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If I go to Baltimore, MD what kind of foods are the known for other than crabs and crab cakes? Thanks.

I am a director at a food service company and I enjoy teaching children and clients about U.S. cities and the foods that they are known for. Any information would be gladly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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    1. re: Dennis S

      which, of course, is neither trout nor from a lake. Discuss!

      It's most commonly whiting.

      1. re: Bob W

        More commonly called whiting, but it is actually a hake. Funny stuff.

        1. re: jfish

          Which my native Baltimorean wife Mrs. W always knew as steakfish. But I see you already knew about that too. LOL

          1. re: jfish

            I'm pretty sure whiting (lake trout) is different from hake (steakfish).

            1. re: bmorecupcake

              Fish have many local names. It gets confusing. In Baltimore white hake is sold as steakfish and silver hake is sold as lake trout or whiting. Whiting is actually a fish in the croaker family known in Ocean City as kingfish. In North Caolina king makeral are sometimes called kingfish.
              From: http://uniqueculinaryadventures.blogs...
              Whiting? Lake Trout? Oyster Trout? Ling? Forget it! The two species pictured above, which were photographed at Faidley's in the Lex, are none of these. The "whiting---lake trout" are actually silver hake. The "oyster trout---ling" are another kind of hake. How did it get to be like this?

              First of all, it's a Baltimore thing. "Lake trout" is sold either in markets as shown at top left or deep fried between two slices of white bread with hot sauce at soul food carry-outs all over town. Takers generally assume they're getting freshwater trout. Question any fishmonger, however, and he'll quickly"confide" "lake trout" is actually a saltwater species. However, when he goes on to say it's "whiting," he's off the mark.

              Lex Cafe
              111 Massachusetts Ave NW Ste Bsmt, Washington, DC 20001

              1. re: jfish

                Thanks for the explanation. I should know better than to dispute someone with the word "fish" in their username.

                1. re: jfish

                  I'm going to have to disagree with you re the photo identifications:

                  Whiting on the left, red hake on the right.

                  1. re: tbw

                    I think white hake is more scienticically correct, but maybe we are both right.
                    "Silver hake, also known as whiting, Merluccius bilinearis, range primarily from Newfoundland to South Carolina."

                    1. re: jfish

                      We surf cast for whiting on the southeast coast of Florida, especially in the winter months. Kingfish refer to king mackerel. Never heard of anyone refer to whiting as kingfish. Just another "unique" aspect of Baltimore culture, I guess.

          2. re: Dennis S

            The name is quirky, just like Baltimore. So that's uniquely cool. But I don't see what all the hoopla is about.It's basically just a fried fish sandwich.

            1. re: tobynissly

              but it's not JUST a fried fish sandwich! picking out the bones is the best part!

          3. Here's a newspaper article about pit beef sandwiches, a specialty of Baltimore; it also mentions some other foods Baltimore is known for:


                1. re: linguafood

                  You mean Rapa Scrapple, yes?

                  Which by the way, has it's own web site (but unfortunately no T-shirts or keychains for sale):


                  1. re: Geeyore

                    Indeedio. This is what our chowhound-challenged friend in Bawlmer has in her fridge at all times. And white bread and hard-boiled eggs -- a diet she could live on forever, it seems. Yawn.

                    1. re: linguafood

                      For the adventurous side, I don't think Scrapple can be categorized as Chowhound-challenged. Everything else, yes. But hey, glad someone's eating that stuff!

                      1. re: Dennis S

                        There's a butcher somewhere in lower Delaware (I forget the town, but it's not Bridgeville, home of Rapa Scrapple & the Bridgeville Diner) that has scrapple that's so good, so homemade, so fresh that I, not a scrapple enthusiast, decided that it would be called "artisan scrapple." BTW, that butcher also has a crab bratwurst. An amazing pork brat laced with crab and Old Bay seasonings. Pretty amazing stuff.

                        1. re: baltoellen

                          Roma makes a great "Chesapeake" sausage, awesome on the grill, just a hint of old bay in it.

                          1. re: hon

                            just pork no crab but very good. I am not a scrapple person but am intrigued by the "artisian scrapple".

                            1. re: hon

                              Yeah, I know, it's a bit like "artisan spam" or something! :-)

                            2. re: hon

                              I've had the Roma. Frankly, not even close to being in the same league as the Southern DE stuff. I'll have to bring back enough next trip so you can try it, hon. And, maybe we can have a scrapple taste-off, too.

