I have been a Penzey's customer for many many years, going back to the time before you could order online. Always, when someone asks where to buy an herb, spice, or seasoning, I suggest they check Penzey's, for selection, freshness, and reasonable price. Now, I am having second thoughts - at least a little bit.
A few days ago I went to the Boston-area Penzey's store. I had a shopping list, partially to make sure i got what I needed, partially to make sure I didn't get what I don't need. Onion salt was on my list. My old jar is a few years old and has gotten caked solid. On the shelves I saw many old friends - the different varieties of cinnamon, the wonderful French thyme, the West Indian nutmeg, the three different grades of saffron (oh! to fantasize about the super-hyper-wonderful grade that costs about the same as a bank bail-out!) - but no onion salt. I asked the woman tending the store, and she told me they have shallot salt but they never carried onion salt. (Wrong! Well, she must be new.) I went home with my peppermint leaves, Mexican oregano, garlic powder, and herbes de Provence, but no onion salt. Yes, my old jar of onion salt had that familiar light-yellow Penzey's label, but no, onion salt had been disappeared from the Penzey's website.
While onion salt is not something you use every day, it does show up in all sorts of recipes. (Paul Prudhomme, for example, uses it extensively.) I can understand wanting to concentrate on the items that have the broadest appeal, but if Penzey's has shelf- and catalog space for Chili 3000 ("The chili of now!"), Chili 9000 ("The chili of tomorrow!"), and Mural of Flavor (yes there is a seasoning by that name) certainly they can also carry good old reliable onion salt. Grrr!
Now you know. I wonder which old standby they will drop next?
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