I started the Baltimore Food Chronicle four years ago out of both pride and nostalgia. I was and still am proud to be from Baltimore. Aside from the Ravens and The Wire, Club Music and Jada Pinkett, we have crab cakes, pit beef, Berger Cookies and Smith Island Cake. We are a town of tides, figuratively and literally. We are a city that was once heavily German, Irish and Polish, known for Haussner’s, Corned Beef Row and Pollack Johnny’s. And now the oldest market of it’s kind in the country, The World Famous Lexington Market is patronized predominantly by Black folk, but vended by Asians and Latino, and our fastest growing immigrant population is Russian. We are a city of change and memory. Not far from the oldest continuously running saloon, The Horse You Rode In On is the meteoric Under Armour and echoing the birthplace of the “Star Spangled Banner”, we proudly proclaim “Protect This House.”
For me, this is a city of nostalgia as well. In the years that we lived away, my Papa and my Nana both passed away. Papa was born shortly after the turn of the century, and often told me how he and his friends would go swimming in the harbor (before it was The Inner Harbor) by Federal Hill, with water so clear they could see to the bottom. Nana would fondly recall Hausner’s, and as often as she could would take us for ice cream floats at the local pharmacy in Towson. Papa was a resident and passionate fan of all things horse racing, Pimlico, Preakness and War Admiral. And every hot summer we would go to the Maryland State Fair and watch races, sucking on lemon sticks. I miss them so much. It is the city where I would buy records from on Saratoga, or Fells Point, where my mom would always get Japanese food and Rheb’s from Lexington Market. Where we would pick up paella from Tio Pepes on special occasions, or where Mom and Dad would recall Papa’s response to not having french fries and cole slaw with his crab cakes at The Prime Rib. It is the city that born a Filipino family thousands of miles from their own country, gave us mentors and uncles and cousins and even White grandparents.
The Baltimore Food Chronicle was my journal in rediscovering a home I missed so much, but very much like grandparents slowly came to know more and more through the years, cultivating appreciation and gratitude. And falling back in love. There was so much in 2016 that I photographed, that I changed in life and job that too many posts were never written, too many images never shared. So here is what I held back. I’m sharing them now so I can start anew, keeping nothing and baring it all.
To my friends and family, by blood or relation thank you. You are in these pictures, whether in face or spirit or heart. Your love is in the food, by taste or through memory. Thank you for being a part of it all. Here’s to more of it all.