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Hunt the Perfect Crab Cake

It’s hard work, but someone has to do it

This is one of those tough jobs. Tougher than ever now that crab catches are no longer abundant so that you’ll pay for the luxury of eating a Chesapeake Bay crab cake. But somebody’s got to do, so it might as well be you.
    Start with a notebook for recording your tasting results. Here are your judging guidelines. Rank each crabcake you taste from 1 to 5:
    1. Most important: Is it made from Chesapeake Bay blue crab? Ask!
    2. Is it full of nice lumps of crab, even jumbo lumps? (But not full of bits of shell?)
    3. Is the cake light and flakey? Good! Or is it solid and dense? Bad!
    4. Is it moist (good) or dry (bad)?
    5. Is the flavor savory and simple, or has the lily been gilded? Most Chesapeake palates scorn the taste of mustard, onion or pepper, whether green or red, in their crabcakes. Some palates might tolerate a little herb.
    Now, spend your summer testing crab cakes. You can eat crab cakes prepared by others, as in restaurants and the homes of friends. Or you can cook them yourself.
    Share your results and recipes: editor@bayweekly.com.