What Is a Stuffed Ham and Why Would It Be the State Meat of Maryland?!

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image via Slate
image via Slate

Check out this list of “the United Steaks of America,” aka the ostensible official meat of every state in the country. Some of them make a lot of sense (Hawaii = Spam); some of them are funny (California = tofu); but Maryland’s just doesn’t make sense to me.

According to Slate writer L.V. Anderson, the state meat of Maryland should be “corned ham” – but, more specifically, a special kind of corned ham that has has a bunch of holes poked into it and then gets stuffed with kale, cabbage, and onions.

That sounds…okay, I guess. I’ve never really been a fan of ham, but apparently it’s an Eastern Shore delicacy. My real question is, why didn’t Anderson pick either pit beef (duh!), lake trout (double duh!), or –ahem– crab cakes (triple duh)!? She writes in her intro that she tried to stick with mammals, but that seems like an arbitrary decision to me–especially since Maryland is one of the few states that actually does have an animal product as its official state food. And it’s the blue crab. As it should be.

Read the full list here.

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  1. It’s actually more of a Southern Maryland delicacy. My dad grew up in St. Mary’s County and my mom, who is from Ohio, had to learn how to make this for every holiday dinner. i didn’t like it growing up but I love it now. It’s really good!

  2. Ms Patterson is correct it is from St .Mary. It became the state food or meat back in the late 60s early 70s when Senate Bernie Fowler took it up to the State fair. It became a favorite of many there and was voted in. According to what I have been told that is the story. As for the flavor it definitely is an acquired taste many new comers have learned to love.

    • I need to correct myself. It was introduced at the Worlds Fair in New York as the state food along with blue crabs. It was taken there by Buck Briscoe ( Mr. St. Mary’s Country) in the 60s.

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