August 18, 2014

Family Tradition + Crab Cake Recipe

Writing this post very well may bring tears to my eyes, but I've wanted to write about my sweet grandmother for quite some time. She passed away my freshman year of college, right before my first round of finals. I remember the call I received early that November morning, and that feeling in the pit of my stomach as my brothers and I drove to the airport. When we arrived in Maryland, all I could think about were the memories I have in my grandparent's home, and especially the ones I shared with my grandmother, my Mom Mom as I called her. Tradition played a huge role in my Mom Mom's life, and her passion for holidays, family gatherings and celebrations will always be something that stays with me.

Growing up, I didn't have the privilege of seeing my grandmother as often as other grandchildren living in the same city as their grandparents. Maryland was six hours away, and with school and all our extracurricular activities, it was lucky if we got to see Mom Mom and Pop Pop three times a year. Despite the distance, the memories I shared with my Mom Mom overcame the miles between us, and I am so thankful for the time I did have with her.

For me, being back in my grandparent's home always brings a peace more so than any other place. The memories I have sitting at her kitchen counter in particular are some of my most cherished. My Mom Mom was always in the kitchen, cooking up a storm and making sure everyone had enough to eat. She would never sit down until everything was set out on the table, ready for us all to dig in. Her hospitality was something I always admired about her. She was inherently a selfless person, always serving others before herself, expecting nothing in return. She truly loved each one of us with her whole heart. She led an example for us all to follow without her desiring any glory or praise.

As I said before, the importance of tradition was something that my Mom Mom valued. Every Thanksgiving, we would use the same dishes, eat the same Southern green beans brothed in butter and bacon and share what we were thankful for around the table. It's funny how simple traditions like that have such an impact down the road. It's those traditions when time stops, and you remember exactly where you were, what you were eating, and who you were with the year, three years, five years before. I loved how the photos and decorations in their home never changed and even the newspaper and magazine clippings from decades ago remained on her refrigerator doors. I loved how she always greeted us with a big hug and then started cooking immediately even if we weren't hungry. I loved her stories of what was going on in the town, and her stocked up cabinets of food fit for an army.

One meal I grew to cherish when visiting my Mom Mom were her crab cakes. They were not as much as a tradition as they were staple in her kitchen, for she served them every time we came to visit. I remember her cooking up the fresh Maryland crab, and the aroma would fill up the entire house. When I was younger, I couldn't stand it, that is until my taste started to evolve and seafood became a favorite of mine. If you've never had crab straight from Maryland's shore, you haven't had real crab. My Mom Mom could attest - she was so particular about her crab meat and wouldn't serve them unless they were just right.

Even though I could never come close to replicating my Mom Mom's pound cake or potato salad, here's a recipe for her famous crab cakes (thanks mom for the help!). It's one of those dishes that I can never eat without thinking about my Mom Mom and reflect on what a humble, beautiful woman she was.

Mom Mom's Crab Cakes:

2 slices bread, crusts removed
2 tbsp. mayo
2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
2 tsp. parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. yellow mustard
1 egg, beaten
1 lb. crab meat

Break bread into small pieces. Mix in mayo, Old Bay, parsley, mustard and egg. Stir in crab meat.  Shape mixture into patties. Fry until golden brown.

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