Earth Day & Bill Penzey

UPDATE: Treeper Tourets writes

I wrote to Spice House to suggest that some of Mr. Penzy’s customers were unhappy about his behavior. She wrote:

“No kidding. What business owner who really likes his customers would care so little about losing them? On the plus side for us, we have had lots of people jump ship to us, so I kind of hope he keeps writing those wacky newsletters! My parents, Ruth and Bill Penzey, Sr. started our business, The Spice House, in 1957 and we own the original company. We are all about the top quality spices and the freshest hand ground and mixed seasonings. Our politics are very different than Bills, but that is irrelevant as our opinions about anything other than food, have no part in our business. We would never use our company as soap box. So please give us a try and encourage your friends to do the same.

Patty Erd 
Facebook Page


This week I placed an order with Penzey’s Spices, a company headquartered in Milwaukee, WI.  Penzey also has retail stores in various locations, including the town where my daughter lives (which is where I first became aware of the company) and a place not far from where I live, so I have occasionally patronized their business.

They also have a catalog that they mail out periodically.  Lately it has come to my attention that the owner of the company, Bill Penzey Jr., includes a “newsletter” in his catalog, which is his soapbox to lecture his customers about diversity and other topics close to the hearts of progressives.

122196974_Summer of Love

Last year, Charlie Sykes wrote about it for AM Radio, WTMJ – Bill Penzey’s Idea Of Diversity: Lots of White People in Volkswagens:

We know that the owner of Penzey’s Spices is concerned about diversity, because he says he does… repeatedly.  Make that obsessively. In recent company catalogues that purport to sell spices, Penzey has lashed out at white racist suburbanites who vote for racist Republicans.  He knows that they are racists, because of the lack of “diversity.”

In the last year, Bill Penzey has offered letters denouncing the use of Indian mascots at Mukwonago High School and bizarre letter in May that denigrated the citizens of Waukesha for their ‘different way of thinking” and “race-based politics.”

Now, Penzey had doubled down:

Segregation is no longer some grim-faced governor standing on the steps of the Capitol shouting, “Segregation now-tomorrow-forever!” Segregation today has grown into a multi-step process. It starts with the new, more polished leaders who, with a smile, send ever-so-subtle messages that America is a whites-first nation. Next, AM radio personalities turn that smile to a sneer and pass it on to their listeners, who turn that sneer into anger. That anger does an amazing job of producing lopsided vote totals in places with little diversity, but it’s poison to everything that is good in our lives and a roadblock across the path of Kindness that leads to cooking.

Well, speaking of little diversity, local blogger Tom McMahon decided to take a deeper look at Penzey-land. He emails:

Bill Penzey mentioned “places with little diversity” in his firm’s Summer of Love 2014 catalog. But I went through all 64 pages of that catalog and could not find a single photo of an African-American in the whole thing. Sure, I found lots and lots of photos of white folks doing white people stuff, but no African-Americans. Why? Is he afraid they might scare off his lily-white clientele?

Read more :

Wow.  Wisconsin politics is really brutal.


Back to me and my recent order with Penzey Spices.  Last night I received an email from Bill Penzey regarding his company’s celebration of Earth Day (it’s also available at their website).  Most companies do celebrate holidays, Earth Day being just one of them.  I also received one from America’s Test Kitchen regarding eco-friendly gadgets, for example.  Bill Penzey takes it a step further, as you will see.  Some text is bolded by me for emphasis:

Earth Day 2015 is exciting. We really are at the point where there are few obstacles left in our path before we start dealing with climate change in earnest. For the Earth Day issues of science and conservation, there are other websites that can speak better about the obstacles in those fields. As a website that promotes all the good things set in motion through cooking, the obstacle we think we can help with is anger. From the responses to the email we sent out asking for Earth Day help a couple weeks ago, we can say there is a fair amount of anger out there and it’s getting in the way of what needs to be done.

