Over the summer I went with my family to Rehoboth Beach on vacation, and while (as usual) I kept my distance from sunlight, swimsuits, etc. (indoor kid 4 lyfe!) I had no problem adapting to the 24/7 snacking mentality that comes with any quality family trip. Build a sandcastle? No way! Go the grocery store to replenish the rations we demolished over the course of twelve hours? COUNT ME IN!
It was during one of said trips to the supermarket that I stumbled upon the holy grail of Old Bay-seasoned snack foods, which I had previously (and foolishly) believed to be limited to Utz Crab Chips. HOW WRONG I WAS!
I had somehow been unaware that Herr’s was the one true snack food savior when it came to Old Bay mania, but now there were shelves upon shelves of regional delicacy-laden glory staring back at me. Naturally I went with a bag of popcorn and cheese curls (because those are good on their own, let alone with a dose of Old Bay thrown into the mix), and I also grabbed a package of ye olde traditional Old Bay potato chips for, you know, scale or whatever.
Upon arrival back at the beach house, I tore into all three bags at once. The cheese curls didn’t look too terribly different to what a normal batch would (apart from a few flecks here and there), but the popcorn and potato chips were visibly encrusted with Old Bay goodness. So…how did they measure up? Well, let me just say that I had a “come to Jesus” moment while eating the popcorn, which was essentially like an elevated version of white cheddar popcorn thanks to the addition of Old Bay seasoning. I would eat that as my death row meal, I’m not even kidding. The cheese curls, meanwhile, surprisingly missed the mark; I think had they been the regular Cheetos-style sticks and not the air-puffed curls they’d strangely have been able to pull it off, but between the texture and the actual seasoning ratio, something just wasn’t doing it for me. And of course there were the potato chips, which were exactly what you’d expect from any good Old Bay-seasoned chips; definitely good, but not anything out of the ordinary, as you would imagine.
What did I learn from all of this? Well, 1. more things should use Old Bay where possible, because really, the limit does not exist when it comes to this versatile and time-honored seasoning mixture, and 2. the Old Bay popcorn is a shining beacon of snack food delight that should be made widely available EVERYWHERE, not just in places like Delaware and Maryland and (sometimes) DC and Virginia, because I live in New York now, and I feel extraordinarily shafted. I say unto you, go forth and (when in doubt) MAKE IT AN OLD BAY DAY!