Unheralded and Unsung
This is a transcription of an article published in the Miami Herald in the Fall of 1955.
Once upon a time, there was only Pepper and salt. Remember?
If you don't, it's small wonder. For, within the past decade, the range of “Seasoning’s" on Super-Market shelves has so proliferated that, today, we are confronted with individual seasoning formulas for Fish, Eggs, Pork, Lamb, Veal, Ham, Poultry, Meat Loaf, Stews, Salads… in fact, for Just about every dish with the possible exception of Haggis and Spitted Iguana. All ̶ to my way of thinking ̶ sorry substitutes for a perceptive set of taste buds and a basic understanding of flavor chemistry.
Yet, there’s always an exception to prove the rule, as the old adage goes. One such is an "unheralded and unsung" and otherwise un-heard-of granulated seasoning which, when applied to meat before grilling, endows it with an extremely tantalizing flavor and aroma.
When I first savored this trove some time ago at a cook-out in Baton Rouge, La., my curiosity was stimulated almost as much as my peptic juices. But, alas, the label on the bottle merely depose its contents to be "GUY’S BARBECUE SEASONING" of Houston, Texas…no firm name, no street address. To obtain these two crumbs of intelligence took weeks. And, after that, months before its creator, B.C. "Guy” Dickens, complied with my request for the "how come" of his remarkable concoction. I give you its substance in his own words:
“I started out as a Butcher's Helper in the early 1930’s at a Piggly Wiegly store in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Then, growing restless, I hit the road…working as a Helper every Thursday and Saturday in a different city until I'd learned the secrets or better than 300 Butchers. At this point, I became so interested in the profit and merchandising possibilities of Delicatessen items with which I was to do some real pioneering. I was the first to put Potato Salad and Barbecued Meats in a grocery. I designed and built the first BBQ display case with my own hands but the coals in the darned thing got the grocery store so hot, I had to use a red heat-lamp instead"
“Then came the war and the quality of the meat available to local retail stores was terrible. In fact, the only beef we could get was yearlings raised in the neighborhood and the flavor of that meat was so sorry, I decided to experiment with a special seasoning of my own creation to offset it because the only seasoning you could buy in a store then was Salt and Pepper. So, with a wash tub, a box of Mason Jars, and cut-out pieces of butcher' s paper for labels, I went to work on what is now GUY’S BARBECUE SEASONING. And it wasn't long after I put those first home-made-looking jars out on the counter that the darned stuff took off like a rocket. What's more, without any high-toned advertising or promotion - just word-of-mouth recommendation - it's been going great guns ever since. I have no plans to even try to increase the sale or Guy's Seasoning. Why should I? I’m getting pretty old now and all I want to do is fish”
“What’s my secret? Nothing more or less than the right combination of such unmysterious things as MSG, Smoked Salt, a sweet variety of imported paprika, cracked imported Java Black Pepper because this kind doesn’t burn oft as ordinary fine Pepper will, Flake Salt instead of Granulated to get saturation without weight, and a mite of Pepsin as a passive tenderizer and t help the flow of digestive Juices, Garlic Salt and Spices"
Thank you, B.C. “Guy" Dickens…and loud cheers to you for these tidings on your label "Guy's seasoning is guaranteed to make any Steak, Hamburger, Chicken or Seafood taste twice as good or your money refunded"
It's not that I'd like to see Mr. Dickens miss out on his fishing… but you can come buy a supply of Guy's Seasoning (12 21/2 oz. bottles for $4.00 plus postage) by writing to Dickens & Co., 6912 Burgess, Houston, Texas.
Twice as Good? I don‘t think you'll be asking for that refund.