Some of the anger is at those still dismissing the science and instead believing the doubt. Some of the anger is at those working to maintain the profits of the old fossil fuel industry by promoting  that doubt. But mostly the anger is at the politicians who know the science is real and still stand in the way of what needs to be done. It’s easy to justify the anger if the question we are asking is “What kind of person is willing to risk destroying the future of our environment to advance their political career?” Still this anger does little more than fuel their supporters. Maybe the kinder question might be, “What events in their lives left them willing to place their own political gains in front of everyone else’s needs?”

So for today and for Earth Day we are highlighting some stories and recipes from cooks who are facing situations that are all too often met with anger.  Through their kindness and compassion these cooks are setting in motion a very different future.

One of the interesting things we found in the emails we received after our call for Earth Day stories (that also mentioned Indiana’s controversial religious freedom bill), is that for many, these issues are really one and the same. For this group there is that sense that if people who look like them aren’t going to be the majority in the future, there is no point in there even being a future. It’s no coincidence that the media outlets that broadcast the stories of climate doubt are the very same ones that regularly try to make it seem scary that at some point in the future no one skin tone will hold a majority in this country

We can’t wait for science to convince the deniers/skeptics because their problem is not with the science. Yet while we have no other choice but to move forward without them, there is no kindness in simply leaving them behind. We all must work to show that goodness is not found in just one skin tone, one religion, or even one country

So for Earth Day we have included a great story from our archives that tells of kindness found on the other side of the world. It’s a good read. And somewhere in our emails we also found a very kind woman whose wedding anniversary falls on Earth Day and who has a really tasty Deep Dark Chocolate Cake recipe and a Bacon Bomb that really is the Bomb. 

This Earth Day the kindness of cooking really can set something good in motion. Goodness truly is universal and we must reach out from our shared goodness to solve the issues our Earth and our Climate faces. We can make a difference. And I’m sure Deep Dark Chocolate Cake has a role to play in this somewhere.
Heal the World


I don’t know if this guy believes that everyone thinks the way he does, so he’s using his corporate bully pulpit to press his political point of view. I’ll let you decide for yourself.

As for me – I sent a return email:

My reaction is that I will never buy products from Penzey again.  I placed my last order this week.
Thanks for being open and honest about your position on “Climate Change”  (it’s always changing).

Thinking about it further, my main objection is that I know my ideas wouldn’t be welcome at his company.  Why would I do business with someone who thinks I am either evil or stupid?


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66 Responses to Earth Day & Bill Penzey

  1. labrat says:

    I received some Penzeys spices as a Christmas gift and I loved them. Their Pasta Sprinkle is amazing, I had no idea the owner was a loon. Think I’ll add to your protest. I’m sure I can find another spice company with a comparable product.


  2. jim says:

    The sky is falling and I know that it’s true
    Because I’ve read everything that agrees with my view.
    All gases are noxious, so don’t even fart
    Crisis averted, you can thank the bard(t).

    Liked by 2 people

  3. georgiafl says:

    Thanks, Stella. I’m cancelling my catalogs, etc. I can buy elsewhere. I don’t want to do business with progressive/leftist propagandists.

    Unlike the left though, I won’t try to shut down (or in the case of the blacks, Ayers types and Islamists, burn or bomb) their business.

    Liked by 1 person

    • stella says:

      I don’t care what he believes or thinks, actually. I DO object to having it crammed down my throat, and told in so many words that my beliefs are racist and ignorant.

      ADD: Doing a casual Google search, I see that he has also written an open letter to the local newspaper attacking Mark Belling (conservative radio talker) for being a racist, and Governor Walker and other conservatives for their beliefs.

      I will also post an article I read yesterday about the attacks on conservatives in Wisconsin, which include home invasions by local police that are supposedly justified by so-called “John Doe” investigations.

      If you are a conservative in Wisconsin, and dare to express your opinions, you are a target.

