Last year, I made catsup and even though I didn't have all the spices, like blade mace, it was still really good. Even better than organic ketchup. I decided then that I need to make catsup every year. This year I had everything, including the blade mace, and I cooked it a little longer per Steve's request. It is that much better. Blade mace, in case you're wondering, is the whole piece of mace rather than ground mace. Mace is the somewhat brittle net-like covering on a nutmeg, and it tastes very like nutmeg, only spicier and stronger. Ground mace is a nice thing to add to your holiday stuffing. Gives it a nice punch.
The spices you see in the picture above are allspice, cloves, stick cinnamon, celery seed, blade mace, black peppercorns, and bay leaf. The mustard seed is hiding under there somewhere. I get all my spices from an outfit called Penzeys. Years ago, I received a catalog from them out of the blue, and while I was deciding on whether I should give them a try or not, I was surprised to see their storefront in the San Marco area of Jacksonville, Florida. I drove around the block and parked and went in.
I would like to tell you with authority that they have every spice there is in the world, but I don't know what every spice in the world is. I can tell you that they seem to have every spice in the world. Lots of Indian spices. Several different kinds of cinnamon, both as stick and ground. I use their fancy Vietnamese cinnamon, which is the sweetest and the spiciest, for my baking. But I recently bought a small jar of the Indonesian cinnamon to use with cumin and paprika for my exotic eastern European stuff, like stuffed cabbage. For some reason, that combination does wonderful things to the stuffing. Of the many peppercorns they have, I like to use the Black Sarawak because it's the spiciest. It's the most peppery of the peppers and I figure in for a penny, in for a pound. I have three different paprikas from there- sweet Hungarian, smoked Spanish, and Hungarian half-sharp. Beware the half-sharp; it's as hot as cayenne. They have a bunch of different chilies, most of which I'll never use, but if you're into chilies, they probably have what you're looking for, whether it's Mexican, Asian or Indian. I still have some older spices from the grocery store in the cupboard that need to be thrown out and replaced, but most of my spice jars are from Penzeys, and I don't buy my herbs and spices from anywhere else. I can't really do them justice- if you like to cook, you should go check them out. I should warn you that their website leaves a lot to be desired, but I think they make up for that in variety.
|Clockwise from upper left: blends, seeds, leaf herbs, basics: garlics, paprikas, salts, pepper|