                              1. re: baltoellen

                                My Mother gets scrapple from the Amish Market in Timonium, she says its' great. A contender for the scrapple taste-off perhaps.

                                1. re: hon

                                  I am sure since they are coming from New Orleans they have had scrapple before

                                  1. re: agarnett100

                                    I don't know anything about scrapple but I did notice that the Truckpatch farms guys had some in their cooler at the JFX farmers market this weekend. This coming sunday is the last day of the year so if you want to get some from a place that practices the very best farming philosophy (as far as I know) with pastured animals etc etc... check them out.

                                    1. re: kukubura

                                      The Truck Patch scrapple is very good. Actually, I've been buying a lot of meat from them, and it's all been very good.

                                      Except chickens. I still get those from Hen's Nest when I can.

                                2. re: baltoellen

                                  Baltoellen, we are in Kent County DE and would love to know the name of this butcher. That sausage sounds amazing, and would love to try their scrapple. Please post the name when you get it. We'll find it, just need a name!! Thanks

                                  1. re: Nanzi

                                    Nanzi, I'm not sure of the name, but the butcher shop is on the north side of town in Dagsboro (113 south to state road 20). It's an achingly cute, country-looking place, with a big sign that says Aunt Marie's scrapple sold here. I've attached a photo. Sorry not to have the name, but I imagine you can find it. Please report back if you get there!

                    2. Pit Beef, snowballs, Berger cookies (shortbread cookies covered in fudge).

                      1. I'm going to say "Salty Dogs" but only because I haven't seen them in any other city, yet. If these are common to other areas, please let me know.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: bmorecupcake

                          The cocktail? It's interesting that a bartender in MO, that was from Baltimore, introduced the Salty Dog to a bar/restaurant I used to work at. She also introduced Bay Seasoning in general, and adding it to Bloody Mary's specifically.

                          1. re: Dennis S

                            Actually, it's a baked treat. Small yellow cake square covered in buttercream-type icing and salted peanuts. Very sweet, salty, and heavy. You can find it in some bakeries around town. I can't seem to find it on Google. Maybe it's known by another name elsewhere.

                          1. Everyone thank you very much, all of this information will come in very handy!!! If anyone else has ideas please let me know. Thanks.

                              1. Polish sausage (yes, even Polack Johnny's), sauerkraut at Thanksgiving, handmade candies (Rheb's), Almond Smash soda and marshmallow donuts are all pure Bawlmer.

                                1. Many other crab dishes including Maryland crab soup, crab imperial, and crab fluff.

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: Bob W

                                    Stuffed ham. French fries with gravy. She-crab soup. Baltimore lemon twist (half a lemon with a peppermint stick; you suck the lemon juice through the peppermint stick).

                                    1. re: flavrmeistr

                                      Great call on the lemon stick thing. Mrs. W -- native Baltimorean -- loves them.

                                      Stuffed ham might be more of a southern Maryland/Chesapeake Bay islands thing, but close enough. 8<D

                                      1. re: flavrmeistr

                                        she-crab soup isn't a Baltimore thing

                                        1. re: hon

                                          Crab chowder-whatever you want to call it. Baltimore is the only place I've had it with Old Bay as a predominant flavor. The closest thing I've had elsewhere is Bahamian conch chowder.

                                          1. re: flavrmeistr

                                            Bahamian Conch Chowder is tomato based where as She-crab Soup and Creme of Crab Soup are creme based.

                                            1. re: hon

                                              No. I'm talking about tomato-based crab soup like at Gunnings, J Stevens, Bo Brooks, for instance. Tastes like Old Bay-you know? She-crab soup in the Carolinas and Florida are also tomato-based and peppery. Not talking about cream of crab or bisque.

                                              1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                She-crab soup is a creme or milk based soup:



                                                You are talking about "Maryland Crab Soup" or red crab soup which is tomato based.

                                                1. re: hon

                                                  Not in Florida, hon. It's red. I just assumed it was up here, too. My mistake.

                                                  1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                    if it's red, it ain't she-crab soup, they might have called it that.

                                        2. re: flavrmeistr

                                          She-crab soup is a Carolina Low Country name, not generally seen in Baltimore. Cream of crab soup is the Baltimore more-or-less equivalent.

                                          1. re: flavrmeistr

                                            I grew up in Towzun in the 60's and had completely forgotten about the peppermint and lemon, thanks for the reminder.

