Chances are your mom used Beau Monde in her kitchen. The product, sold exclusively by Spice Islands seasoning company, has been around since about 1941, when the company opened. Beau Monde is still available today online and in grocery stores, but if you can't find it, you can substitute a handful of other spices instead.
They're Basic Seasonings
Beau Monde seasoning contains only a few ingredients -- salt, celery and onion. Although some recipes call for the addition of cinnamon, bay leaf, nutmeg and garlic, the real thing contains only those three ingredients. If you'd like to make Beau Monde seasoning at home, you can combine those three ingredients together, or simply sprinkle them separately over food.
Although the original recipe for Beau Monde remains a secret, you can come up with a reasonably good substitute in your kitchen. Experiment with ratios until you find the one that you like best. Start with a ratio of two parts salt to one part dried, ground celery and one part dried, ground onion. If you can't find dried onion or celery, combine onion and celery salts, but omit additional salt.
Alternatives to Beau Monde
Beau Monde has a slightly sweet, slightly savory taste, but you can try other herbs with similar characteristics. Beau Monde is often used to season vegetable and chip dips. Try substituting dill and garlic instead. To flavor chicken and fish, try dill, lemon pepper, thyme, rosemary or Herbes de Provence. Use a more robust seasoning to flavor red meat, such as a combination of garlic, onion powder, salt, black pepper, chipotle chili powder and thyme.
Using Your Seasoning Mix
Regardless of the types of seasonings you choose to replace Beau Monde seasoning, store them in a dark, dry location and use them within one year for best flavor. Dried herbs and seasonings are potent. Add them in small amounts, and wait a few minutes before adding more. A pinch or two is usually all you'll need. Fresh herbs have a milder, but fresher, flavor. Use 1/4 to 1/2 cup of fresh herbs, depending on the dish, and cut and add the herbs at the last minute to preserve their fresh taste and bright color.
Julie Christensen is a food writer, caterer, and mom-chef. She's the creator of MarmaladeMom.org, dedicated to family fun and delicious food, and released a book titled "More Than Pot Roast: Fast, Fresh Slow Cooker Recipes."