You Call That a Crab Cake?

Dear States Other Than Maryland,

I live in Maryland. Home of the crab. Crab dip, crab cakes, crab anything—We do it right.

When you order a crab cake in Maryland, this is what you get:

Note that there is more crab than filler.

A dome of chunky crab meat. Mmmmm….

While visiting another state (I won’t point any fingers), I made the mistake of ordering a Maryland crab cake. A mistake that I won’t make ever again.

Because when you order a Maryland crab cake while you’re in another state, you get a freakin’ crabby patty that’s more bread than crab. Seriously? Pathetic….

I should sue you for pain, suffering, disappointment, and other damages. The State of Maryland should sue you for slander or false advertising. Lawyered!

Please take immediate action. On every menu that lists Maryland Crab Cakes, please remove Maryland Crab Cake and replace it with Mediocre Crab Cake or Not-a-Maryland Crab Cake.

Thank you for your prompt attention in this matter.

Very crabby,


PS: If you don’t have Old Bay, don’t even bother serving crab. Did you just say, What’s Old Bay? I can’t even look at you right now I’m so upset.

About thoughtsappear

I eat lots of sugar. It's the only way to keep up with my new baby and to outrun zombies. View all posts by thoughtsappear

51 responses to “You Call That a Crab Cake?

  • inurbase

    Mmmm Old Bay…

  • Angelia Sims

    That is pitiful….I vow, I will only try crab cake in Maryland. The other one looks like a tummy-ache waiting to happen. :-/

  • Rob Rubin

    I love old bay. Goes on my pizza, bloody marys and breakfast cereal.

  • For Better GENiUS

    mmmmmmmmmmmmm crabcakessssssss.

    I can already tell you which restaurants in the state immediately south of MD can make worse crab cakes more than i can point you to ones that make them decent. the biggest disappointing meal i think i’ve ever had was one at a really upscale restaurant one sunday evening about 10 something years ago, this naive teenage of the time was told he could order anything on the menu (cause I must have done something good? or it was a birthday, who knows. or cause i’m awesome, but that probably wasn’t the case) so naturally ordered the crab cake… this was from a restaurant located next to a marina and which specialized in sea food. what i got was a 1ft+ round plate with two tiny tiny crab cake discs in the middle (like your 2nd picture, but smaller) and plate full of rémoulade. thats it. maybe some garnish for the chefs presentation.

    i need to go back north

  • The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife

    haha, you are so funny! Our former pastor and his family are originally from Baltimore, and they would lament at what goes for “crab” around here. But he did say we have some pretty darn good steaks. 🙂

  • Tori Nelson

    Haha! This is what happens when folks mess up grits or bbq in Tennessee 🙂

  • Kitten Thunder's Girl

    I have never seen a crab cake that looks like either of those pictures. Your second picture would be a great improvement to my experiences. The ones I have had were big, greasy, spicy and tasted nothing like crab. Which is why I stick to eating cows. We do cow right, here in the Rockies.

    BUT! Should I ever make it to Maryland, I now know to try the crab cake. To go with the clam chowder. Gots to try me some New England clam chowder in, you know, New England.

  • Hippie Cahier

    I’m sorry for this tragedy. My heart and my taste buds ache for you.

    My son requested Old Bay for his first care package in Hawaii. I added Berger cookies for good measure.

  • omawarisan

    No crab cakes outside of the beloved homeland. No Cuban sandwiches north of Miami. Some thing just are not done.

  • mistyslaws

    I am so on that! Who do I sue, Thoughtsy? Just lemme at ’em!! I can probably get them for pain & suffering and maybe even intentional infliction of emotional distress. You don’t serve a Marylander something that looks like THAT!! Shudder. (Then again, what the hell were you thinking ordering a crab cake outside the state of MD anyway. For shame, Thoughtsy. For shame!)

    This reminds me of when I was in college in PA (you can tell us, it was totally there, right?), and at the cafeteria one day, they had a sign for “Krabby Cakes.”. With a freaking K. Now, on the one hand, at least they weren’t pretending they were MD crab cakes, but on the other……no. Just NO. Just call them fish cakes and move on. You can bet I gave that shit a wide berth. My friends, mostly from PA or NJ, could not understand my ire over it. But you understand, I know.

    We are in this together, girl. Damn the man. Save the Crabcake!! 🙂

  • Todd Pack

    Does it count to order Maryland crab cakes in D.C., because I’ve done that, and they tasted pretty good.

  • ryoko861

    I SO hear you on that! It’s like ordering a Philly Cheesesteak in South Carolina. Nope, ain’t gonna taste the same (or even look like it!)

    I use Old Bay. It’s the perfect seasoning.

  • mairzeebp

    I wanna come to Maryland ASAP!!!

  • Carrie - Cannibalistic Nerd

    If you had shown me that second picture, and asked me what it was, I would have never guessed crab cakes.