      Liked by 4 people

      • thefirstab says:

        I look at this the same as the religious freedom bill, flipped.
        If I have a different lifestyle/belief system than you, Mr. Penzey, why would I even want to do business with your company? There are plenty of other places that will welcome me and my money. Without the side dish of White Guilt.
        What a moron. Methinks he will get his “just desserts” –

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dixie says:

        My other neighbor is from Wisconsin. Chile on one side, Wisconsin on the other. They love the state but they didn’t love the politics (this was before Scott Walker). My Wisconsin neighbor helped to remove the scales from my eyes.

        Sounds like Mr. Penzey needs to partake of some of his spices to improve his attitude.


      • Josh says:

        I DO care what Bill Penzey, Jr. believes or thinks and I’m glad he shares his thoughts. I’m done with “them”. This catalogue comes to where I work. I get & sort the mail. Before passing it on again I will look for the lunatic writing(s) and point them out to the intended recipient – a self-proclaimed conservative whose actions do not always coincide with words. I’ll do this a couple of times before sending future catalogues directly to the shredder.

        THANK YOU, Stella, for taking the time to share this information.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Don’t cancel your catalog. It costs them money every time they send one out. Just us it to start the fire with, or rip it up and file it in the trash.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. tenndon says:

    Never heard of Mr Penzey (Hippie in my view) nor his spices but I’ll now go out of my way to NOT buy his stuff. He’s the real denier. As can be seen daily at this “Climate Change” TM is gonna kill the planet is so much politics and so little science.

    What do you want to bet that Mr Penzy packer drives a BIG gas guzzler, lives in a house with a carbon footprint of Sasquash, and flies to Earth Day conferences in a private jet?

    Liked by 1 person

    • You can see a satellite view of anyone’s house if you go to and put in the name and state. There is someone with the same name as the spice man with a very big house and a swimming pool.


      • stella says:

        I read somewhere that he lives in Waukesha County.

        CORRECTION: Bill Penzey Jr. lives in a big beautiful house in a non-diverse neighborhood in Wauwatosa.


        • 7delta says:

          Why am I not surprised, Mr. Prenzy doesn’t live what he preaches?

          The saddest aspect of Mr. Prenzy’s soapbox personality is that he has no idea how racist it is to weigh and measure the worth of all human beings by color codes. His recipe contains no character ingredients at all. He isn’t interested in diversity. He’s only interested in baking up a batch of warm fuzzies to demonstrate to the world that he’s not what he is, a flaming racist who hates himself and finds comfort in projecting his own shortcomings onto others.

          Human value, Mr. Prenzy. Character, not color. It’s not difficult…unless you’re a run-of-the-mill progressive projectionist.

          Oh, and disagreement is not hate. It’s diversity of ideas.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Dixie says:

      Mr. Penzey packer.


  5. Roy says:

    “Wow, I’m glad I don’t live in Wisconsin.”

    ME TOO!!! Imagine if Walker wasn’t governor.

    Let all these “folks” who embrace diversity live with it and leave me the heck alone! I’m sick and tired of having diversity shoved down my throat because right because it sure isn’t in my positive column.

    Thanks for making us aware of this company’s forceful and repugnant political viewpoint. I’ll pass the word along to my better half.


    • HopeChangeInAZ says:

      The crux of the problem is these liberal brown shirts won’t leave you alone. They feel their mission is to force you into believing their propaganda! There is a reason that their tactics are so often compared to other despots of history such as Stalin, Hitler, Mao….


  6. lovely says:

    There is a Penzy’s Spices in the same strip mall that I frequent in Brookfield WI (Brookfield is the neighboring city next to the dastardly Waukesha ;)). I have never seen a black employee in Penzy, in fact I have never seen a black customer in Penzy though I am sure that there have been.

    As for me I went inside Penzy one time just to see what it was like, the cashier said he was a retired school teacher, he retired early so he could get the best benefits possible before “Scott Walker screwed the teachers over”. So I said “I understand now why you don’t mind working for a socialist.” He of course had no idea what I was talking about. I told him I would never buy a single Penzy product and walked out the door.

    My daughter was mortified. You think she would be used to living with me by now.

    Interesting Waukesha fact; When Obama came for a visit in 2014 the mayor Jeff Scrima refused to see him and stated point blank it was because Obama is an extremist. Happy story if it ended there but Scrima was pilloried by the press and caved in and made a stupid statement that Walker was also an extremist on the opposite end of the spectrum. Scrima back peddled on his Walker remark and I really think he regrets it and I know he didm’t mean it but was weak and gave the media a bone. Anyhow Scott and Jeff mended fences.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. LoyalReader says:

    I became aware of the Penzy issue from listening to Mark Belling’s radio show. I loved their spice line, but quit buying anything from them last year. Belling made a good point that it is likely the majority of their customer base, made up of hard-working people willing to spend a little extra on quality but nonessential spices, are the exact demographic the owner is denigrating.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. lovely says:

    Spice Maker’s Insults Leave Bad Taste in Mouth

    Mark Belling

    June 4, 2014

    In the latest insult, Penzey ripped those who “fled west” from Milwaukee to Waukesha County to segregate the city and argued Republican politicians have needed to pander to these goons to get elected: “For decades defending this flight has been the key to political success in southeastern Wisconsin. Even today the governor’s continued defunding of inner city schools, the congressman’s talk of bell curves and lack of effort on the part of those who live in the city, and the legislature’s talk of secession and its new deeply disturbing law defending the use of Native American mascots are all about getting votes in Waukesha, and places like it.” That’s what he wrote. For those of you wondering which “places like it” Penzey is referencing, it’s a fair guess if your community voted for Governor Walker, he means you

    Liked by 1 person

  9. chick20112011 says:

    Robert Redford used to do that with his Sundance catalog. I got tired and cancelled the catalog. Stuff was artisan and very nice with mostly American artisans, but I couldn’t afford to buy anything anyway but liked the catalog until he started his opining.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. bitterlyclinging says:

    Freedom and personal liberty are tough concepts for progressives to stomach. That’s why Joe Stalin had Lavrenti Beria and the NKVD and the National Socialists had Heinrich Himmler and the Gestapo. Progressives want all of us marching in lock step, unquestioning, behind the Pied Piper down into whatever river they choose. Somebody once described Madison, WI as forty square miles surrounded by reality.
    Democratic Capitalism is driven by a similar set of inflexible rules, producing goods and services by the most efficient processes available. You hire workers always looking for the most productive workers possible, produce your goods and services by the most efficient method possible, purchase your supplies and materials at the lowest reasonable cost possible.
    A gallon of diesel fuel will yield you 140,000 BTU’s of energy, be those BTU’s used to push an automobile further down the road or to heat water for purposes of heating a building to habitable temperatures. A gallon of gasoline will yield somewhere around 130,000 BTU’s of energy, so you won’t get as far down the road as you would with that gallon of diesel fuel and due to gasoline’s very high vapor pressure, you simply can’t use it to heat a building. A gallon of ethanol will yield you a measly 90,000 BTU, so its game over for ethanol at barely more than half the energy output of diesel. As long as the US is a capitalist country business and industry are going to gravitate to the most efficient method. How many BTU’s in a bale of hay? A cord of firewood? A 50lb bag of rice? The Aechulian Hand Axe Industry, a very eco friendly industry, never, ever could provide the job opportunities or living standard capitalism provided the United States.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Bluegrass Nana says:

    We have a Penzey’s store here in Louisville. Glad I saw this, before running in to get more “Sunny Paris” seasoning and ranch dressing mix. Bye bye Penzey’s, hello Spice House!


  12. CrankyinAZ says:

    I will need to look into Spice House… dang.


  13. auscitizenmom says:

    While reading the article, the term “blithering idiot” came to mind. I wonder why?

