Tag Archives: Old Bay seasoning

What’s Your Favorite Holiday?

by Kassandra Lamb

Independence Day has always been my second favorite holiday, Christmas being the first. But now I think July 4th is edging toward first place.

1000px-United_States_flag_waving_icon pub domain.svgWhen I was a kid, we went to a big cookout at the house of my parents’ friends, the Chucklers (not their real name; honestly anyone named that should pay to have it legally changed). I’m calling them that because they were cheerful people and we always had a lot of fun there. My brother and I would romp around with their kids in the woods by their house.

Then when we’d worked up a good appetite, we’d see who could run the fastest to get back to where the food was laid out. The centerpiece of the meal was a huge pot of homemade Maryland crab soup. I can close my eyes and taste the tomato and Old Bay on my tongue. Indeed, Mrs. Chuckler’s crab soup spoiled me for anybody else’s.

bbottle of Old Bay seasoning

The not-so-secret ingredient in Maryland Crab Soup! (photo by Beeblebrox, CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

As dusk settled around us, we’d pile into cars and drive a few miles to a huge field where the local volunteer fire company put on a fireworks display that is the best I’ve ever seen, bar none! The finale was always a picture in the sky, made up of fireworks. One year it was an American flag. Another it was the face of George Washington. I kid you not! I have no clue how they could be so precise with the fireworks to make that happen.

I think that our favorite holidays are influenced by our memories of those times in the past. Christmas has many fine memories attached to it as well, but it hasn’t been the same since my mother passed away. But those memories of July 4th remain unsullied. Thus the rising of that day in the ranks of my favorite holidays.

This year, we’ll be on our annual trek to Maryland/Pennsylvania to visit family and friends. Our home base is in Rock Hall, Maryland, which has the second best fireworks ever. The house we’re renting is just a few blocks from the harbor, and my brother is staying with us the first week of July.

So we’ll stroll down to the harbor early, with our picnic dinner and a bottle of wine, and nab a prime spot by the water. After a leisurely picnic, we’ll people-watch until time for the fireworks. And although we won’t be having Maryland crab soup for dinner, the evening will still be spiced with those memories from childhood of good times spent with family and friends celebrating the birth of our country.

(photo by Ian Kluft, CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

(photo by Ian Kluft, CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

How about you? What’s your favorite holiday? Does it have pleasant memories attached to it?

(Note: our blog will be on summer hiatus for the month of July. See you in August!)

Oh, and don’t forget to grab a copy of Vinnie Hansen’s updated edition of One Tough Cookie, the second in her Carol Sabala series and newly re-released under the misterio press imprint.

One Tough Cookie, A Carol Sabala Mystery

OneToughCookieCarol Sabala’s boss sends the baker and amateur sleuth on a mission: find out who tampered with a teacher’s cookie dough and sickened the faculty. While Carol hones her investigative skills by gathering clues on the campus, a student is found dead on the high school’s stage. Did she fall? Commit suicide? Or did a killer hurl her from the catwalk?

When Carol seeks answers, a ruthless stalker comes after her!

Now Available on AMAZON and SMASHWORDS


Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week, usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not lend, sell nor otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses. 🙂 )


Animated-Flag-Maryland pub domain wikiI’m launching book 5 in my mystery series this Thursday, and to celebrate I’m doing a Tour of 5’s. I’ll be posting here and around the blogosphere this month, talking about 5 of something. Here are some of my upcoming topics: 5 Things My Mother Used to Say (That I Didn’t Get At the Time), 5 Motives For Murder and 5 Reasons I Fell in Love With Writing Fiction at 57 (this Sat. at Debra Eve’s Later Bloomer).

Today I’m honoring my home state of Maryland (where my books are set). I love Florida –the palm trees, sunshine, sandy beaches and mild winters–but there are certain things we don’t have down here.

Five Things I Miss About Maryland

1.  Crabcakes!  Whenever we go back to Maryland to visit I order crabcakes everywhere we go. There is absolutely nothing as tasty as a Maryland crabcake. And don’t let those Maryland-style cakes you see advertised elsewhere fool you. They are usually not true Maryland crabcakes.

The secret’s in the Old Bay, hon!

bbottle of Old Bay seasoning

(photo by Beeblebrox, CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

2.  Lilacs and dogwood trees!  Florida is lush with flora. We’re in the sub-tropics after all. There’s something blooming in my backyard year round!

But in the springtime, when my Maryland friends post pics on Facebook of their lilac bushes blooming… Oh how I miss the heavenly scent of lilacs!

purple lilacs

(photo-public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

My all-time favorite tree is the dogwood. I used to have one in every color in my front yard (white, pink and red). Theoretically one should be able to grow them down here, but… I’ve planted three of them at various times. One is still alive, sort of, but it’s never bloomed and I doubt it ever will.

(Oops, just went out to take a picture of my sad dogwood tree and it’s deader than a doornail. I’m now three for three.)

3.  Indian summer!  Maybe not the most politically correct terminology these days, but that’s what we called it when I was a kid. Somewhere around the first or second week of September the humidity breaks and the days cool off a bit. Then there will be two to three weeks of gorgeous mid-70’s, low humidity days.

Those weeks always felt like a special gift from Mother Nature, sandwiched between the oppressive heat of August and the crisp chill of October.

4.  Brilliant fall colors!  Yes, we have deciduous trees here in north-central Florida and their leaves change and then drop off. But they change to a rather jaundiced pale yellow at best. And a lot of the trees go right from green to brown, without even bothering with the jaundiced stage. Every once in awhile, you’ll see a touch of red or orange, but just a touch. Nothing like up north!

trees and fallen leaves in red and orange

(photo by liz west, CC-BY-2.0, Wikimedia Common)

5.  Diversity!  Maryland is nicknamed Little America. Despite its relatively small size, it has some of every region of the country represented within its borders. Western Maryland is hill country, with the Allegheny Mountains, and one of the nicest sections of the Appalachian trail (according to a hiker friend of mine).

The Baltimore-Washington corridor in the center of the state has everything a modern urbanite could want–bright lights, theaters, symphonies, fine restaurants, congested traffic and crime.

In Southern Maryland there’s still a lot of farmland and it has quite a southern flavor. It’s not quite warm enough for long enough to grow cotton, but tobacco used to be a major crop. And the Eastern Shore is sprinkled with waterfront towns where tourists and boaters rub elbows with people who make their living off the Bay–fishing, crabbing and harvesting oysters.

I do love living in Florida, but I sometimes miss good old Maryland, My Maryland!!

(Speaking of diversity, the state song was written by a Confederate supporter during the Civil War. He was trying to get his fellow Marylanders to join the South. Listen to the rather gory lyrics. It’s one of the more controversial state songs in the country.)

book cover


(Psst, even though the book isn’t officially launched yet, it is live on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and it’s on sale for just $1.99 thru June 12th! Shhh, don’t tell anybody, but go ahead and grab yourself a copy.)


Do you live somewhere other than where you grew up? What do you miss most about your home state?

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once or twice a week, sometimes about serious topics and sometimes just for fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)