Ode to Old Bay

Posted October 07, 2009

Today's Washington Post food section has a great story from Jane Black on Old Bay, the classic mid-Atlantic spice blend celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Black gets some great material from the 84-year-old son of Old Bay founder and inventor Gustav Brunn, a German who emigrated to Baltimore in 1938, a year before he created the blend of perhaps a dozen spices (the formula is a closely guarded secret). As a native DC’er, I'm proud to see Old Bay showing up on menus across the country, from Momofuku's fried chicken in NYC to the crab boil at Nettie's Crab Shack in San Francisco. I don't think the 70th anniversary has much to do with its newfound popularity, though: There's just something comforting as well as addictively delicious about the retro mix.

Here are three of the finest Old Bay-spiced recipes from F&W:
Melissa Rubel Jacobson's ingenious Shrimp Boil Hobo Packs

Marcia Kiesel's simple Crabby Carolina Rice

DeeAnn Budney's Crisp Cayenne-Spiced Crab Cakes

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