For some, the holidays might look a little different this year. With families split apart across the country and health concerns causing anxiety for those most at risk, it’s understandable for the high spirits of Thanksgiving to be a bit gloomier this November.
But in the eyes of Don Stroud, who owns the Greenville business Stroud Seasonings with his wife, Melissa, the one positive that’s come out of 2020 has been the curious way it has managed to bring some families closer together.
“It’s interesting, because when you have a really horrible situation like this, it can also present an opportunity,” Stroud said. “And what I’ve seen is more people are cooking at home for the first time, or rapidly increasing the amount of cooking they’re doing at home.”
And that, as Stroud sees it, is what the holidays are all about.
“I just started cooking around college age, and the more I got into it as a hobby, the more I fell in love with how it made me feel,” he said. “I just really enjoy providing something to people that can make their day better.”
He graduated from simple taco Tuesdays at home to complex smoking of meats, mixing his own seasonings and experimenting with different blends.
Now that he and his wife run their own company, the focus has remained steady on keeping things natural. That means no anti-caking agents like silicon dioxide, which is found in many commercial seasoning blends. It also meant Stroud had to come up with his own all-natural method for making sure his seasoning didn’t clump up in the bottle, which resulted in his own signature “secret recipe.”
“I always wanted to offer people a chance to cook something for their families that was clean, healthy and would make people happy,” he said.
His seasonings, which are now sold in dozens of locations in the Upstate and online, include a seafood-centric blend called Shore Thing (“My own Charleston shore version of Old Bay,” he said), an all purpose blend called Fail Safe, a BBQ seasoning and a chili spice blend perfect for Mexican-style dishes.
“I know things are crazy right now, with people working from home, kids running around, and then trying to get a meal together,” Stroud said. “If you’re cooking at home, hopefully this’ll be at least one part of your life that’s easy and stress-free.”