Posts tagged #Culinary Tourism

Cheer the Super Bowl Ravens on with a Slice of Smith Island Seven Layer Cake

Millions will be watching America's Super Bowl Football Game but a lucky few will be cheering Baltimore's Ravens on while savoring a slice of Smith Island Cake.

And what, you are asking, is a Smith Island Cake? Only one of the culinary world's sweetest secret, unless you're from Maryland where the cake is honored as the State's official dessert. 

To find the makers of this amazing cake crafted from seven plus wafer thin layers, all individually baked, you have to travel (and only by ferry) to a tiny island, of the same name as the cake, located in cold waters of Chesapeake Bay.

Only 400 people live on the 8 x 4 mile island yet since the early 1600's those who have lived here have proudly called it home. And well they should have since the Island was famous throughout the world for the high quality blue crab, oysters and fish harvested by the Island's watermen as they were called. 

Yet it was not to last. As the East Coast of the United Stated developed industrially, toxic wastes were dumped into the Bay. Year by year the catch declined until it was too small to support a livelihood. The resulting hard times forced many to leave the Island.

But there were some who simply would not leave their island home. They fought the fear that poverty often brings with the resources at hand - baking pans and treasured recipes, both used in new and creative ways to break boredom and embrace a brighter future.

Instead of baking traditional two or three layer cakes, they baked paper thin layers of cake by spreading only a small amount of batter in each pan. Once cooked, they iced each layer and stacked them up to see how high they could go. 

The effect these brave kitchen cooks created was stunning. Today it is part of culinary history AND a major tourism attraction for the Island as hundreds come to savor both the present day beauty of the Island and its legendary tall cakes.

Perhaps the tenacity of those hardy early Island cooks will be with the Ravens as they take the field and fight to devour, layer by layer, the defenses of San Francisco's famed 49er's. 

Post Note, January 30, 2013: The culinary wonders of Maryland aren't just limited to Smith Island's fantastic cake. Here are some of our other favorites, all perfect for Super Bowl viewing parties:

Your Culinary World copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2013 

POST NOTE, January 30, 2013: Baltimore's culinary heritage includes many wonderful dishes in addition to the pride of Smith Island. Check out these food treasures: 

Berger Cookies - The official cookie of Baltimore, first created in 1835 by an immigrant German baker, this rich regional treat is a vanilla cookie topped with a thick layer of rich dark chocolate fudge. Its appearance is simple; its flavor is unforgettable. A cookie must for your culinary bucket list.

UTZ Crab Chips - High quality potato chips flavored with Chesapeake Bay crab seasonings since 1921 by this family owned company. The resulting taste is a regional treasure. An legandary game snack! 

National Bohemian Beer - Known in Balimore as the "Natty Boh" this brew is a premium German style beer similar to a Pilsner, known as the world's golden beer. Proudly brewed since 1885, it is the official beer of Baltimore and was the first American beer sold in canned six-packs. Many thanks!  

Pit Beef Barbecue - Baltimore's take on barbecue is crisp and crusty on the outside and rare and juicy on the inside. Often served piled high on a toasted bun.

Lake Trout Fish Sandwiches - The very popular everyday lunch sandwich of Baltimore. Made from Atlantic Whiting fillets, not trout, it comes garnished with ketchup and a horseradish sauce.

Chicken Boxes - Another lunch favorite of BMore. These carry-out boxes contain 4-6 chicken wings and either western, curly or regular fries. Sold in fried chicken shops and Chinese takeout restaurants (rice substituted for potatoes there). Often enjoyed with a "Half and Half", a combination of equal portions of iced tea and lemonade.

Your Culinary World copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2013