If you’ve lived here long, you’ve heard the debate — folks from New York insist that Maryland’s a Southern city, while anyone who lives below Virginia rolls their eyes and calls us Yankees. But in terms of food, Maryland seems staunchly Southern, with an influx of influences from the many immigrant communities that have come to call Baltimore their home.
Which is why we enjoy The Baltimore Snacker‘s two-part take on distinctive Maryland foods — namely, fried chicken and crab cakes, two foods that can inspire strong feelings among cooks and eaters alike. The Snacker quotes an old essay from a Southern cookbook: Any attempt to prescribe the best way to prepare fried chicken is likely to start the Civil War all over again, or it may, at best, lead into a storm of prolonged arguments, widely diverse local and even neighborhood differences, not to say family bickerings.
So what makes the Maryland version of these dishes distinct? Well, according to the Snacker, “the generic “Southern fried chicken” for example – is the shake and bake variety from the Middle South: soak it in buttermilk, put it in a flour mixture in a bag and shake it until coated, then dip it in cream and then flour again, and then fry. Maryland fried chicken stops with the first shaking, but then gets fried in hot oil in a covered pan. It is then served with a cream gravy.” And it’s that gravy that makes it a true Maryland Fried Chicken (maybe we should start our own fast food chain?).
As for crab cakes, the Snacker kindly includes a recipe handwritten by his grandmother. It doesn’t get more authentic than that! Crucial ingredients include (obviously) Chesapeake crab, Old Bay, and dry mustard.
Read the discussions and look at step-by-step photos of the recipe steps here.