                                            1. re: flavrmeistr

                                              Do you happen to have any recommendations for restaurantrs that serve Southern MD stuffed ham?

                                          2. How could we fail to mention turducken!

                                            2 Replies
                                              1. re: Hal Laurent

                                                It's a Cajun thing with roots in medieval France. Sort of like Cajuns.

                                            1. crab soup, softshell crab sandwich, Berger cookies, Serving sauerkraut with thanksgiving meal, National Bohemian Beer (not even sure if still around and not made in baltimore any longer), coddies, pollack johnnies polish sausage, pit beef sandwich, snow balls

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: dining with doc

                                                Custard snowballs (I thought everybody had those!), Esskay hot dogs, Tastycake peach pies (I know, Philly), Polish sausage.

                                                I know we're not supposed to mention crabs, but I recall $20 bushels in July, and my dad buying the requisite case of National Bo from Art Donovan (Colts lineman) at his liquor store off York Rd. in Towson. He called my Dad "Blondie" and always gave us kids lollipops (Dad would bring us along when he was buying beer, just to say hello to Art).

                                              2. Fried bologna on a kosher hot dog

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: jfish

                                                  forgot about that one and will add french fries with brown gravy
                                                  Hi Jon! when are we doing a gourmet evening out?

                                                2. Another vote for french fries & gravy

                                                  1. Baltimore has a Corned Beef Row. Well, sort of. Not quite what it used to be. But it never was.

                                                    1. Lady and Lord Baltimore cakes.

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: hon

                                                        Despite the names these two are not "Baltimore" cakes. The Lady Baltimore cake was an invention of a Charleston tea room. I don't ever remember these two cakes featuring prominently in Baltimore or Maryland.

                                                        1. re: Roland Parker

                                                          Yes, the Lady Baltimore cake wasn't invented here but people made them here and they are still requested. My Grandmother talked about them.


                                                          1. re: hon

                                                            I dunno, there are lots of things that are made here. I grew up eating my mom's awesome deep dish pizza, but I think if I tried to claim it was a Baltimore thing the people from Chicago might have something to say about it. The further astray lists like this get from accuracy, the less usefulness they have. The Lord/Lady Baltimore cake mistake is made a lot, even on these boards, so I think RolandParker was right to point out its actual origins.

                                                            1. re: charmedgirl

                                                              It's a shame that Baltimore can't claim the Lady Baltimore as its own because it is truly a wonderful cake when properly made, but the reality is that it's no more unique to Baltimore or commonly found in Baltimore as in any other city.

                                                              The original poster was asking for foods that have connotations to Baltimore so strong that they are widely recognized elsewhere as being a Baltimore/Maryland speciality. Of all the foodstuff mentioned on this thread I would have to say that only steamed crab with old bay seasoning, crabcakes and Maryland crab soup are the only ones that can pass this test. Other places have their fried trout, every city has its version of Polish sausages (despite the popularity of Polack Johnny's among some of the frequenters of this board I'd venter that 95% of the metro region has probably never heard of the food stall), scrapple and sauerkraut are more closely associated with Pennsylvania due to its origin among the PA Dutch, while other food staples mentioned above are really unique to certain neighborhoods or ethnic groups within the Baltimore area rather than a city-wide culinary staple.

                                                                1. re: dining with doc

                                                                  What about them? Mediocre chocolate overpowering a stale cookie base? No one outside Baltimore knows of them and even within the region people may talk of them but few buy them on a regular basis.

                                                                  1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                    Whoa. I know quite a few people outside of Bawlmer who are addicted to them. I try to stay as far away from them as possible. And frankly, they are WAY too sweet. But I've seen people (non-Bawlmorians) snarf 'em up within seconds.

                                                          1. re: hon

                                                            Oh yeah--thanks for the reminder "hon." BTW--inform me, please. Isn't this the season for shad and shad roe? And, where can I go to dine on that delectable?

                                                            I had it once at the Williamsburg Inn on Pulaski Highway--it was delicious. The second time I had it at the Polo Grill. Seems as though it hasn't been on my eating radar of late. I need to reacquaint myself with some of the more unique, scrumptious food offerings--i.e., foie gras, steamed crabs, sweetbreads and cockscombs.

                                                            Has anyone ever dined on cockscombs? Several years ago in Los Angeles I had the opportunity to experience this particularly fantastic delicacy.