    Liked by 4 people

  14. 180daysofkindergarten says:

    Crap, I have been buying Penzey’s since 1988. I love them. No more. I quit and I really will miss the spices but I’m done with this ridiculous progressive crap. I really am. I know they think everyone thinks as they do, but as the idiot on the phone yesterday, who was trying to get me to renew my cancelled newspaper subscription, found out, I am truly done

    Liked by 4 people

  15. joanfoster says:

    I refuse to consider Progressive insurance for all the same reasons – it’s owned and operated by a leftist who is a large Obama donor.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Irish Eyes says:

    I’ve bought Penzey’s cinnamon for years and it really is excellent. He sends out frequent catalogs which contain great recipes and interesting customer profiles, though they tend to be smug and preachy, especially the eco-jihadis. There are often African American customers profiled, as well as immigrants, and gays, but those profiles aren’t usually overtly political.

    The most obnoxiously strident are his editorials, which I’ve always steadfastly ignored. But lately he’s begun sending preachy emails as well, which I also ignore. It’s too much! I will no longer buy from him. Wonder how long it will take him to stop sending me propaganda. I did not know about his sister’s company, but will check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. carterzest says:

    I am offended that they are using VW’s for their catalog. It is hard enough being a conservative classic VW driver and overcoming the stigma of counterculture and drug culture associated with ownership, let alone having them associated with a global warming freak.

    I agree, keep their catalogs coming. Order three or four of them and use them for fire starter, line the bird cage, or just supplement your weekly recycling bin. Heck, sign up everyone you know for it, and, like was mentioned, return any postage paid correspondence and include some pennies for extra weight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eskie Mom says:

      Don’t forget surfers, Carter. My high school sweetheart had 1968 lime green bus with black scoops. Loved that bus. I could hear him drive up (headers) even if I was in the shower. :sigh: Memories (wish I was at the beach).

      Thank you, thank you, Mz Stella! Whoa- some of their products…(HUNGRY! now. Blue cheese powder?!)
      I’d never heard of this Penzey guy. (Thanks for the heads up, too)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mrs. Carifidy says:

      Save the pennies use washers. Or stamp-outs from electrical boxes.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. True Colors says:

    It sounds like Bill Penzey is a white person who has a lot of anti-white hostility in him. This type of sentiment is very en vogue nowadays. He hopes for the deterioration of his own race, and in his mind, this means that he is very enlightened.

    Question – how much brainwashing would it take to persuade all of the people in Asia that being Asian is inherently tainted and that they should all hope to be replaced by non-Asians?



    • TheLastDemocrat says:

      Answer for True Colors – we are working on it.
      We are trying to get some Asian student-visa post-docs to commit to fellowships for our effort, but it has been hard to recruit – they are valued too much elsewhere in academia.


  19. georgiafl says:

    Here is another spice company that isn’t spouting off politically –


  20. Angel Martin says:

    i wonder what the spice distributor equivalent of “shut up and sing” is ?

    i have to believe that even people who basically agree with Penzey must be tired of it, for example, here:

    i know that if i did business with someone selling, say, auto repair tools, and every mail out included a tirade against liberals, gay marriage and abortion, i’d be looking somewhere else.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. skeptiktank says:

    Spices are unnecessary, and bad for the environment. Until very recently in the history of mankind they were not used. Animals will not eat them. They are seldom grown locally, and must be shipped from distant places. The shipment of them should be banned by international agreement at the next climate summit.


    • georgiafl says:

      Herbs and spices and other plant/seed items contain phytonutrients that are actually good for your health. Coffee contains large amounts of niacin. Oregano has large amounts of other nutrients, which I forget at the moment. (truth). Shipping by air creates turbulence and keeps air from becoming stagnant and oppressive. (sarc)


    • stella says:

      I disagree that international agreements banning ANYTHING should be allowed. Climate summits are attempts to create world control by the few over the many, and should be frowned on by any thinking person. See Club of Rome and Agenda 21.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Les says:

        What would the world be like without pepper? Or cumin? Chili would taste horrible.

