A.k.a. fairy dust

Raise your hand if you like online shopping. Oh, you bet my hand is raised. High, higher. And if your hand isn’t raised, if you’re loyal to the brick-and-mortar, we can still get along just fine because I’m devoted to that sort of shopping, too.

If you’re averse to shopping at all, things could still work out between us. You see, I could do your shopping for you, so you won’t have to. That’s how much I relish the activity.

But back to online shopping. It’s one of those blessing/curse situations, the reasons for which are ennumerated often enough. Today it was a blessing. Today, wild fennel pollen came into my life.

If you’re not yet turned on to the Zingerman’s specialty foods website, I suggest you to hightail it over there. Food by mail! What could be better than that, really? A word of disclosure, though, before you go: It’s obsession-fueling and time-consuming. Oh, and a goldmine for gifts.

Mostly, I just window shop. You know, pretend like I’m going to pick up a cultish olive oil. Make like I’m in the market for a wildly expensive — albeit authentically produced — cheese. But this time I had a coupon, along with an admonishment from a fellow food enthusiast to add fennel pollen to my spice roster.

Without an online marketplace, I’d be hard-pressed to locate nature’s little bonus gifts, novelties beyond tarragon or lemongrass. An online resource was my way into smoked paprika and grains of paradise (a hastened discovery of these ingredients was about the only worthwhile thing I got out of Amanda Hesser’s “Cooking for Mr. Latte”).

Fennel pollen, according to the fennel pollen people, is the “teeny tiny golden pollen” taken from wild fennel plants in Tuscany. Huh. All the way from Italy to fleck my late-summer risotto. Nice, it was. Gave it an other-worldly, “what is that?” extra something.

Do you have any secret ingredients up your sleeve? Do tell. I’m due for another shopping spree any day now.

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5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Zingerman’s! A true midwestern jewel. If you’ve never been to the bakery and deli in Ann Arbor I highly recommend it. It’s simply not to be missed on a trip through the mitten. I’m salivating just thinking about it.

    I’ll have to check out WorldSpice. I’m normally at Rafal Spice Co. in Detroit’s Eastern Market for all my delicious secret weapons. They also offer online shopping though 🙂 and their list of essential oils is formidable. I also really dig their Papaya leaves for a Spicy Pork dish I cook. If you want the recipe let me know.

    Great post.

  2. 2

    2twentythree3 said,

    you should check out my shopping tips on my blog! really, I’m like you, love shopping, LOVEEE IT!! So, I made 23 tips for us girlies! xxx

  3. 3

    Trisha said,

    Daniel: I’ve not made it to Michigan yet, but I’d love a visit to the Zingerman’s emporium. I would go crazy in there. Can’t wait to check out these new resources (and papaya leaves! Intriguing!).

    2twentythree3: I’d love to check out your shopping tips. Leave your URL here and I’ll stop by.

  4. 4

    drcorner said,

    I had a drink months ago that had lemongrass and I think vanilla in it, it was great!

    Those food specialty stores are great to browse, because of all the wonderful and new things you never knew of before…but they can become too attractive. It’s always good to check them out when your full, that way you stay focused.

    Places like Wholefoods must be heaven for you. 😀

  5. 5

    Elle said,

    I love Zingerman’s! I’ve yet to order from them, though. Must change that.

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