Like Todd Kliman, I too am sentimental about the “offshoring” of our beloved Maryland crabs (“Crab Imperialist,” 7/15). However, let’s not kid ourselves. Shoes are no longer sewn in Maine, Levi’s aren’t stitched in San Francisco, and TVs aren’t assembled in Indianapolis. The issue with locally picked crab is far more about labor cost than anything else, and the struggling industry has managed to keep both oyster shuckers and crab pickers on Maryland’s Eastern Shore below the poverty line for decades.
Despite Todd’s professed passion for the taste, a prepared crab dish like Crab Imperial or crab cakes using Asian meat (versus the plain lump crab used in his taste test) has negligible difference from Maryland crab. The growing domination of imported crab meat for the masses is a good thing for local crab lovers. The more for us. Crab cakes are fine for the rest of the country, but when I eat crabs, I want them fresh-steamed and piled on newspaper so I can pick them myself. Now that’s good eating in the Chesapeake Bay tradition!
University Park, Md.