Looking over the poll results for Southern Living's "The South's Tastiest Towns Awards," I see we placed ninth overall, behind Lafayette, Louisville, New Orleans, Charleston, Charlottesville, Houston, Birmingham, and Decatur. I also notice that some readers are questioning whether we even qualify.
From the comments...
How is Baltimore a SOUTHERN town?
I never did understand how they thought of us living in Maryland as living in the south... It is exactly northeast...
... definitely NOT the South.
It's true that Baltimore often doesn't feel like the South, and we tend to get lumped in with the likes of Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and other Rust Belt/AFC North cities. For years, I wrote for the Oxford American magazine (which considers itself "The Southern Magazine of Good Writing"), and they rebuffed any Baltimorecentric story ideas, because our city just wasn't southern enough. I'd make the "below the Mason-Dixon Line" argument, but they weren't swayed. And I remember once being in a Memphis recording studio, and Jerry Lee Lewis' guitar player told me, "You're okay, for a Yankee." He, too, was not swayed by any below the Mason-Dixon Line claims.
But I have friends and relatives in New York and Philly who consider Baltimore a southern outpost and a remote one at that. My Uncle Mike in South Philadelphia always pronounced it "Ball-tee-more" with the same derision he applied to the likes of "Alley-bama."
So Baltimore is too northern for Southerners, and too southern for Northerners. Good. I think that such ambiguity, and the tension it generates, gives our city some of its appeal, and edge. And I swear the food's better here than it is in Decatur, Birmingham, or Houston.