It's National Burger Day!

One of our favorite easy ways to use Weeger Spice is to add a heaping tablespoon to one pound of ground beef.  Add a handful of fresh chopped herbs of your choice (parsley, scallions, mint are great) and voila!

This paragraph from the New York Times says it all... Yum.

"The beef fat collected in a hot skillet... acts both as a cooking and a flavoring agent. “Grease is a condiment that is as natural as the beef itself.  A great burger should be like a baked potato, or sashimi. It should taste completely of itself.”


Hi all,

We officially launched on May 14, but unfortunately, our production schedule has been slightly delayed.  Our friends at Bread Love (the commercial kitchen from where we were producing) suffered a massive fire.  Sadly, their space was destroyed.  We're extremely glad that no one was hurt and hope for a speedy clean up and recovery.

In the meantime, we're are on the brink of securing a new kitchen space and are looking forward to getting back on schedule.

First Production Run

It was a monumental week--we had our first production run this past Wednesday night!  From 10pm to 2:30am!  Oof.  It took a few days to catch up on sleep from that, but it was satisfying to see all of our hard word start to come together that night.  We made enough product to fulfill the Kickstarter incentives.

Our production was photographed by Clay Williams, who is very talented.  I highly suggest taking a look at his excellent work.  We were lucky to have him taking our picture.  I'm a blinker, though, so hopefully there's at least one shot of me with my eyes open.

For the most part, everything went pretty smoothly...  although there was a moment where I felt I'd gone back to square one.  Back in February, I spend a huge amount of time fine tuning the recipes and the major issues were hotness (from crushed red chili peppers) and the wet consistency of the brown sugar in the sweet version of the spice.  At this point I thought I'd gotten it perfected (in my kitchen), but not so (in the commercial kitchen), as we discovered in this production.  The sweet blend was a lot hotter than I'd anticipated.  During the recipe testing phase you spend a lot of time and attention to the sources of ingredients you're using, but when it's time to find wholesale sources, sometimes you have to compromise for various reasons--ease of delivery, pricing, availability... so, we ended up using a few different brands than the ones from our testing phase and saw the difference.  Chili peppers are a hard ingredient--the level of hotness varies from brand to brand.  It's not the end of the world, but just goes to show that the work you thought was done and dusted really is not.



Getting closer...

Hey, remember that scene in School of Rock when Joan Cusack gives her "I used to be fun" speech? That's me.  Not that anyone else is putting pressure on me--it just comes with the territory of being self-critical.  I also feel like I have a perpetual 'deer in headlights' look on my face. I'm also brain dead, so can't quite muster up any witticisms.


The launch program is like bootcamp (with really supportive, nice people guiding you instead of drill sergeants).

It can get really exhausting and there were moments when I felt like I just didn't have anything to give (real talk, no sugar coating here), but the moment things start to come together is when the light at the end of the tunnel comes into focus. It's the lift that helps you remember the feeling of excitement and possibility you had when you first dreamed up your idea.

Which is where we're at now--we've ordered packaging and will be doing our first production run next week. This will fulfill the incentives for all of our phenomenal Kickstarter backers. I feel warm and fuzzy just thinking about them.

Last night, I had the opportunity to meet Courtney, the first graduate of the Fare Trade program. I'd heard so many anecdotes about her through Chrissy and Monika, that I already felt like I knew her. It was so great to hear her take on being a food maker. You should really try her Love Sweet Love pralines, too. They're delish--not too sweet, made with goat's milk, yums.

Stay tuned for for an update about our first production run. Oooo, nervous...

A funny thing happened on the way to the kitchen...

Hi All,

Mo posting here. Thought I'd share a little snippet of our adventure that involves Lego bricks, a mix-up, and friends who love you no matter what. You see, last Saturday we were invited to a friend's apartment for dinner. She asked me to bring a sample of our spice on some popcorn so she could finally try it. Of course, I said I'd whip some up right away. When I went to the kitchen, much to my dismay I was short of a few vital ingredients. So, that afternoon I walked over in the rain to Dual Specialty Shop for some spices with my five year old daughter in tow. She was such a sport that I offered to walk a few more blocks over to Kmart to pick up a Lego set for the kids to play with at the party. One thing led to another, the checkout line was ridiculously long, we passed a dying rat in the crosswalk, I had to run another errand on the way back, she needed a snack... and before I knew it we were late late late.

By the time we got back home I was rushing through the process of toasting, grinding, and simultaneously popping popcorn. I grabbed my bulk bag of cumin and poured it into the wok with one hand while assembling a firetruck with the other. We threw our shoes on and were out the door to head downtown and join the party.

We arrived fashionably late with our snacks and toys. Everyone settled in and the popcorn was poured into a lovely bowl and served. The reaction was all positive yet unexpected. "Ooh, is that anise?". Uh, no. "Mmm, I taste licorice!". What? It's cumin, people, CUMIN! Having eaten Weeger on absolutely everything from kale to ice cream for months now, I didn't bother to taste it because frankly, my taste buds needed a break. It was a great party and I lost myself in conversation and Lego building and mushroom pizza. We stumbled home on the bus way past bedtime and left the cleaning for the morning.