                                                            I doubt that my next mention is truly unique to Baltimore, but I love "sweet potato candy." Have never seen it anywhere else when I've traveled. Ironically, the item doesn't contain any actual sweet potato, but it is a nice, sweet treat. FoiGras

                                                            Williamsburg Inn
                                                            11131 Pulaski Hwy, White Marsh, MD 21162

                                                            1. re: FoiGras

                                                              I'm not totally sure, but I think you might have missed the shad and shad roe season.

                                                              If not, the Peppermill in Lutherville (aka "God's waiting room") is a good place to get them.

                                                              Peppermill Restaurant
                                                              1301 York Rd Ste G5, Lutherville Timonium, MD 21093

                                                              1. re: FoiGras

                                                                not sure about there but here in the hudson valley, shad season is early may

                                                            2. I happen to be in Baltimore this weekend and came across this thread while hounding around. Is there a market or even neighborhood that has a good cross-section of these local specialties? A place where some of the best pit beef, crab cake, sausage, peachcake, snowballs, etc, etc can be experienced all at once?

                                                              Perhaps a place like Cross St Market is the place, but what do the locals think?!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: billyeats

                                                                If you're still here on Sunday morning, run, do not walk, to the opening of 2010's Under the JFX farmers' market. It's about the best cross-section of Baltimore food that you can find in one place, and it's a great market and great time. The market opens at 7am this year, and people usually start packing up around noon. (There's also a pretty recent thread on the opening of this year's market, and a very long one from last year. Search "JFX farmers market.")

                                                              2. How about Maryland Fried Chicken?

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: Dennis S

                                                                  What do you consider "Maryland fried chicken.?"

                                                                  My Mom was a Baltimore gal, and made the best darned fried chicken. But.......she didn't soak it in buttermilk and dredge in cornmeal and/or baking flour (whatever the Southern cooks seem to prefer).

                                                                  So, I am delighted to see someone who loves fried chicken. But am also curious as to what constitutes "Baltimore's version."

                                                                  I enjoy the fried chicken at Gertrude's at the BMA on Sunday's.. All you can eat fried chicken, I haven't had the pleasure of dining there for quite some time, but recall that the chicken was very good. Also, the fennel slaw--to die for. FoiGras

                                                                  1. re: FoiGras

                                                                    I've heard of it enough times to know people refer to it. The only place I've had it by that name on the menu (AFAIK) is Snyder's Willow Grove. IIRC, they said that the breading comes from cereal.

                                                                    IMO, there's that certain style sold in Lexington Market. Not the same as Snyder's, though.

                                                                    I actually have wondered if the term is one that is appropriated by multiple regions for roughly the same thing. Virginia cured ham has a certain name to it, but where I come from (Missouri) Boone County Ham carries a similar weight, though there's Burger's Ham in California, MO, which again is pretty much the same thing. I've yet to have a VA ham that came close to a Boone County Ham, but again, I like the Big 12, not the ACC :)

                                                                    Lexington Market
                                                                    400 W Lexington St, Baltimore, MD 21201

                                                                    Snyder's Willow Grove
                                                                    841 N Hammonds Ferry Rd, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090

                                                                    1. re: Dennis S

                                                                      Maryland Fried Chicken is nothing different then how its done in certain parts of the south. The key is using a cast -iron skillet

                                                                2. I know this is a tardy reply by about 6 months, but I believe that sauerbrauten (sour beef and dumplings) seems to be more exclusive in the Baltimore area then in any of the major metropolitan cities I've traveled to in this country. (Can't speak for overseas).

                                                                  Of the 90 or more cities I've had the benefit of dining in, I've never seen sour beef and dumplings as an offering. Logically, I know it isn't truly a "Baltimore" exclusive dish, but am just offering my observation.

                                                                  And, rarely do I find shrimp salad (a 'la Baltimore's Kibby's etc., shrimp, mayo, Old Bay seasoning, onion, celery) in other cities where I dined.

                                                                  Just an after thought. FoiGras

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: FoiGras

                                                                    I have run into sour beef and dumplings in Columbus, Ohio's German section. I still think of it primarily as a Baltimore food since I never had it growing up around D.C. In the 'burbs, I've only found it at G&M, Dimitri's, and occasionally Timbuktu.

                                                                    Berger's cookies are common in food stores locally now, but I haven't seen them outside of Maryland.

                                                                    Coddies I can only find at Mars food stores. I like them for the salty potato with a hint of fish taste. Actually, I think I remember Faidleys having them as well, though they weren't as salty.

