Fun Facts About Baltimore's Beloved Spice, Old Bay Seasoning
Old Bay is one of those polarizing items in the grocery store aisle -- people either can't live without it or just don't get all the fuss. Don't try to explain it to those outside the Chesapeake Bay area, but these colorful yellow cans are filled with the taste and aromas of home. The combination of celery salt, peppers and paprika is a must on crabs, of course, but Old Bay is also used liberally on potato chips, fries and the rim of a Bloody Mary glass. Even new students at the University of Maryland receive a care package with their own personal supply and a BYO crab mallet (see below).
Last year, a promotion called the "Summer of Baytriotism" equated Old Bay with that swelling in the chest from pride in the area. Yet the history of the spice begins in Baltimore, Maryland, with Gustav Brunn, who escaped Nazi Germany with his spice grinder in 1938. It's named after the Old Bay Line, a steamship route on the bay that kept the Eastern Shore happily at arms length from the rest of the state from 1840 to 1962. Check out the Old Bay mascot at with the Baltimore Orioles' own bird in the photo above, cheering on the home team at Camden Yards.
Read more about this legendary condiment over on Thrillist here.