Saturday, June 4, 2011

Memories of Old Bay Seasoning

My "Fond Summer Memories of Growing up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in the 1970's" include:
  1. Day trips to Rehoboth Beach Delaware with my best friend and our moms
  2. Glass mason jars filled with fire flies that I'd captured on sticky June nights
  3. Thunder storms viewed from the end of a pier on the Chester River
  4. Crab Feasts on picnic tables covered with white paper and strewn with Old Bay encrusted crabs
Alll of these experiences (with the exception of standing on a wooden structure over water while thunder and lightening abound) are ones that I hope my children will enjoy at some point in their lives.  Because we now live in Texas, however, the only one of these items that I can consistently include in their lives is Old Bay.  

Old Bay is a unique blend of spices that was created in Baltimore, Maryland over seventy years ago.  It is indispensable for all seafood, but also heightens the flavor of vegetables, salads, meats, soups, and more.  When my third child, who is my most adventurous eater out of the four, started to shy away from vegetables, I sprinkled some Old Bay on his green beans before serving and he devoured two helpings.  I also put Old Bay in recipes for soups and chowders that are new to my kids.  I'm not sure what the secret is, but dishes they will not ordinarily sample turn into family favorites with the addition of a little Old Bay.  In fact, in our family, like many other Maryland households, the three essential spices that perch on the back of the stove are salt, pepper, and Old Bay.  

Shhh, don't tell anyone, but Old Bay is the secret ingredient in my coveted Deviled Eggs.  It is what supplies that extra zest to my oven roasted potatoes.  Also, Old Bay is what adds that extra little sumpin' sumpin' to my daughter's roasted pumpkin seeds.  It is an essential part of our culinary heritage.  As a matter of fact, when we told my son that we were leaving our home in Maryland to move to Texas, one of his first questions was, "Do they have Old Bay in Texas?"  Seriously, he loves it that much!

Just in case Old Bay was not readily available in the Lone Star State, I did pack a brand new iconic yellow and blue canister of Old Bay in the moving box with my kitchen utensils.  After some searching in my new local Texas grocery stores, however, I did locate tins of Old Bay in HEB.  I had to squat down in the spice aisle and reach to the bottom corner of the shelf to locate the very small and slightly dusty row of this boldly flavored spice, but I did find it.  Nevertheless, I believe that with the power of Heidi's Recipes and the popularity of seafood in this region it is only a matter of time before Old Bay gets promoted to a higher shelf in HEB and joins Tony Chachere's Famous Creole Seasoning in the cabinets of all Texans.  

This coming summer it looks like my family and I will not be taking our annual trek to the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  Even though we are all sad about this fact, I know that I can make some new memories down here in Texas; day trips to Galveston instead of Rehoboth, avoiding fire ants instead of catching fire flies, riding out thunder storms in the comfort of our air conditioned game room instead of on the end of a pier, and enjoying Old Bay on gulf shrimp instead of bay crabs.
Here are some of my favorite Old Bay Recipes:


  1. How lovely...never thought of putting Old Bay in deviled eggs and these look delicious! Gotta try them soon! Thanks for sharing your memories.


  2. Hi Heidi,
    It is so good to see you here today! I just love Old Bay seasoning and always have some in my pantry. I actually use it in a lot of recipes. Great post! Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday, have a great week end and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  3. I have to admit something... I've never heard of Old Bay Seasoning and I've never tried crab! I know, I live under a rock! :) Thanks for linking up at Sassy Sites for our ffa party! Have a wonderful weekend! xoxo!!


  4. I'm from SC & I have used Old Bay Seasoning for many years. You have given me lots of new ideas to use it on. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I use Old Bay all the time. One of my favorites!


  6. I'm from Louisiana, but lived on the Eastern Shore of Maryland for many years. I love Old Bay seasoning and those Chesapeake Bay crabs and crab cakes made my mouth water. :)