                                                                    1. re: dzoey

                                                                      My experience with coddies is limited, but I love them at Faidley's. I have to get them every time I go there, even if it means forgoing the crab cake.

                                                                      1. re: dzoey

                                                                        Occasionally you can also find sour beef and dumplings at the Lansdowne Inn on the Baltimore County side of Hammonds Ferry (G&M is on the Anne Arundel County side). As for coddies, I have never, ever been a fan.

                                                                        Lansdowne Inn
                                                                        2710 Hammonds Ferry Rd, Halethorpe, MD 21227

                                                                    2. Don't forget the ethnic food element. There is a small Greektown out Eastern Avenue where we used to buy wonderful Greek bread and pastries (baklava, kataifi).---when we lived thereabout.
                                                                      Also, some (probably Geman in origin) food things have percolated downward from Pennsylvania to Maryland. One is a dish called Slippery Pot Pie, which isn't a pie at all but a big pot of cut-up chicken and lotsof chicken gravy with big square noodles in it. Another is the custom of dribbling apple butter over your cottage cheese, both served very cold. You might also tell the kids about Baltimore's municipal food markets---google Lexington Market Baltimore for a starting place. Tell them that oysters from Chesapeake Bay used to be plentiful and now are nearly extinct, and let them figure out why. Show them a picture of a skipjack.

                                                                      Lexington Market
                                                                      400 W Lexington St, Baltimore, MD 21201

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Querencia

                                                                        Is there a restaurant that serves Slippery Pot Pie? That sounds fantastic.

                                                                        1. re: JonParker

                                                                          I've heard of it called "Chicken and Slipperies", I think it's an Eastern Shore thing.

                                                                          1. re: hon

                                                                            This is totally a Shore thing, hon. But down there we just call them "Chicken and Dumplings." Up here in Baltimore the dumplings are "puffy." Either way, both versions are awesome comfort food.

                                                                        2. re: Querencia

                                                                          Apple butter and cottage cheese are among the accompaniments served with dinner at Friendly Farm in Upperco MD, north of Baltimore. Tip: Order the crabcakes, or maybe the fried oysters. Avoid the roast beef and steak.

                                                                          Friendly Farm
                                                                          17434 Foreston Rd, Upperco, MD 21155

                                                                        3. Baltimore has probably one of Americas best bars, Brewers Art. Not to be missed if you are into beer, burgers and fries.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: bboyneko

                                                                            One of the best bars in Baltimore yes. America thats pushing it

                                                                            1. I grew up in Baltimore but don't live there anymore. Finding this discussion made me feel warm and fuzzy. Remembering Rapa Scrapple, Esskay hot dogs, sour beef and dumplings, (3 of my Dad's favorite foods in the world - he lived in Baltimore all of his life), was like a little home-coming experience. I also remember the lemon-halves with the softer pepermint sticks from when I was a kid. I still have a hard time finding snow-balls anywhere else, (spearmint with marshmallow are the best). Pit beef and french fries with gravy - yum. One thing I didn't like was - and I am probably not spelling this right, was braunswagger - yuck! My dad loved it.
                                                                              A yummy food recently discovered in Baltimore (Middle River area) in a little bar that has karaoke- sorry, but the name escapes me, is a crab pretzle. It's a big freshly made soft pretzle, covered in crab cake, or imperial crab, with cheese melted all over the top. One will feed two. YUMMY! Also, a lot of people from Baltimore seem to move back and forth, to and from West Virginia, so though it's not sold in restauraunts, a lot of people eat venison, and like to make and brag about their own "deer jerky". By the way, it's Maryland crab soup - red based. Thanks for the memories!

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: L.A.A.

                                                                                Almost forgot - fried balogna sandwiches are good. So are fried spaghetti sandwiches. In Baltimore, everyone I knew mixed their sauce and noodles together before serving. The next day, you would fry up some leftover cold spaghetti and have it on white bread with butter - sometimes for breakfast. Good stuff!

                                                                                1. re: L.A.A.

                                                                                  Yea Baby--fried spaghetti. My Daddy used to fry leftover mashed potatoes or baked sweet potatoes in butter (or most likely, margarine---he worked for Mrs. Filbert's Mayonnaisse and Margarine)>

                                                                                  After a turkey dinner, we ate turkey sandwiches with leftover stuffing, mayo and cranberry sauce. Oh my==what a delight. I just don't know if it is a Baltimore tradition or not.

