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My old school friend Rodney is 70 today.

We met in pre-prep school at the age of eight and both feature (butter wouldn’t melt in our mouths) in a photo  of the cast of the first play I acted in– “Colonel Blood’s Plot to Steal the Crown Jewels” –an action packed melodrama that ended badly–for the Colonel!

Our Salad Days–(seems appropriate, given what’s to follow!)

I played the Colonel’s demure-looking wife (mob cap, centre back) and Rodney (mob cap, far right, back row)–his mistress?!

We try to see each other at least once a year and catch up by phone on our birthdays–it’s a fine tradition.

Rodney and I share a life span with another 70-year-old–Old Bay Seasoning.

Same great taste for over 70 years,” it says on the tin.

This Maryland spice mix originates from the Chesapeake Bay area and was kindly given me at the pop-up book signing in New York City by Ann de Saram who brought it up from Baltimore by bus!

It’s widely used to zip up the taste of seafood and chicken–the perfect answer for a jet-lagged cook!

I marinaded two chicken breasts in the mix recommended on the box for an hour this morning:

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon  of OLD BAY seasoning 

Several twists of the pepper mill 

I heated a griddle on the stove, cut the breasts in thin strips and grilled them a minute and a half each side.

Served over a green salad, they made for a lazy lunch.

Not sure how far it makes its way out beyond America’s east coast–but here’s a recipe (found on the internet and untried by me!) for mixing your own:

 Makes about 1/4 cup

  • 1 tablespoon ground dried bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons celery salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
The taste of celery and paprika seem to predominate.
Many Happy Returns, Rodney!

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