When I woke up the next day I trudged into the kitchen to sort through the pots and pans and mixing spoons. My curiosity got to me and I tasted the Weeger batch, and much to my dismay it was anise. Funny, it was licorice, too. It was... FENNEL. Ugh! I was mortified. I sent out a mass email to all of my unsuspecting taste testers. Oops! Disregard the entire flavor you encountered last night, that is NOT Weeger. What that is something akin to spicy candy from last Halloween that nobody wanted to eat. How could they have liked it?! I think they are just biased and didn't want to hurt my feelings. But, in the end I learned two very important things: label your bulk bags clearly and your lovely friends will lie through their teeth because they are that cool.

This is not the Weeger you are looking for...

Too eager to Weeger (properly).


Wow, we reached our Kickstarter goal--in six days! That's unheard of (I think)! We never would have expected that to happen. I can't help but be really moved by all the support we've received. I'm filled with gratitude. Thank you!

We also had our first customer demonstration at Bread Love in Brooklyn. What a warm (and cool), welcoming place. Everyone that sampled our product was lovely and gave positive feedback. I couldn't help but wonder if they were just being polite, but I figure they'd let us know if they truly didn't like our product.

Right now, we're working on ingredient and packaging sourcing and are very much looking forward to all of these components coming together.

Until next time...

So much, you guys, I can't even think of a title

Wow, I need to catch my breath--the past week and a half have been a complete whirlwind. Let's see... I took my final exam for Food Protection in an auditorium in Harlem on a Tuesday afternoon. I signed in at the front desk and the security guard told me to "go get it".  It sort of surprised and tickled me--does he know something?  It just seemed so fraught with meaning.

The next night was an Edible Brooklyn's "How to Build a Business in the Food World" event.  Chrissy from Fare Trade was on the panel of speakers.  The audience became really engaged and alive when Chrissy took the microphone--way to go, Chrissy!  Mo and I were "revealed" and answered a few questions from the audience.  Good thing we drank a beer because we did not do that when we filmed our Kickstarter video, but we totally should have.

Speaking of Kickstarter, our campaign has been up for five days and we are almost $500 away from our goal.  We're already 85% funded!  Wild!  It's an understatement to say that I'm really amazed.  I'd envisioned funds trickling in bit by bit each week, but the support we've been receiving just this week has been incredible.  Check it out here.  I can't help but feel really moved by it all.  

Mo and I also had a busy Thursday--we had the opportunity to trail with Chris from Kings County Jerky Co.  This was such a valuable thing to be able to do.  Chris had a lot of insight and advice that really sunk in--rock the packaging!!!   That's a must if we want to stand out from all those other spices.  

We also visited Rappaport Sons Bottle Co. to get an idea of what bottles to consider.  I loved that this is a family-owned business.  We bought a case of hexagon jars that are nice... but do they rock??   Irwin and co. from Rappaport were really nice, helpful and encouraging--we just loved going there.

We trekked back to Manhattan and picked KJ up from school.  We made a stop into Dual Specialty Store in the East Village--they are one of the contenders for our wholesale spice sourcing.  There was a plethora of cool things--we ended up buying little packages of hibiscus powder, beet powder and powdered vinegar, just for the novelty of it.  It will be fun to experiment with these...  Again, kind, encouraging words from the owner, Shahin.  My bleeding heart!

By the way, we had a lovable five year old in tow at Dual and can I just say five year olds LOVE spice shops?  Chuck E Cheese and Disney World?  Pfft--long forgotten when browsing in aisles of spices.  So magical!  If they scowl or act at all petulant, just know that they're actually having the time of their lives...

Eager to Weeger

This week was all about laying down some important groundwork (i.e. registering for an EIN, shareholders agreements, by-laws).  Huh?  Yes, you know, business.  I can write about any tips or things I've learned in the future, but at the moment, I don't think I can add any valuable insight into this aspect.

What I can tell you is that Mo and I filmed our Kickstarter video and I felt like Jack Donaghy over-analyzing his 'acting' in the episode of "30 Rock" where he had to film a clip about GE Product Integration.

"Hi, I'm Meilina.  What's my next line?  Something, something rooftop BBQ?"  I really thought I'd had my talking points down, until the record button was hit.  I have a newfound respect for actors--meaning the ones I thought were dumb.  I now realize you have to be kind of smart to be in front of a camera.  Or at least totally impervious to the fact that lots of people will see the video. I happen to be one of those "Do I really sound like that/make that weird motion with my head/please say I do not" people, sooooo...

Mo and I also took a trip to Flushing to get some shots of Xinjiang skewers, the original thing that inspired this spice blend.  We loved that our research was pretty much eating and taking pictures.


I also forged ahead with recipe tweaking and finally came up with something that I feel much better about.  I added sumac, dried shiso and a bit of dulse to play with tanginess, brightness and salinity. Fingers crossed that this batch is the winner...