                                                                                  And, what about the "rainbow cake" offered (if I believe correctly it was supplied by Silber's Bakers and/or Muhly's Bakery)> I bought some recently at a local Giant grocery store. I believe that "Gourmet Again" has the cake for purchase. I've never seen it anywhere in my travels.

                                                                                  Oh, lest we forget, Utz (or Mrs. Ihries chips)--crab flavored potato chips. I seriously doubt that they can be found outside of the area. If so, they are perceived as a peculiar item.

                                                                                  L.A.A.--you tickled my brain to recover some items I'd long forgotten.

                                                                                  Oh another thought, huge sweet or sour pickled onions picked out of a barrel. Or, pimento soft flavored cream cheese.

                                                                                  One more thing--sweet potato candy. Oh my--it doesn't have any sweet potato in the ingredients, but certainly a delectable treat. FoiGras

                                                                                  1. re: FoiGras

                                                                                    Before we used to take UTZ crab chips for friends in NYC, but now those are available there. So those don't seem exclusive to our area anymore.

                                                                                    1. re: FoiGras

                                                                                      This ismaking so much sense to me now. My maternal grandmother grew up in Notheast, MD and some of the foods my mother gave us as younger children are these same dishes (I grew up in Montgomery Co.,MD).

                                                                                      My friends often thought we ate odd things, like fried baloney, scrapple, cream cheese and pimento olive sandwiches, and our turkey sandwiches have always been just as you described! Her fried chicken was always in a Dutch oven with only about 3/4" of crisco rather than being deep fried. We had whole stuffed shad once a year as a treat that she stuffed with fresh bread cubes, briefly sautéed onions, celery and mushrooms, tossed with crab meat and baked. She would also treat herself to a set of shad roe for dinner when my father (who wouldn't eat it) was out of town.

                                                                                      To the person who inquired about stuffed ham - it most definitely a Southern MD thing and mostly made by small markets during the holidays. Finding it at a restaurant is not likely but it can be found for mail order at certain times of the year. This is so worth seeking out at least once. I've sworn to do it myself from scratch at least once!

                                                                                      1. re: Terrie H.

                                                                                        Growing up in VT, we ate fried baloney sandwiches (still like them) and there was the occasional cream cheese/pimento combo. And yes, the post Thanksgiving turkey combo sandwich was a standby, certainly not exclusive to Baltimore.

                                                                                2. What about the old favorite of grape jelly meatballs? I am definitely not an enthusiast, but I have never seen them anywhere else.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: daddycrack

                                                                                    I was introduced to those growing up in southern Ohio.

                                                                                    1. re: daddycrack

                                                                                      I first had grape jelly meatballs when I was probably between 27 and 30, in Woodbridge, VA - they were good.

                                                                                    2. Goetze's caramel creams!

                                                                                        1. Hey Chowhounds--correct me if I am wrong- but the Old Otterbein bakes delicious sugar cookies and ginger cookies--only available at Baltimore regional stores, i.e,. Giant, etc. The sugar cookies are very thin and crisp, just like my German decent grandmother used to make at Christmas time and then shaped them into holiday "ornaments" and decorated them with colored sugar.

                                                                                          Don't know if any of you are aware of these delicious local treats. FoiGras

                                                                                          1. And, after you've sampled all of these suggestions, comes the true Ballmer delicacy:


                                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: brandywiner

                                                                                              I do not know if anyone has mentioned it and you may not see this on a restaurant menu, but it is customary in Baltimore to eat sauerkraut with turkey. Many of us can recount an experience when we have good naturedly volunteered to make the sauerkraut to go with turkey among a group of non Baltimore natives and be greeted with the response, " you'll bring the what???"

                                                                                              My sister in law had the experience in San Fransisco after fleeing there during hippy days and I had the same years ago in an apartment in Baltimore with friends, but I was fortunately backed up by two or three friends who grew up in Baltimore who agreed "yes we eat sauerkraut with turkey".

                                                                                              For a Baltimorean it is taken for granted that you eat sauerkraut with turkey and guess what, the custom likely originated here- since my German Mother in law is not familiar with a similar pairing of kraut and turkey in Germany.

                                                                                              Oh and by the way, while you might find "vititus" (sp?) at Lithuanian Hall on Hollins Street, you will not find it in Lithuania. The recipe apparently originated in homes here in Baltimore and Lithuanians know nothing of the drink in Lithuania.

