I have a sizable tried-and-true cookie recipe file, but I am always eager to discover new ones. Who doesn't love cookies?
If you are a seasoned chef or an aspiring home cook, you will fall in love with Penzeys. They are a Wisconsin-based chain of stores carrying a wide variety of herbs, spices, and more. Currently, as of 2019, they are in 30 states, according to their website.
There is only one location in Houston, and it is in the Houston Heights. The address is 516 W. 19th Street, Houston, Texas 77008.
Much thought went into the interior design of Penzeys. Looking at the Kelvinator refrigerator, homemade-looking curtains, and rag rug on the floor, it is reminiscent of the 1950s. Before refrigerators, iceboxes were in everyday use.
My mother always wore an apron when she was working in the kitchen. The clerks inside this store also wear aprons. They are happy to assist store patrons with selections of the wide variety of herbs, spices, and other flavorings required in recipes.
The gentleman pictured above told us that he could always tell when an online recipe was going viral and needed an unusual ingredient like sumac as an example. Suddenly they would have many customers looking for that ingredient inside the store.
A cute display of children's drawings is inside of the store. There is seating for children, along with an inviting place to draw new works of art. This art space is particularly lovely for parents who wish to peruse the store offerings while at the same time keeping their little ones occupied and happy.
Aromas and Packaging
Upon entering Penzeys, your olfactory senses will suddenly kick into gear due to all of the spices and herbs. What is particularly enjoyable is the ability to lift off the lids of the sample containers and take a sniff if one is unfamiliar with a particular herb or spice.
Descriptions and suggestions on how to use the various flavorings are helpful. But being able to get a sense of how they might taste by being able to smell it first is even more useful. That cannot happen in a typical grocery store!
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The packaging offers shoppers a choice of how much or how little they wish to purchase. Separate empty jars are available for purchase for those who like to buy more significant amounts in bags and then repackage it for ease of application when cooking.
Ready-Made Gift Boxes
There are many sizes of prefabricated gift boxes with various assortments of herbs and spices. They also have empty ones whereby shoppers can make their selections and fill the boxes accordingly.
Several times we have purchased these boxes and have given them as gifts. They have ones made up for teachers, people who like to barbeque, those who wish to bake, people who enjoy cooking with flavor but be salt-free, etc.
Fortunately for those who cannot travel to the stores in person, the shop has an online catalog. Shipping is free if purchased from their mail-order business totaling $40 or more. There are many tasty-sounding recipes in their catalog, which is reason enough to take a look.
Food pantries and other organizations that help to feed the poor are given Penzeys pepper in an equal amount to the pepper that is purchased in their stores and catalog. I always like hearing that companies do good by helping others.
The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mondays to Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Founded in 1986, I hope that they thrive long into the future. We are lucky to have one of their stores here in Houston.
The difference between herbs and spices is that herbs come from the leafy part of plants and spices from the wood, seed, fruit, or other nonleafy part.
— Bill Bryson At Home
© 2020 Peggy Woods