I used to be a mail order catalog Ho. Yes, I said HO. Back in the day, you could see me at any time perusing catalogs for clothes, housewares, etc. I would look and look and wishfully fantasize about all the stuff I could get. Occasionally, I would buy something, and pace in front of the door waiting for it to arrive, gleefully tear off the packing tape, and rip through the packaging peanuts when it finally did.
Those days are over. Economics and a little bit of maturity have caused me to give up the majority of my catalogs. It is too depressing to constantly look at shiny pages of items I can't afford. Besides, my life has gone in a different direction, and I constantly tell myself that I'm trying to downsize my "stuff" not add to to it.
But there is one catalog that I get and still relish. Penzey's spices. What a great catalog this is! And no, they aren't paying me to say it (but they could if they wanted!) They work hard at making it more than just a catalog in that they invite readers to share stores about their families, and the cooking that they do, using (of course) Penzey's Spices. Some of the most heartfelt stories are published in their catalog. People reminiscing about growing up in their mother's kitchens, learning to cook, their father's time honored recipes for batter frying fish caught on a lazy weekend. I get choked up a lot. It's not uncommon to see my blowing my nose while reading this catalog. How amazing is that?
What kinds of memories does cooking bring back for me? I thought about it, and I have to say not so many of my youth. I had no interest in learning to cook as a child. My grandmother did most of the cooking for special occasions, and mostly, I was just interested in eating, than I was about the prep for it. It took me many years of trial and error before I learned to enjoy cooking and baking. Now, smells coming from the kitchen mean more to me than they did as a child. Coming home from work, and smelling a curry that DaMan has created that afternoon will positively make me swoon as I come in the door. Baking a loaf of bread overnight will give me sweet dreams, and a happy wake up call in the morning.
Does spices affect your lives? Is there a smell or a taste that brings back fond memories? Tell me about it. And go sign up for that catalog.. You will love it. I know I do!
Penzey's Catalog Request Page