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Life Arts    H4'ed 2/10/15

Sights, Scents and Stories from a Spice Emporium

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The creative process of our work. Imagine if you love to cook and you get to go to work in this place where there are 600 products to play with. It is a lot of work but so worth it. The subtle nuances of importing the top quality products from all over the world is quite a challenge. My husband is a master of this, and it seems that he is often off to the bank to wire funds to farmers in other countries which may or may not send us the product after they get the money. We import cinnamon from four parts of the world in whole form and then we grind it, fresh pretty much weekly, so it will be amazing. A man goes down to our grinding room in the basement for several hours to grind and sift the cinnamon. When he comes back up, he is the best smelling a man will ever be. I tell him I hope he has a date tonight as she will love his cologne!

(Image by The Spice House)
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We mix up all of our own seasonings in house, in small batches: An incredible amount of work, but the results make it all worthwhile. Next week, we have our day-long brainstorming session with all of our management team. This is where we discuss new products we are being asked for on the front lines in the shop, and whether we should stock them or whether we think they will just be a flash in the pan. My crew, with their culinary background, also loves to mix up new concoctions so it's hard to put a cap on the new products! Unlike a big corporation that might have to go through a lot of white tape, we can get a new product on the shelf fairly quickly. Our customers get very excited about new products, I guess that's human nature.

Then the most fun part: we get to spend the day working with the best customer base of any store I know. Our customers love to cook and we really enjoy the exchange of cooking and recipe ideas and what they have made with our products that they really enjoyed. It's like subliminal advertising, and it even works on us. After talking about jerk chicken with several customers during the day, you just know you have to go home and make jerk chicken for dinner tonight. We also get to work hand in hand with a lot of high-end Chicago chefs. We do custom blends for many, and my husband serves as a top notch consultant for this. We even have to sign confidentiality clauses!

We do so many different jobs daily that there is never a boring, or perhaps I should say bland, day at The Spice House.

Mural Shelf
Mural Shelf
(Image by The Spice House)
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Well, you've done a great job sharing your life at the shop, Patty. It's easy to see why The Spice House has flourished. Thanks so much for talking with me. It was really fun!


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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)

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