A neighborhood crab house in Baltimore in the 1930′s wasn’t exactly what we expect of our modern crab establishments. The “house” part was often quite literal- proprietors were frequently women who ran a crabcake and clamcake business out of their kitchen, or in this case, their front window. Customers, lured in by the smell of fried things wafting on the breeze, could plunk down a few nickels, pull up a patch of curb and demolish a perfectly golden, perfectly greasy crabcake, right on the spot.
Though the venues may have changed, the ritual of a summer crabcake is deeply ingrained in Chesapeake tradition. Served between two slices of white bread, it is a taste of the Bay that conjures nostalgia, comfort, and the humid pleasures of a July afternoon in Baltimore.
From the Library of Congress, by “Look” magazine photographer John Vachon, 1938.