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Well, this is it. The spice store has made it's last gasp & is shutting down. Thanks for your support. If you have any requests or questions, please feel free to contact me.

Best regards to all,
Elliott

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Important Notice:


6/7/2010:

We're back. I'm still trying to re-figure/ streamline the Spice Selections to make it all more sensible to you and feasible to us. Truth is, y'all just don't use the spices and seasonings as much as I do (despite that, as with all spice & seasoning ingredients, they are best if used within a six month period and not after). That's understandable, but it makes having an online business impractical, is all. Over the course of many months I've been considering ways to make the spices more appealing to first time as well as repeat buyers. I've sought to solve several problems with the product, including:

The tendency for the spice seasonings to clump - I've switched suppliers and am now using ingredients which are ground finer and have less tendency to clump. I've been satisfied with the results and I hope that you have as well.

Packaging: The metal tins I'm using are, at best, a compromise in order to ship the spices as well as make them appealing and functional. When I initially started selling spices back in 2005, I was using 4 oz. glass jars. People really like the jars over the tins, and while the tins cost more, they are easier to ship without worrying that you will end up with a package of seasoned glass shards on your end.

Packaging #2: I have been considering losing the tins in favor of simple, functional, utilitarian plastic bags. Why? I have a lot of plastic bags in stock intended for refills of spices, and that just doesn't happen. If I switch to using the plastic bags, I could probably increase the amount of spice seasoning per order while decreasing the cost of each item as well as shipping. How about that?

Packaging #3: Wouldn't ya know, now they are saying that plastic is EVIL and DOES NOT LIKE YOU or YOUR FAMILY. Oh, plastic - we lived with so many hopes for you that must now go unfulfilled. It was sweet while it lasted.

Scrapping the catalog: That's right. Another serious consideration I've had for some time now is to scrap all of my current product and sell only certain items. What I have been selling over the past several years would essentially be retired. "What will you replace it with?", you ask? Well, let me tell you - I've been thinking of starting a whole new line of extremely hot and spicy seasonings and bbq rubs, so that I can rename it THE BURN WARD. That's right. I don't joke about such things. We're talking (or rather mumbling, since we've been steadily searing off the nerves on our tongues) serious Scoville Units here. What is your vote?

Spice of the Month Club: While it is still a serious consideration, it has never generated enough interest to convince me to do it. Maybe. Drop me a line and tell me you'd support it if I made it available. No, not just you, I mean some of those other people out there who haven't piped up yet.

Gift Sets: Of course - there will always be gift sets, as well as sales, like the ever popular buy 2 get 1 free deal.

Cost: Oy... one could make a living, if only they'd let you - ya know what I mean? Over the past 12 to 18 months, cost just got weird, particularly because import/ export costs that bear on the availability of ingredients for the spices and seasonings. I try to keep that old carbon foot print as small as possible - I've even considered binding my carbon foot to a child's size 2 - but there are certain ingredients that just are not easily available in our area of Western Massachusetts. Things like fresh Kaffir Lime Leaf and Lemongrass which, the last time I had to purchase a bulk of each I was told that I would need to pre-order it as it comes from places with sunnier climates, yet it is also affected by state restrictions which prevent growing these plants in proximity of delicate citrus agricultural regions. So - I temporarily stopped making the Green Thai Curry, which needs a good amount of each to get the flavor perfect. I know - it makes me sad, too, not to have my Green Thai Curry.

So that's the short of the long on the matter. Write me and let me know what your vote is on any or all of the intertwining topics.

And thanks for your support, your patience and your friendship - I really do appreciate it!

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This blog is a companion site to my online business at emburke.etsy.com where I sell unique spice and seasoning blends. I will be featuring recipes that use the spice blends here, but you can easily adapt them to suit your own needs. Also, my spice and seasoning blends are interchangeable - you can easily use one blend in place of another to get a different creative result or you can play it safe and stick to the recipe.

I have a variety of spice & seasoning blends available for purchase here - the perfect compliment for your meat & vegetarian entrées or side dishes. Each of my spice blends are made from fresh, organic spices purchased locally and are ground & blended by myself. They can be used as a dry or wet rub, as a marinade or sauce, or as a seasoning to add a little extra flavor.

Also, if you have any ideas, suggestions or challenges - send them on to me and I'll place them on the site as well.

Each quarter a portion of all sales from this site will be given to support a local charity in Western Massachusetts.

I think you will enjoy them as much as I do. Please spread the word!

Thanks, Elliott

P.S. - I'll have some other items available here in the near future.
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What would you like to find here?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

random brushes with fame

In the spirit of "man not living by bread alone", etc., I'm writing a random post which has little or nothing to do with food, recipes or pushing my spices on you. For those of you who like to play the game of Six Degrees of Separation, well, I can possibly help boost your standing exponentially.

