Maryland is famous for its crab cakes, but where did they come from? Every cuisine around the world has adapted the crab cake to its own region. It can be made with any kind of crab and any number of ingredients or spices. The Blue crab has always been the standard for this recipe and is considered to be the best for this dish. A form of the crab cake was made by Native Americans long before the arrival of the colonial settlers and was one of the first native dishes adopted by the settlers of the Chesapeake Bay region.
It was not until 1930 in Crosby Gaige’s New York World’s Fair cook book that the term “crab cake” appears in print, where it referred to the delicacy as “Baltimore crab cake.”
Old Bay seasoning was developed by German immigrant Gustav Brunn in the 1940’s. Old Bay Seasoning is named after the Old Bay Line, a passenger ship line that traveled the waters of the Chesapeake Bay from Baltimore to Norfolk, Virginia, in the early 1900’s. At that time, crabs were so plentiful that bars in Baltimore offered them free and seasonings like Old Bay were created to encourage patrons to purchase more beverages. Old Bay is just one of many crab seasonings created at that time and were incorporated in the Maryland crab cake.