Maryland's Official Food, According To Reddit

Ah, Maryland — the Old Line State, birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner, home to the legendary Babe Ruth (via National Geographic). Situated just under 30 miles from Washington D.C., the Mid-Atlantic state is bordered by New England to the north and the Lower-Atlantic region to the south, and boasts more than a few trivia answers. We're not just talking about the Baltimore Ravens, either. Instead, think regional eats.

Because of their location on Chesapeake Bay — the nation's largest estuary — the Maryland shores are prime real estate when it comes to fishing. Not just recreational fishing, either. The Chesapeake's commercial fishery is, not surprisingly, a billion dollar business, where Baltimore sits as one of the East Coast's largest commercial ports (via The National Wildlife Federation). Though rockfish and oysters are popular catches off the shores of the East Coast, nothing says "Maryland" like crab, according to Food & Wine and a Reddit thread. In particular, blue crab — an entire pot of them with Old Bay Seasoning.

What is a crab feast?

As is tradition, the Maryland crab feast usually consists of buttered corn on the cob, a layer of Old Bay seasoning, some cold beverages and, of course, dozens of blue crabs. Don't make the mistake of assuming they are boiled, either; true Marylanders steam their crabs, under the opinion that boiling the crustaceans makes crabmeat soggy (via Eater). The process starts with a large pot of water and vinegar, in which the crabs are placed on a rack, covered in healthy dashes of Old Bay and steamed until red, a time frame that's somewhere around 20 to 30 minutes (per McCormick). Then, the crabs are dumped onto a picnic table covered in brown craft paper or newspaper, according to Visit Baltimore, and the feast commences.

Compare the Maryland crab feast to what beer brats are for Wisconsin, or what lobster rolls are for Massachusetts. It's an iconic representation of regional ingredients — remember, 50% of the United States' blue crab harvest comes from Maryland, according to Eater — and has a deep culinary history. Food is undeniably a large part of culture, and steaming crabs is as much of a social event as it is something to eat. Gathering friends and family in your backyard with a big pot of steamed crabs underway — that's how they do it in Maryland.