        He who controls the Spice, controls the universe! ~ Baron Harkonnen

        Liked by 2 people

      • skeptiktank says:

        I agree, Stella, but environmentalists of Penzy’s ilk would eagerly ban our modes of personal transportation for the sake of the Earth. The point of my post was, that he, as a businessman, is not exactly an innocent, and should be willing to go down with the rest of us. What he does is not exactly crucial for our existence.


    • HopeChangeInAZ says:

      Another loon by the sounds of it. There is no shortage of them these days!


  22. Shooingstar says:

    I caught on and was immediately insulted by Bill”s “preaching” in his business catalog a couple of year’s ago. The final insult was promoting same sex couples’ recipes…insulting to them for “showing them off” and to those of us who think spices have nothing to do with sexual preferences. He’s a nut and a very poor businessman to make theses foolish decisions.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. tgmccoy says:

    If Mr. Penzey’s son or daughter walked through the door with a Ojibway or Cherokee boy
    or girl- guess what his reaction would be?
    “Think how your CHILDREN would look!!”- actual reaction from my lefty/lib mother when I was dating a full-blood Cherokee girl ….
    Wrecked the relationship..


  24. HopeChangeInAZ says:

    I am quite familiar with Bill “the loon” Penzey and his left-wing rants. I have bought his spices for years because it is a good product and his rants have only gotten out of hand fairly recently. I simple ignore anything he has to say as I do with most left-wingers. Being from WI, I understand it is a breeding ground for these people but it is still a surprise that he has chosen to alienate a certain percentage of his customer base, which seems to be typical of left-wingers these days. I have cut back on my Penzey purchases and I continually look for alternatives since I prefer not to support left-wingers if I can help it.


  25. Katherine says:

    I’ve been buying Penzey’s spices for years, and they’re excellent. I’ve been ignoring the political aspects of the catalog for years. Recently I ordered online rather than going to the nearby store because of bad weather. This was right before he sent out a really stupid email about “Pi Day” (3/14/15) with nonsense about Scott Walker and “anti-science.” I sent him an irritated reply and unsubscribed. If he’s continuing this, he’s in the process of deliberately offending a large portion of his customer base. I’ll check out The Spice House, thanks!


  26. SMS says:

    I had to stop shopping at Penzey’s awhile ago after listening to his garbage. This was hard because he does have great spices. I don’t care what his views are or that he donates to progressive causes. I just have such a hard time with his disrespectful and insulting comments about his customers. Why in the world would any business treat its customers that way? I found another small locally owned spice shop that is currently making me a cinnamon blend that is even better than Bill’s. Bill lost out.


  27. tourets says:

    I wrote to spice house to suggest that some of Mr. Penzy’s customers were unhappy about his behavior. She wrote:

    “No kidding. What business owner who really likes his customers would care so little about losing them? On the plus side for us, we have had lots of people jump ship to us, so I kind of hope he keeps writing those wacky newsletters! My parents, Ruth and Bill Penzey, Sr. started our business, The Spice House, in 1957 and we own the original company. We are all about the top quality spices and the freshest hand ground and mixed seasonings. Our politics are very different than Bills, but that is irrelevant as our opinions about anything other than food, have no part in our business. We would never use our company as soap box. So please give us a try and encourage your friends to do the same.

    Patty Erd 
    Facebook Page


  28. tnwahm says:

    I love(d) Penzey’s Spiced. I found them when my dd was on dialysis and couldn’t have salt. We have one in Memphis. I don’t ever read his commentary in his catalogs. Looks like I will be checking out The Spice House. Heading to FB . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Beverly says:

    I so appreciate having a better alternative in The Spice House than Penzeys. I am going to switch today! Bill Penzey’s editorials and pictures of gay couples in the past have been offensive. I wrote to him questioning what good cooking with spices and herbs have to do with the gay agenda, but he never wrote back. I ignored his agenda because I thought there were no spices and herbs as good as Penzey’s. NOw I know better. Thanks for this information


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