Flickr: Cathy Chaplin

An Ode to Lawry's Seasoned Salt

There are a few well-known seasoning blends out there, including Old Bay and Tony Chachere, but one of the originals is Lawry's Seasoned Salt. The story of this family favorite goes all the way back to 1938 and a restaurant in Beverly Hills, California. Lawrence Frank and his brother opened Lawry's The Prime Rib that year. Richard Frank, Lawrence's son, tells how his dad was a "stickler for detail" and decided to create a seasoning for their restaurant's featured prime rib. Since you can't season prime rib until it's cut, the seasoning needed to be perfect, so Lawrence brought a bunch of ingredients home and worked for months to get it right.

The resulting seasoning salt wasn't just perfect for the prime rib. It amplified the flavor of other dishes, too. At the restaurant, they put the seasoned salt in a glass shaker right next to the salt and pepper shakers. "Servers were instructed to use it on the salads they tossed at tableside and to tell guests that it tasted awfully good on prime rib, too," Richard said.

He also tells how they knew the seasoning salt was a hit: "Guests liked it so much they swiped it off the tables to take home." The family decided to bottle it and sell it at the restaurant. Then, Richard says, "Frank Ralphs, the buyer for Ralphs Grocery Co., tasted it when he dined at Lawry's and placed an order for 10 cases for his family's stores." Ralphs became the first major grocery chain to carry the spice blend.

The well-known "L" logo was created in 1959 by Saul Bass, who designed the titles for movies like Vertigo and West Side Story. In 2008, Lawry's Seasoned Salt and their other seasoning blends, including Lawry's Garlic Salt and a Lemon Pepper Blend, as well as their own black pepper and Lawry's signature steakhouse marinades, were bought by McCormick for $604 million.

According to McCormick, Lawry's Original Seasoned Salt features salt, sugar, paprika, turmeric, onion, corn starch, garlic, tricalcium phosphate (which prevents caking), sunflower oil, extractives of paprika and natural flavor. The blend does not include any MSG.

How to use Lawry's Seasoned Salt

They don't call it an all-purpose seasoning for nothing. Really, you can use Lawry's on pretty much anything (okay, maybe not dessert). Of course, it goes with beef, but don't just use it on prime rib. Add it to ground beef for bold burgers and excellent meatloaf. It's perfect in a dry rub for pork bbq.

The versatile kitchen staple is great with fish and poultry, and you should definitely add it to the flour mixture for breading fried chicken. For that matter, add it to any kind of breading for deep frying (frickles, anyone?). Sprinkle it on mashed potatoes, French fries and hash browns. Add it to steamed veggies.

DIY seasoning blend

You can make your own expert blend of salt and seasoning by mixing two tablespoons salt (you can use table salt or sea salt, but popcorn salt is finer and may work better), two teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon celery salt, 3/4 teaspoon paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon each of turmeric, onion powder, garlic powder and cornstarch.

Watch: When To Toss Your Spices