                                                                                              I am sure this will make many Baltimore geezers smile. (You don't have to admit it.)

                                                                                              1. re: baltimorejim

                                                                                                Turkeys are new-world birds. I don't believe there are any traditional European recipes for turkey.

                                                                                                1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                  Good point. When will the rest of the country come up to speed :)

                                                                                                  "Traditions" in many cases are only a few generations deep. I recall oyster stew at my Grandmother's on Christmas Eve but as far as I know she probably invented that one herself.

                                                                                                  I am curious how many generations deep the sauerkraut one is. It seems to be a fairly entrenched one here since I will freely admit to eating sauerkraut with turkey but I don't usually also say that it is customary to have oyster stew on Christmas eve. Does anyone have a theory why this is popular in Baltimore? Many people cite the many German immigrants here, but recent German immigrants don't cite back home cooking as a precedent.

                                                                                                  I am quite interested in the things that make the place we live different from Everywhereelseville.

                                                                                                  1. re: baltimorejim

                                                                                                    I heard Pennsylvania Dutch, but I'm not convinced.

                                                                                                    1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                                      Might be a Lithuanian thing. I live in Frederick, which has been a predominantly German community for the past 250 years. They have fastnacht on the menu in local diners, but I've never heard any mention of turkey and sauerkraut. Mostly, it appears to be a Baltimore thing.

                                                                                                      1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                        That is interesting that the custom is localized to the Baltimore area and did not make it to Frederick.

                                                                                                        1. re: baltimorejim

                                                                                                          Frankly, I'm horrified that there are people in the world not eating sauerkraut with their turkeys. Just imagine the tasteless Thanksgiving sandwiches the next day! I suppose they muddle through somehow, poor souls.

                                                                                                    2. re: baltimorejim

                                                                                                      This is a late response to your question about the tradition of oyster stew on Christmas Eve, but here goes. According to Catholic tradition, Christmas Eve is a fast day. Many countries have traditions of serving fish for Christmas Eve supper--and if you are ever in Italy on Christmas, be prepared for a meal of 12 fishes, which I find difficult to classify as a fast. At any rate, perhaps your grandmother's oyster stew grew from that tradition.

                                                                                                      In my home, dinner on Christmas Eve was just something simple that could be prepared in advance because my grandmother and mother would have spent the entire day working on the meal for Christmas Day. We usually had a tamale pie, which I think my mother must have picked up during the years we lived in LA.

                                                                                                    3. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                      Little known fast fact -- European explorers took Wild Turkeys to Europe from Mexico in the early 1500s. They were so successfully domesticated in Europe that English colonists brought them back with them when they settled on the Atlantic Coast. The domestic form has retained the white tail tip of the original Mexican subspecies, and that character can be used to distinguish wandering barnyard birds from wild turkeys which have chestnut-brown tail tips.

                                                                                                      Turkey has a long history in both England and Germany. In Dicken's "Christmas Carol", Scrooge, upon waking after the third ghost visits, summons a lad to get the "big turkey, not the little one" hanging at the local butcher's.

                                                                                                    4. re: baltimorejim

                                                                                                      That's another thing my mother does - a can of sauerkraut must be warmed up, no enhancement ever, for the Thanksgiving meal. I thought it was one of the worst foods ever until I had it done properly.

                                                                                                      1. re: Terrie H.

                                                                                                        You are absolutely correct. My mother who was quite a creative cook of many wonderfull creations was a mediocre sauerkraut preparer. The emphasis was on the adjective sour. My mother in law who is german knew how to prepare suerkraut well.

                                                                                                        I am afraid that many turkey dinners here in Baltimore are prepared with a perfunctory nod to the tradition.

                                                                                                  2. To answer an earlier query, turkey with sauerkraut on Thanksgiving goes back at least 5 generations in my Baltimore family. Our sauerkraut is exceptional, and involves a quick rinse to mitigate the sour-ness, and cooking with a little pork, fresh apple, onion, and a bit of brown sugar. Mellow! But we never put the sauerkraut on the leftover sandwiches, in favor of the stuffing/cranberries/mayo mentioned earlier.

                                                                                                    1. i know that plenty of other cities have a variation of this but, rocket to venus in hampden (northern end of the city, right off the jfx for those who don't know) has an amazing version of chicken and waffles. its a waffle with a little syrup...completely drowning in pulled chicken and gravy. it's insanely good if you stop in for sunday brunch.