice House, when we open our bulk packages of spices, that come to us from exotic ports all over the Earth. Some hand picked cloves come to us in beautiful wooden crates, stamped with a colored ink design of a ship sailing the ocean. The wooden box is necessary to keep the hand select cloves in perfect condition.  Cinnamon from Ceylon comes in five foot tall bundles, the long quills are carefully wrapped and then burlap is sewn around them. Saffron comes from Spain in decorated tins, depicting the harvesting of saffron. Cardamom comes from India, in a box stamped with an elephant, and even through the box, the heady aroma emerges. My favorite box to open is those filled with vanilla bean. We just received a shipment this last week.

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11.20.2009 004 It occurs to me that anticipation might be one of the most wonderful things in life. Anticipation is a positive energy of its own volition. Currently we are anticipating Thanksgiving dinner, as the host, my brother, is a fantastic cook! He makes three or four different turkeys, and then packs everyone a leftover care package. We also have business anticipations for the holidays. We are in a nice position, because of the uniqueness of our business, that PR really just floats in to us, usually via email these days. Each holiday season, we get some press for our spice themed gift boxes . We never know where these mentions will come from, and it is always with great anticipation that we look forward to them, whatever the venue. This year we are excited to have several connections working for us, including Saveur Magazine and a new television show about comfort food hosted by Art Smith.

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It occurs to me that anticipation might be one of the most wonderful things in life. Anticipation is different from expectations. order viagra 100mg

s=”asset asset-image at-xid-6a00e552094ec88834012875b8d50f970c ” style=”margin: 1px; border: #bf5f00 3px solid;” title=”11-21-08 years photos 457″ src=”/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/postimages/6a00e552094ec88834012875697dc5970c-320pi.jpg” alt=”11-21-08 years photos 457″ /> Expectations can be fulfilled or not fulfilled, and leave you disappointed, while anticipation is always something you look forward to. No one anticipates a trip to the dentist, for example. Anticipation is a positive energy of its own volition. Currently we are anitipating Thanksgiving dinner, as the host, my brother, Bill Penzey Jr., is a fantastic cook! He makes three different turkeys, and then packs everyone a leftover care package. We also have business anticipations for the holidays. We are in such a nice position to have this unique business, that PR really just floats into us, usually via email these days. Each holiday season, we get some press for our spice themed gift boxes . We never know where these will come from, and it is always with great anticipation that we look forward to these press mentions. This year we are excited to have several connections working with us, including Saveur Magazine! and a new television show about comfort food hosted by Art Smith.

We sent gift boxes to the editorial staff of Saveur magazine, and have recently had word that we have been selected to be in their gift guide. We have also sent boxes to be considered for the USA gift guide. In addition, a new show on The Learning Channel, that is doing a show about comfort food, has asked if they can come in with Art Smith on December 19th to film our Chinese 5 Spice being created. Paula Haney, of Hoosier Mama Pie Company uses this blend to create an amazing apple pie. That Saturday is the busiest Saturday of the year, but who says no to a television spot?! One of my alltime favorite anticipations of the year is an episode of Good Eats with Alton Brown which is about free range fruitcake, where Alton filmed a segment in our Evanston shop. The first year it aired, the Food Network had not yet been picked up in Chicago. Much to my surprise, the following year the episode aired again. And it has aired ever since. My hope is that it will continue to air until something about fruitcake changes! Will it air again this year? Is my anticipation warrented? Since I just put in the above link, all I can say it HOORAY, we love you Alton Brown!