For some time now I have been conducting a survey in Buzzy’s Country Store as to which spice folks prefer on their crabs – JO or Old Bay. While several of my Buzzy friends were quick to say how much they preferred JO over Old Bay, ultimately most of the folks I asked tended to stick with OB. For a good article on the Old Bay/JO “rivalry” (click here.)
While both products are based in Maryland, Old Bay has been around a little longer than JO. Also, Old Bay’s being part of the McCormack Spice Company gives them more brand recognition. According to one source (click here) Old Bay “may be the best-known American spice blend.”
However, from my little Buzzy survey, even though Old Bay seemed to be the overall preferred choice, the JO supporters were a little more passionate about their preference. I found this comment about the two:
(Not that I doubted that JO’s Marketing and Sales VP is someone really named Ginger Ports, after some internet searching, I did find something that verified that Ginger is for real (click here.)
I still have folks coming into the Store and telling me how much they liked Buzzy’s Special Crab Seasoning. He used to have it for sale on the counter packaged in a small zip lock bag. When he and I did the turnover in 07, I asked him for his recipe. He just smiled and showed me his container of JO under the counter. Back in the day, Buzzy would have someone swing by the JO shop in Baltimore and pick up a stash that Buzzy would then parcel out and sell as his own special crab spice.
I have told folks this confession after they tell me about purchasing and enjoying Buzzy’s mixture. A couple of times that I have done so, some folks have actually challenged and told me “That doesn’t sound right because I know and like JO but trust me, Buzzy’s was really much better.” I never argued otherwise with them.
One final note here: I also learned that JO is named after its inventor James Ozzle Strigle (click here.) This explains why their official name gets those periods. (No jokes here about getting one’s period!)
Having learned of this, I probably should have returned to each J.O. reference above and corrected all of them. However, I got some crabs to pick out and don’t want to waste any more time on this!
OBTW, despite having been advised to watch my salt intake, I am a firm J.O. fan. Then again I am partial to anything that begins with the letter J.
While the following video doesn’t feature any of our Chesapeake Bay blue crabs, it is still worth checking out: