I’ve reunited with Lawry’s salt, and it tastes so good

BY BILL HORNER III, Publisher
Posted 10/20/21

There are, perhaps, men out there in the world right now who fear their wives might someday try to poison them.

Me? My wife, to my culinary chagrin, goes far off in the opposite direction.

A …

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I’ve reunited with Lawry’s salt, and it tastes so good

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Posted

There are, perhaps, men out there in the world right now who fear their wives might someday try to poison them.

Me? My wife, to my culinary chagrin, goes far off in the opposite direction.

A two-word explanation will help illustrate.

Lawry’s salt.

Or, as Lee Ann has been known to describe it (that, along with some other stuff I like): “poison.”

As a picky eater, my wife has no equal. The list of food she eschews chewing is extensive and includes, I would bet, at least one thing on your “favorites” list: she eats no, or very little, sugar, gluten, soy, cheese, chicken, ham or dairy.

(“More for me,” we chunky husbands of picky wives say in reply.)

It’s not that she doesn’t like those foods. She used to enjoy most of them. She’d just rather feel good than have them as a part of her diet. When she partakes, typically through unintended subterfuge in the kitchen of a restaurant, or via someone who doesn’t know what a “gluten” is, she suffers.

Sometimes mightily.

A fervent label-reader, Lee Ann also doesn’t do MSG — that mysterious ingredient noted on some food labels as “natural flavors.”

Which is partly why Lawry’s Seasoned Salt was banned from our kitchen years ago.

I grew up with Lawry’s salt. It was a staple in our kitchen when I was a child and stands out in my memory in three ways:

• The bottle’s distinctive orange color of its top and “L” brand.

• The way it turns an-already deliciously ripe tomato into a dazzling culinary treat, and makes a tomato sandwich (made ONLY with Duke’s mayonnaise and Wonder bread) a seasonal delicacy.

• My late father’s liberal use of it in preparing steaks, burgers and anything else which might find itself tossed onto a charcoal grill.

But as our own family’s food sensitivities — and Lee Ann’s label awareness — evolved over time, Lawry’s got put on the “do not call” list. If we were shopping together, Lee Ann and I might pass by the spice racks; I’d longingly look at a bottle of Lawry’s and simultaneously feel an icy glare coming from her direction. Opening a bag of those mini Snickers bars you find around Halloween and stuffing my pockets with them without paying would have been a preferred behavior to even touching a bottle of Lawry’s salt.

To someone with her food sensitivities, lots of things have earned the “poison” nomenclature. Soy sauce, another of my favorites, is among them. So I done my best to comply, divorcing myself from the Lawry’s family, dousing my Chinese food with tamari or something called “coconut aminos,” and learning over the year to appreciate salt and pepper, which for years I rarely touched.

So why didn’t I sneak some Lawry’s salt in the cart on a solo shopping trip? Not worth the risk. I mean, I like being married.

So what’s changed? Why, within our huge collection of organic, overpriced spices and Lee Ann-approved seasonings, can you now find Lawry’s salt?

Blame her mom.

My wonderful mother-in-law arrived at our house a couple of months ago with a few tomatoes from her garden. You know the kind: deep red, the perfect firmness, just begging for a paring knife and a generous dollop of mayo and some bread.

It was enough to break me. On my next trip to the store, I picked up a bottle of Lawry’s salt.

I didn’t apologize to Lee Ann. After thoroughly enjoying a cut-up chilled tomato on a plate, sprinkled with a generous shake of Lawry’s, I toweled remains of tomato juice off my chin and showed my wife the label.

Officially, according to McCormick — the salt’s maker, the company which bought Lawry’s family of seasoning blends for $604 million back in 2008 — Lawry’s “Original Seasoned Salt” contains salt, sugar, paprika, turmeric, onion, corn starch, garlic, tricalcium phosphate (which prevents caking), sunflower oil, and extractives of paprika and other natural flavors.

The blend does not include any MSG.

And calories? Zero.

Lee Ann relented and didn’t argue. I’m not sure if she approves — even though turmeric is supposed to be great for you — and she doesn’t want it near her, but so far she hasn’t thrown it out.

I’ve used it on steaks, burgers, salads, soups, vegetables and more, regaling Lee Ann with childhood recollections involving Lawry’s and the family kitchen.

But to be honest, I haven’t told Lee Ann everything. In looking for recipes, I made a startling discovery: you can order Lawry’s salt from McCormick in a 97,968-serving, 180-pound drum.

It’s gotten me thinking. I gotta be really nice to Lee Ann’s mom, because I’m gonna need more tomatoes next year. LOTS of them.

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