Why does nobody ever talk about how weird Maryland is?
Nobody ever talks about Maryland, period. It’s like they forget it’s a state. There’s no real stereotypes about people from Maryland, because it’s right in the middle of the east coast, EXCEPT everyone from Maryland is obsessed with crabs and Old Bay seasoning. You may think I’m exaggerating, but my friend’s brother used to actually drink Old Bay straight. The only time I ever saw my boyfriend look at me with anything other than pure love and respect was when I said that I thought crabs served in the shell were overrated. McDonalds in Maryland serves Filet-o-Fish WITH OLD BAY SEASONING. Once I saw a production of The Little Mermaid in Maryland, and the actor playing the chef sang “now some Old Bay!” instead of “now some flour,” and the audience burst into rapturous applause in the middle of the song. Old Bay is as essential to Marylanders as flour.
The official state sport of Maryland is jousting. No joke.
And once, I went to a McDonalds’ down the road from Camp David while George W. Bush was staying there, and there were free-range chickens who lived in the parking lot. It made me uncomfortable.
Edgar Allan Poe, John Waters, Frank Zappa, and F. Scott Fitzgerald are all from Maryland. Oh, and John Wilkes Booth. Something weird is in the water there. My money’s on Old Bay.
Drive east from Washington and eventually you run smack into the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, the massive estuary that stretches from the mouth of the Susquehanna River at Maryland’s northern tip and empties into the Atlantic 200 miles away near Norfolk, Va.
The Chesapeake is home to oysters, clams, and famous Maryland blue crab. It’s the largest estuary in the United States. And for a long time, it was one of the most polluted.
Decades of runoff from grassy suburban yards and farm fields as far north as New York state, plus sewage and other waste dumped by the hundreds of gallons, made the Chesapeake so dirty that by 1983, the crab population had plummeted to just 2 percent of what Capt. John Smith saw when he explored the bay in the 1600s.
For years, people tried to clean it up. States and the federal government spent millions of dollars. The first effort began in 1983 — officially launched by President Ronald Reagan in his 1984 State of the Union Address.
And each time, the cleanup efforts failed. The bay’s health wasn’t getting much better.
By 2009, when the Chesapeake Bay Foundation sued the Environmental Protection Agency in an attempt to get the EPA to do more to clean up the bay, the Chesapeake’s dead zone was so big it often covered a cubic mile in the summer.
Dead zones form when the water becomes too concentrated with nitrogen and phosphorus — allowing algal blooms to grow and block out sunlight from reaching beneath the water and causing populations of fish and crabs to plummet.
Then, last summer, scientists recorded no dead zone in the Chesapeake Bay. And wildlife was returning, too. The EPA’s new plan seemed to be working.
“When I first heard that spawning sturgeon were back in the bay, my reaction was, ‘Yes! We can get this done,’” says Will Baker, the nonprofit Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s president. “It’s really exciting. You give nature half a chance and she will produce every single time.”
At this point the only things standing between me and being a vegan is shrimp and crabs lol. I’m lactose intolerant [so no milk or cheese for me] and I can’t eat red meat [no beef or lamb for me] and, though I really do like chicken and turkey [love me a good turkey burger], I know there’s meat alternatives for other meats. But I’m from Maryland and crabs aren’t just food but they’re apart of my history and culture. I can remember being 3 years old and breaking open my first crab. My uncle had a crab boat growing up and we’d pretty much live off crabs all summer. This love affair I have with seafood is the sole reason why I could probably never truly be a vegan.