Somewhere in the 2002-2003 school year I became ridiculously proud of my home state, Maryland.
I know this because that was my freshman year at Rollins College. It was the year after I graduated from high school and thought “I have the get the hell out of Maryland for college.”
But it’s true that traveling and seeing other places makes you appreciate so much more where you are from. Geographically, Maryland has a lot going for it. Mountains, Beach, Bay, City, Farms… Florida was just so flat. Oh, and I was constantly surrounded by Gator Nation – all these Floridians who were so cocky and took their teams’ wins for granted. Made you wonder if they were as loyal as us Orioles fans. Or had as much pride when the Terps won that National Championship. Or had even heard of how hard the ACC is. Ugh, Gator Chomp.
And because you know this is what I’m most interested in… Food-wise? Florida stone crab was nothing close to Maryland Blue Crab. Ick. Crab cakes in Orlando were lame at best. Never order a crab cake in Florida. Unless I’m making it for you. Or if you’ve never had a Maryland crab cake in your life. Then, give it a try. You might like it.
Let me stop dogging on the Sunshine State. Florida most definitely had its perks, but it didn’t take long for me to realize how awesome I had it growing up in Maryland and how proud I was to be from there even if I didn’t want to live there right then. My Maryland fanaticism had absolutely begun.
Obviously, I’ve continues my traveling, and ten years later and I live even further away from Baltimore than Orlando. But in a big city like Los Angeles, its hard to find people that aren’t from out of town. Most of the group of friends I hang out with here are just as far away from home as I am and are just as proud of their hometowns. Hawaii, Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, Michigan, Washington, Texas, Kentucky… I actually even work with a guy who graduated from another Howard County high school the year after I did. We like to talk about the Columbia Mall and how I was at his sophomore homecoming with one of the Wilde Lake football players. We never knew each other back home, but we hang out on the West Coast. Crazy small world.
So this Saturday, the day before the Ravens-Texans playoff game, I was reading all of my MD friends updates about how they were going to the game or going to a Ravens party Sunday. Apparently, all of the lights in Baltimore were changed to purple.
Cue the extreme homesickness.
And when you are homesick and almost 3000 miles from home, it is necessary to do something that makes you feel like you are included in the party even if you can’t find another Baltimoran in sight. Create Baltimorans, even if only for the day. Because everyone likes a party, no matter what it’s for. And LA kids get how it feels to be homesick.
I sent out a mass text and spread the word at work Saturday night. 10AM kickoff. And since it’s kind of inappropriate to rage at 10AM on a Sunday, I was throwing a Ravens Brunch.
MUST WEAR PURPLE
I did some of the usual Brunch stuff. I made Pancakes and fruit salad and bought an Almond Coffee Cake. Then I threw in all the Ravens/Maryland themed grub I could with 10 hours (including sleep) to prepare.
Here’s what I came up with:
Sparkling wine topped with Blueberry-Acai juice and Blackberries
Christmas Present From Nicki. I ordered more as soon as the Ravens won.
Purple Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
Salt, Olive Oil, Chopped Rosemary, and Mixed New Potatoes
Mom’s Recipe. AMAZING. Maybe I’ll share it here one day, with her permission…
Not like its a surprise, but turns out I have some awesome friends. I think everyone in attendance showed up in Ravens purple. Even Suzi, a true Steelers fan, got festive. (no pictures to prove it, though…)
Best outfit? Matt showed up in a Ravens jersey. Not even a Ravens fan – just loves the NFL and likes Anquan Boldin. Made my day.
Not the most flattering pic of me, but you can see the purple rug and purple chair. And that I’m really enjoying the purple drink…
Sometimes it may suck being so far away from home when really exciting things are going on back home, but thats when you’ve gotta get creative. Get in the kitchen and cook up something fantastic. And then celebrate in any way you can.
You better believe we’re doing it again next Sunday!! Down with Tom Brady!! Maybe I’ll even make my Crabby Bloody Marys and crab cakes this time…