Timing… it’s vital in comedy, cooking and in life. And many are the times when timing has led to an experience that left a deep imprint on my life.
Roll back to the Spring of 1970. I was about to embark on an around-the-world, overland trip that was scheduled to take about a year – IF I came home and didn’t detour to a country I’d want to call home for a while. At that time, home was Baltimore, Maryland, and through my father-in-law’s contacts, I found myself one sunny spring afternoon sitting in the wood-paneled office of Charles P. McCormick – of McCormick spice fame.
He was a lovely man – old school, yet innovative. Spices weren’t just a business to him; he relished telling how many of them were sourced, shipped and merchandised. Behind him was a picture-window view of Baltimore Harbor (before the renovation) and I couldn’t help envisioning merchant ships arriving with their exotic cargos.
A parting gift, along with at least 25 tea-chests that still had the fragrance of tea wafting from the wooden sides (which we used to pack our belongings before putting them into storage) was a cookbook – “The McCormick Spices of the World Cookbook.” As you can see from the photographs, it’s been through the wars – the kitchen wars – as I sliced and diced my way through so many of its recipes.
Now, in true merchandising fashion, all of the recipes include an abundance of McCormick spices, necessitating many trips to the market to shore up stock. The man was a genius!
I started thinking about meeting Mr. McCormick as I pulled the book from my shelf — the front cover has fallen off, the pages are ingredient-stained. But the recipe for Dill Macaroni Salad on page 82 is one that I’ve been making since I returned from my around-the-world journey — 45 years ago. And it’s one that I’ll make again for my family’s Memorial Day Celebration this year.
Back to timing – Mr. McCormick passed away just three months after our visit. But his company, his book and his contribution to cooks around the world lives on. For me, his timing was impeccable.
McCormick’s Dill Macaroni Salad
8 ounces elbow macaroni
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup thinly sliced green pepper
¼ cup thinly sliced carrots
2 tablespoons chopped pimiento
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoons Instant Minced Onions
1 teaspoon dill weed
2 teaspoons Season-All
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
Dash of cayenne or red pepper
Cook macaroni until it’s al dente. Drain and cool.
Celery. Green Pepper. Carrots. Pimiento.
Add to macaroni.
Mayonnaise. Vinegar. Sugar. Minced Onion. Dill Weed. Season-All. Dry Mustard. White Pepper.
Mix together thoroughly in a separate bowl and spoon over the macaroni. Toss to bring all the elements together.
For added spunk, add a dash of cayenne and mix through.
Chill before serving.
Thank you, McCormick and Company!