Meet Angelena: the girl who loves all things garlic

The setting is Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the place where it all started in 1957. While often being overshadowed by the variety and excellence of Chicago’s cuisine, Milwaukee has its own collection of culinary gems. One such spot is Sanford, located at 1547 N. Jackson St. on the north end of Milwaukee’s Downtown. As a restaurant that has housed not just one –but two– James Beard award winning chefs, we were quite excited when one of the applicants for a position here, at the original Spice House, had a connection to the now famous establishment.

Meet Angelena, a sharp, witty and overall awesome human being who, we soon learned, loves garlic. Is love a strong enough word? It will have to suffice, I suppose. Angelena quickly became enamored with our diverse line of garlic products, from fine powder to our large chopped and dried pieces. Every slice of ‘za that came from down the street for lunch was always heavily dosed, and any blend she sampled for us could always “use a bit more garlic.” I will not embarrass her further by telling you how many cloves of the stuff she and her partner-in-crime David have in their kitchen, but I will tell you that her love of all things garlic has driven the rest of our staff  to re-evaluate how much we all use, and to question some of the old fables surrounding it. Did you know that eating garlic does, in fact, repel mosquitos? Likely a good source for the myth about vampires, I’d imagine!

I’ve always been a fan of garlic myself, but the exuberance Angelena has for garlic has caused me to question why it’s not used in the most basic of recipes. Making a loaf of white bread? Add a couple tablespoons of garlic powder to the dry ingredients! Making pickles from the cucumber patch this summer? Woe unto you if there’s not a few cloves of garlic in that Mason jar! Fresh garden salad with a simple vinaigrette? That dressing could include a teaspoon of black garlic purée which would produce amazing results (equally amazing in any stir fry). Prefer roasted garlic? We’ve got that too. And here’s a hint about our organic garlic, it’s milder (less sharp) but very flavorful so sample it next time you’re in one of our stores. Have you tried our fancy garlic salt? OK, I’ll stop.

Bottom line, garlic is used in so many of our custom blends  for a reason. It’s delicious in all of its shapes and forms, and I’d like to challenge you, like Angelena, to find new and exciting ways to include it in your daily cooking! Really easy to do if you’re interested: Search “garlic” on our website and not only will you find each of our garlic product pages, you’ll get to wander through endless pages of customer recipes featuring garlic. And (no surprise), we love hearing how much you love our spices! If you make something really good with our garlic products, why not submit your recipe? We might even feature it in a future newsletter.

P.S. If you’ve gotten this far, I imagine it’s not because you don’t like garlic. But if you know someone who doesn’t, or does but cannot use it, here is a link to the garlic-free blends on our website.


Clayton Ribbink is an assistant manager at the Spice House. He has worked for the company since 2015. You can find Clayton at our Milwaukee location trying to convince the neighboring restaurants to help him in his quest for the perfect spicy chicken wing recipe when he’s not at home gardening, at the river fishing, or in general being a nuisance to his friends and family.

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One comment

    I too grew up with grocery store seasoning unless my Italian Maternal Grandmother made a special trip to San Fran for bread, spices and loose teas! Then Grandmother would cook and brew, I had never tasted anything better in my young life. My Mom was a good cook, very creative when money was tight. Her sisters food was bland, as her father was English she cooked especially for him. I have been told Grandmother would have been pleased with my cooking, my Mom would have enjoyed my creativity. My Son did his sister and Father, not so much! I have always loved to cook, at the tender age of 69 I discovered your site, now even more, at the age of 71! I especially like to make up new recipes for Meat Loaf, I might dig out a few notes and share them. I will be sending an order in about two weeks! I need that much time to go through your catalog!raf

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