Working in the restaurant business often gives you close access to some well known & famous people, more so than having a paper route. I started working in restaurants when I was 17 and have crossed paths with several notable persons, all who have had the unexpected opportunity to eat food that I have prepared & cooked. They seem to have not suffered any long lasting side effects because of it & as far as I know know most of them are still alive & well.

Just to drop a few names in order to impress you, here they are, in semi-chronological order:

Roy & Dale Rogers
Susan Anton
Alan Hale Jr. (Skipper from "Gilligan's Island")
Cathy Rigby
Captain Lou Albano
One of the members of "The Nazz", Todd Rungren's old band (He was wearing a conversational T-shirt)
Larry Bird
Tracy Kidder
Clint Eastwood
Robert B. Parker
Jamaica Kincaid
Chief Justice David Souter
Former Director of Central Intelligence John M. Deutch
Mameve Medwed
Julia Child (It was in Cambridge, where she lived. She really gets around!)
Marc Ribot
G. Love & Special Sauce
Gwyneth Paltrow & Ben Affleck (On a date!)

Way before any of that ever occurred I had attended a party in Corona, California where there was a young, unknown musician named Eddie Van Halen. He was the one sitting around noodling on an acoustic guitar while being surrounded by all the babes, which, as a teenager, is always a confounding social toss up to choose between: budding guitar hero vs. bevy of babes. Who do I pay more attention to? We didn't eat anything together but there was definitely some beer shared there.

Aren't you impressed? I knew that you would be. Where Kevin Bacon fits into all of this, I'm not at all certain.

I did once deny Miss Natalie Portman what was probably some direly needed sustenance, so dire that she felt it was acceptable to break with social, commonweal propriety and smuggle in a sandwich and soda into a theatre. I worked at Sanders theatre at the same time that she was attending Harvard. It was nothing personal or even vaguely fascist - Sanders theatre was built in the 1870's, after the civil war, to commemorate Harvard alumni who died defending the Union. It is a magnificent, beautiful structure; Harvard has a vested interest in keeping it as pristine as possible, and that means not allowing food or sodas inside. I don't think Natalie was trying to be duplicitous and selfish, acting like a prima dona or even trying to make a radical statement in the way that only young adults at higher learning institutes know how to. Everyone tries to sneak in food, usually by disingenuous methods that even a three year old would laugh scornfully at. Natalie simply tried to walk in with her evening repast openly displayed, so she was easy to spot. I confiscated her meal, which was promptly given back to her by a Commanding Officer of the Militant Theatre Usher's Grunt Troops. I was informed unequivocally to "let Natalie Portman bring anything she wants into the theatre". Did that include incendiary devices? Camera crews? Wooden tikis or totem poles? Sousaphones? Where do we draw the line? We once discovered a machete in the lost and found bin, so I assume we have some sort of protocol about personal items. I hope he at least got her phone number.

I was only doing my job, and I was no where near as hard on her as I have been with others, including that guy who seems to believe he's the unofficial governor of Cambridge and always starts screaming socialist agitprop buzzwords whenever we prevent him from getting in without a ticket, or the groupie "friend" who felt entitled to go backstage to see Dave Davies even though she apparently hadn't seen or spoken to him since the late sixties. I nearly caught holy heck when I demanded an entry ticket from Archie Epps III, the Dean of Students, who I personally didn't know from Adam's off ox. I got away with a curt reprimand and surly glances from him whenever we passed on the campus.

It may be time to make up with Natalie. For whatever reasons she may have, she hasn't returned my calls or accepted my humble offering of apologies & olive branches. Perhaps I should make her a nice olive & pimento loaf sandwich.

No comments:

Read what some nice people have to say about my spices:"

Some mornings, I just stand in the kitchen alone and sniff Elliotts' spice. Then I'm somehow ready to start my day. And, oh yes, Elliott's spice IS great for cooking. Your eating habit will literally get "spiced up"."~ Tomoko Deeney (TADworks)

"I’ve almost never finished a full jar of spice and I’ve used several jars of Elliott’s spices in a matter of months. They are very unique and full of different flavors without being too salty or overpowering. They get my highest recommendation. Try them and you will love them."~ Keith Brisebois

"Elliott’s Green Thai is the most amazing spice... perfect for tacos, fish, chicken or beef. Once you’ve tried it, you won’t be able to cook without it!"~ Chrissie Henry

"I hadn't really explored the world of spices until this mixture somehow found its way into my cupboard. I had lived a fairly plain sea salt and cracked pepper food life, until this came along. I enjoy the 'kick' it has on my palate. And still the blend lends itself to good eatin'."~ Rachel Wilson

"Having a jar of Elliott's spice blends in my cupboard I feel as if I have been instantly transformed into a fantastic chef. Dishes I would normally feel intimidated to try - Curried Cauliflower, Tandori Chicken, Morrocan Lamb Stew - now feel within reach. Thank you, Elliott for opening up a whole world, literally, of fabulous food!"~ Alicia Pritt

"Filled a void in my life."~ Elizabeth (from Russia)