Sunday, February 06, 2005

Vintage Savory

Not long ago I was trying to get the shelf where I store my spices under control (they’re so packed in there it doesn’t take long before it gets completely topsy-turvy), when I once again came across my jar of savory. I’ve only used savory for one thing all these years – to season mashed potatoes – so I don’t go through it very fast. I’m not sure if using savory in mashed potatoes will sound strange to the rest of the world, but I grew up with savory-seasoned mashed potatoes. In fact, I must have considered it essential when I was younger, for I believe this is the first spice I ever bought. And I don’t mean just any old savory; I mean this particular jar of savory!

I realize that in this food-loving community of food bloggers, owning, not to mention using, a nearly 30 year old jar of savory (yikes – that dates me big-time!) is heresy, but I assure you that the remaining contents of that jar have not yet been reduced to sawdust. I don’t make mashed potatoes very often any more, but when I do, I still add a little of that savory and while its scent may have become muted over the years, the familiar taste and aroma are there and can still evoke powerful memories.

If I remember right, I bought this jar of savory the summer before my sophomore year of college when I first began cooking for myself. I can no longer recall that shopping trip, but because of the now yellowed price sticker which reads “our low price” (the price itself is now illegible), I know I purchased it at Memco. My little kitchen back then consisted of a hotplate, a toaster oven, and some shared space in my roommate’s small refrigerator. My pantry was the bottom drawer of my dresser, which housed not only canned goods and other food items, but my trusty Swing Away can opener (which I still have), a single pot, and a few other essentials.

So, you see, I can’t throw out this jar of savory. Perhaps twenty or so years ago it might have been possible, before it and I had lived in four homes and two states together. Now we have too much history to part ways like that. The only way now is for me to use it up … not that I’m in any hurry.


santos. said...

hi cathy

i would save the jar or at least the label. i love the graphics of the old label, and wish mccormick would bring it back. i still have all the (empty) glass jars from a collection of laura ashley herbs my mom bought be in high school--do they even sell those still?

Anonymous said...

My mom has a bunch of McCormick jars in her spice drawer that look like that! I've gotten to where I always bring my own Penzey's spices with me when I plan to make something there. Wish I could remember the very first spice I doubt it was pepper, but I wonder the next after that? Something fun to think about! (By the way, the first thing I thought of when thinking about savory is turkey burgers...we always put some in there!)

Cathy said...

Santos - I'm in no rush to get rid of this. I've thrown out a few other (younger) jars of spices, but I plan to hang on to this one. I hadn't heard of the Laura Ashley herbs. Do the jars/labels look like Laura Ashley stuff? I was looking on Ebay just now to see if I could find them (so I could see a picture), but no luck. You ought to use them to store your spices!

Alice - The front label on this jar isn't much different from the labels McCormick used up until just a few years ago. The back label is different though - the type makes me think of the type in ads that appeared in women's magazines years ago, AND no bar code! Turkey burgers sounds like a good way to use a little savory - thanks!

brownbreadicecream said...

What a great post, Cathy. Sigh, made me feel all warm and nostalgic, and I've never even tasted Savory before. I do have the same problem with my "spice basket"--the most overloaded wicker of little glass bottles ever known to humankind.

I'm trying to figure out if maybe I've tasted Savory without realizing it. Is there a really common dish that includes Savory?

Cathy said...

Hi Rachel - thanks so much! I'm not sure, but it seems like the kind of thing that might be used in stuffing (dressing). It's actually very aptly named. I have a hard time thinking of a way to describe it - to me it tastes like mashed potatoes!