  • suzicate

    My favorite local restaurant makes them just like the first pic…won’t get crabcakes anywhere else!

  • Our Life In 3D

    I know what you mean. I grew up just over your northern border in Hanover, PA. We loved the inner harbor, the great Chesapeake oysters and the great crab cakes…with actual crab meat in them!. Down in the culinary restaurants of Charleston they try to pass Crab Cakes off as the real thing. Even the Outback! You’ve got it made there! Enjoy!

  • Laura

    I went to Baltimore for a week for work once and ate crab every day. I’ve only been back a few times since then, but any time someone mentions a trip to Maryland, my first thoughts are always “crab cakes! crab chowder!”. The last time I was there, we went to a restaurant that just kept bringing out buckets and buckets full of steamed crabs.

    Great. Now I’m hungry.

  • B

    COSIGN x100! I was in Miami once and this place had a “Maryland Crab Cake” on the menu. It was dumb, but I ordered it and it pretty much looked like that crabby patty but worse. I wanted to cry.

  • jeane

    I am from the Oregon coast and learned long ago that seafood is only heaven or even prepared remotely correct when prepared in a coastal area. If I go inland I look for food that fits the area. That second crab cake is sad…just sad.

  • Jane

    You’re making my mouth water and wish I lived in Maryland – all at the same time!

  • Linda Medrano

    My husband was in Maryland and said the crab cakes were beyond anything he’s ever tasted. Since we frequently eat in the best restaurants in San Francisco, that’s saying something! Yum!

  • Chase McFadden

    Confession: never had a crabcake. But I’ll hold out for Maryland now.

  • bevchen

    Ummm, what’s Old Bay? Serious question.
    (Am I banned from your blog now?)

  • Michael

    Mmm crab cakes! God I love them. I’ve had some pretty good ones but sadly have never had an authentic one. I’ll be sure to do something about that this year. Aside from that, loved your letter!!

  • leashieloo

    I’ve never even been to Maryland and I could have warned you to steer clear. Around these parts, the only time I get a decent crabcake, full of meaty goodness, is when I go to a schmancy restaurant. Othewise, you are correct, a big fried breadcrumb. 😦

  • gojulesgo

    I just had a crab cake today for lunch and thought of you/this post! There were some decent chunks of crab in there, but I’ve DEFINITELY had better. When I visited Baltimore, I had a lump crab OMELET – hoo boy! That’s the ticket.

    BTW, is it just me, or is crab ten THOUSAND times better than lobster?? It’s so much more tender. I don’t get why lobster gets all the cred.

  • Spectra

    I support your righteous indignation with the sad state of (eh-hem) crab cakes outside of Maryland. They are more like hush puppies – or hush crabbies. blech. Living just 90 minutes north of Maryland,I always dutifully keep a can of Old Bay in my food armory. In fact, while you were writing your letter, I was posting a recipe for home made Old Bay seasoning… Here it is:

    As an added bonus, here is a recipe for homemade Old Bay Seasoning:

    1 tablespoon celery seed
    1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
    6 bay leaves
    1/2 teaspoon whole cardamom
    1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
    4 whole cloves
    1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
    1/4 teaspoon mace
    In a spice grinder or small food processor, combine all of the ingredients.
    Grind well and store in a small glass jar.
    Mix 50 : 50 with coarse salt when seasoning crabs.

  • hoodyhoo

    A-FREAKIN-MEN! Basically, if it ain’t Phillips, just don’t even try.

  • Pauline

    I have never been to Maryland or had their crab cakes. Clearly, I am missing out! 🙂

  • pegoleg

    Was it Illinois??? Oh, god, I just KNOW it was Illinois. I told them not to try crab cakes- we do pizza, here. And hot dogs. But not crab cakes, for the sweet love of all things sacred! I’m so ashamed.

  • pearlsandprose

    I actually had a decent crab cake in California. I know, shocking. Still not as good as the perfect ones we had in Annapolis, though.

  • ifUseekAmy

    Oh how I miss the crab cake…

    I developed a crab allergy about 7 years ago. Prior to that I ate crab cakes and crab legs fairly often. Luckily for me, it is the only crustacean I am allergic to. You can fill me up with lobster and shrimp!

    My friend ordered a crab cake last night at this steakhouse in our ‘hood (NYC) and it looked pretty good. More crab than filler.

    However, the best crab cake I have ever had was at my cousin’s wedding…in Maryland 🙂

  • Kitten Thunder's Girl

    Inspired by this post, I decided to eat crab cakes at all our nicer restaurants. This Saturday we had one at the new restaurant with Louisiana cuisine (“a taste of low country in the high country” YUM). I know this is not the same type of crab cake. For one thing, it was blue crab. Blue crab? Is that right? Anywho – delicious. Thank you for setting me on my new mission of crab cake tasting.

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