A Good Day for Jews

By Ben Miller

Mazto Ball Soup, Laktes, and Old Bay? That’s right, according to a story in today’s Washington Post:

Old Bay Seasoning was the invention of Gustav Brunn, a German Jew who emigrated to Baltimore in 1938. An experienced spice merchant, Brunn soon landed a job at McCormick & Co., which wanted him to develop blends for meatpackers who were making products including sausages and hot dogs.

Sadly, the story misses the irony of having a Jew design the best spicing combination every for the most delicious forms of traif. (That’s right, I’ll throw that out there–Crustaceans are tastier than pig or any other food that is inherently un-kosher by itself–i.e. not a cheeseburger.) The article does, however, include a few amusing quotations such as how to properly pack Old Bay for cross country travel:

“Unless you like to get strip-searched, it is best to have your Old Bay can in your checked baggage,” warns Deborah Fedorchak Liberatore, who, for the record, has never been strip-searched for carrying Old Bay. “Pack a small stash in your carry-on baggage, just in case your luggage gets lost.”

Or, just what is in that delicious, delicious tin:

The predominant ingredients were no secret: red and black pepper, salt, celery seed and dry mustard. But Gustav added minor quantities of more than half a dozen other spices, including ginger, laurel and bay leaf, so that his blend would be difficult to replicate. “They had no relation to the main flavors,” said Ralph Brunn. “But they combined and created a background that rounded out the flavor. He didn’t anticipate that.”

The article notes all the various things that Old Bay gets used for in addition to the tried and always delicious staples of crabs, corn, and french fries: fried green tomatoes, grilled pineapple, and pizza. I’m pretty sure I’ve also had it with potato salad and in mayo (at Good Stuff Eatery), and I could see it working well on deviled eggs.

But that’s not all the good Jewish news today. As I was walking past the gym last night, I noticed that Eli’s Deli, the delicious but somewhat expensive kosher deli on the corner of 20th and N, has opened a carryout wing. They don’t appear to have a menu online, but the addition appears to offer falafel and shawarma… hopefully with Old Bay on it.

5 responses to “A Good Day for Jews

  1. I’m sort of obsessed with Eli’s new takeout (well, given that I work across the street…). They only offer four things: falafel sandwich, falafel platter, shawarma sandwich, shawarma platter. The falafel sandwich is $4 and if you say give me everything, spicy, it comes stuffed to the gills with falafel (which I’ve seen them hand form & fry), various sauces including the delicious spicy one, lettuce tomato onion, and topped with pickled veggies. I haven’t had the shawarma yet.

  2. Crustaceans tastier than pork? Lies, I say! Lies and slander! I put the following pork products up as superior to any crustacean: tacos al pastor; barbecue pork (the truest form of barbecue); and, most of all, prosciutto and other salumi. And furthermore, butter makes everything better, but lard makes it best.

  3. Old Bay in a Bloody Mary, or better yet, on the rim of the glass. Takes my second favorite cocktail to a whole new level of deliciousness.

  4. I won’t mention anything about pork; that’s a whole ‘nother thread. But I’m pretty sure that award winning, world famous Ann of Ann’s Snack Bar here in Atlanta is using Old Bay on her burgers, and as a topping for fries. And she ain’t skimpy.

  5. I can also vouch for the new Eli’s takeout. Long lines at lunch, but good prices and a quality product — I had the falafel on lafa, and it was delicious, though not on par with Amsterdam Falafel in Adams Morgan, which remains the city’s best. One word of warning: coworkers report that the quality of the fries can be very inconsistent.

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