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Flashback to the summer of ‘89. I had just finished my sophomore year of college. Facing a decision between a research position at a marine sciences institute at the beach and an internship at the National Cancer Institute, I opted for the latter. The program assigned me to work with a brilliant scientist named Mike. Mike could solve the New York Times crossword puzzle in ink in a minute or two. He could write any recipe he had ever cooked on the board from memory. And he played volleyball. One day he showed me a sheaf of papers. “What are those,” I asked. “All of the resumés I received for your position,” he replied. “How and why did you choose me from all those applicants?” “You wrote on here that you play volleyball….my second choice was a kid who had worked at Taco Bell…I love Taco Bell.” So, if you’ve ever wondered whether or not to list your hobbies in your applications, I can promise you that doing so helped me get at least one job!

The lab was on Fort Detrick, an Army base in Frederick, Maryland. Reputed to be the Army’s biological warfare research station, the rumor was that all the plumbing we would see above ground was because of secret labs below ground. There was a tower called the Anthrax Tower rumored to be so contaminated, no one could ever go in there. The story was that in the 70’s the Nixon administration in a swords-to-plowshares program converted lab space on the base to being used by civilians for cancer research. Thus I found myself riding my 10-speed through the gate of a military base every morning to get to work.

I didn’t have a car and was less than 21, so my social options were somewhat restricted. A couple of nights a week I would play volleyball with Mike, but I needed other ways to fill my time. I tried to prepare for the MCAT, but that was no fun. In turn, I spent a lot of time cooking. Maryland is known for its crab and I experimented quite a bit with making crab cakes. I share here the recipe I developed that summer. (It’s the recipe I used in my Lime-themed meal).

Dr. Colin Knight’s Crab Cakes

Ingredients (makes 6)

1 lb regular crab meat
½ cup bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
5 T mayonnaise
1 T chopped parsley
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 t prepared mustard
1 t salt
½ t pepper

Instructions

  • Pick through crab meat to remove shells
  • Mix bread crumbs with crab meat
  • In a small bowl, whisk together other ingredients
  • Fold into the crab mixture.
  • Measure ~⅓ of crab mixture to form 6 even balls of for crab cakes