As 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.
It really could be considered virtual foodie networking at its most extreme, the whole world can connect with you. I have become email penpals with high end restaurant chefs, who initially did not reveal their names, cookbook authors, again beginning anonymously, perfumers, farmers, food activists, food bloggers, food column writers, producers for food television shows and many more. Many of these come to us for spice advice at first, and once they see how seriously we take this role, it opens up further dialogs. There is not a day that goes by that I do not learn of something extremely interesting in the food world. I want to share some of these more interesting emails with you, and I intended to begin with a fun story about bacon fest. Alas, I have already rambled on too long for one blog, so it will have to be the next blog, and it will have a great customer recipe, provided you like bacon.