Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Spicy Saturday

December already! 2007 has flown by. It seems time is passing so fast that I could use the hands of a clock for a fan.

Today is a cold, overcast day in the Denver area, but it could be a lot worse. The mountains in the southwest part of the state are getting up to four feet of snow. So far, we have a bit of drizzle, but I would not be surprised if we have a little white accumulation overnight.

Today I went to an interesting little shop in Downtown Littleton. It is a spice shop where they grind and blend custom mixes of spices. You can tell what type of business it is as you open the door, as the aroma of the variety of spices hits the olfactory sensors. It is not overpowering, and is really quite nice.

A big bag of Indonesian Black Pepper

There is a stack of cloth-lined wicker hand baskets stacked by the door for use while shopping. The store is not fancy at all, but it is very attractive. Jars, vials, and pouches of various spices are displayed on shelves, in bins, and even in bread pans. There are several vintage scales where the employees custom blend varieties of spice. If you don't see what you want, they will blend it for you as you watch.

Jars of ground, exotic chili powders on display

In the picture below, one of the "Spice Girls" (no, not those Spice Girls) is using an old balance scale to weigh and mix spices for a customer. She was very gracious in allowing me to take her picture while she worked. She knows her craft well, as you can see the blur of her hands working rapidly to create the particular blend of flavors requested. I am not sure if the lady in the background on the cell phone was watching her, or watching me take a photo.

Blends of spices made to order

As I mentioned, there were several older scales in the shop. Below is one that is reminiscent of those that used to populate the produce sections of supermarkets when I was a child. The produce man would take your paper bag of produce, weigh it, and mark the price on the bag with a big wax crayon.

This particular scale was holding some spice mills, and a couple of mortar and pestle sets. There were more sets on display nearby in the front window of the store.

Old scale, spice mills, and mortar & pestles

We purchased some milling spice, some chai spice, and some other herbs and spices for use in cooking. I can hardly wait for some delicious spiced apple cider. The best part of all is that these fresh spices were less expensive than what you would pay at the typical grocery store. I know this first visit won't be our last.

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