A few weeks ago I went on a culinary quest to
find a secret ingredient. I knew what it was--that was the easy part. Buying it proved to be a bit difficult. I've never used Tone's Spicy Spaghetti Seasoning before, in fact, never heard of it until last month when I was cooking dinner for my cousin in Florida.
His daughter, Kim, and I went into the kitchen to see what we could throw together for dinner and we came up with a delicious dinner created from scratch with what we could find in the pantry and the fridge--Kielbasa sausage, cut at an angle, one yellow crookneck squash, sliced and quartered, one onion, chopped, 2 stalks celery, chopped, 2 carrots, sliced into pennies (which I steamed in a bowl with a little water in the microwave to soften before adding to the skillet because carrots take so long to cook), 2 cloves garlic, chopped, salt and pepper to taste, 1 head of broccoli--chopped some of the stems and added them to the saute, then steamed the florets. We boiled some multi-colored rotini noodes al dente and put warmed-up Classico alfredo sauce on top of everything.
I asked for oregano (which I put in everything) and my cousin,
Art, who can't cook to save his soul, sauntered into the kitchen
and offered us this seasoning, saying that he put it in everything.
So we tossed it into the mix and it was really good. (Sorry about
the blurry picture. I'm still learning how to use my new camera.)
Back to the culinary quest: After searching here at home for it in three grocery stores, I sent Art an email asking where he bought it. Turns out it's only available in Sam's Club. Not a problem. We have a bunch of them here in San Antonio. So I called the closest one to see if it was in stock since I was a little tired of running around looking for it. Yes! They had it on their shelf. Only problem was the person who answered the phone said it would cost me $40.00 to get in the door so I could buy it. She said I wouldn't be allowed in the store unless I bought a membership to Sam's Club which is where the $40.00 comes in.
As much as I wanted it, I was NOT going to pay $40.00 just for the privilege of walking in the door. Not being one to be easily deterred from my culinary quest, I did what any foodie would do: I politely asked to talk to the manager. I explained very nicely that I just had to have this seasoning for a recipe and he replied that I was more than welcome to come over and buy it. Apparently, Sam's Club will offer you a one-day guest pass but you have to jump through hoops for it.
After jumping through the aforementioned hoops, I achieved my goal: I bought the seasoning mix and now have a great big jar of it
to use in lots of recipes. While I was there, I also bought a huge jar of Garlic & Herb Seasoning, which actually saved a recipe from being rather tasteless because I didn't have any garlic powder and used this instead. I'm mentioning my culinary quest here because I'll be posting a recipe tomorrow for Baked Chicken Parmesan and these seasonings are the "secret" ingredients.