Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due With Coddies & Berger Cookies

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on February 3, 2013

Celebrating Baltimore's traditional cuisine old bay shrimp, coddies and Berger Cookies

I’ve lived in Maryland for many years and as a young kid in college, Baltimore was one of my playgrounds. It was always known as a rough city and in some parts it still is, but there is a great deal of rejuvenation taking place in many of these troubled areas.

The lasting effects of the 1968 riots after the assassination of MLK can still be seen in some sections of North Avenue, Howard and Gay Streets and along Pennsylvania Avenue, where long stretches of the town remain barren and derelict.  Crime was always an issue, and in some years it even rivaled other more well known cities, like New York.

Rejuvenation efforts began some 60 years ago when William Donald Schaefer became a City Council member. His concern for city planning and housing issues propelled him to City Council president in 1967 and four years later, he became mayor.

During the 1970s, Baltimore’s downtown area (known as the Inner Harbor), was neglected and occupied by a collection of abandoned warehouses. In later years, the closings of large manufacturing plants like Bethlehem Steel and General Motors also negatively impacted the quality of life in Baltimore and added to the city’s unemployment rate.

As a newly minted mayor, Schaefer and his administration turned their attention to tourism as a possible alternative to bringing in much needed revenue to the city. He cleverly pushed for and oversaw the redevelopment of the downtown area. It all started with the construction of the Baltimore Convention Center which opened in 1979, Harborplace (in the Inner Harbor) an urban retail and restaurant complex which opened on the waterfront in 1980 and the National Aquarium and the Baltimore Museum of Industry in 1981.

Schaefer was hailed for transforming a deteriorating city by attracting new businesses and building new hotels to accommodate the influx of tourists. In its first year, the Inner Harbor drew 18 million visitors, and in 1984, Esquire Magazine named him “the best mayor in America”.

Schaefer served as mayor for four terms and was known for his attention to detail and controversy. He jerked the chains of a many people — sometimes with reason and sometimes without. Needless to say, this Baltimore son who grew up and lived a modest life in a plain row house in Edmondson village, was not liked by many people…but his overall vision for the improvement of the city and the desire to create much needed jobs for the people of Baltimore, managed to rally even the worst of his detractors.

In the early morning hours of March 29, 1984, the Baltimore Colts football team snuck out of Baltimore due to ongoing dissension between the Irsay and Schaefer, but they were not the first professional sports team to leave Baltimore on Schaefer’s watch. In 1973, the Baltimore Bullets moved to Landover and became the Washington Bullets, yet it it didn’t discourage him or change his vision for the future of Baltimore city.

In his last years as mayor, and later during his two terms as governor, Schaefer led the push to build Oriole Park at Camden Yards for the Orioles, and the M&T Bank Stadium for a new NFL team. In 1992, the Baltimore Orioles baseball team moved from Memorial Stadium to their new home at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and in 1996, the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore and became the new NFL team called the Baltimore Ravens.

I often ran into the mayor at the Inner Harbor, where he always walked about without security and without any fear of those around him, even though he was among throngs of people visiting the area. He would always stop and chat whenever he was given the opportunity, and his lighthearted wit and wry humor was always center stage.

Today we celebrate the victorious season of the Ravens that has culminated in today’s Super Bowl 47, and for sure, this would have made the mayor proud. What better way to celebrate this momentous occasion than with some traditional Baltimore fare that he loved so much. Baltimore Coddies and Berger cookies were some of the Mayor’s favorite foods, so as we celebrate a victorious season, we also take a moment to remember the man that made it all possible.

This Baltimore son laid the foundation for the rejuvenation, growth and success of this city and for that, he has made many Marylanders proud. The opportunity to bring home the trophy for a second time to a city that has weathered its share of storms, seems to put a period at the end of a very long sentence…it’s a story with a happy ending of sorts and one that seems to have come full circle.

Traditional Baltimore Coddies
4 cups mashed potatoes (3 or 4 medium potatoes)
½ teaspoon ground pepper
2 teaspoons garlic salt
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg
1 cup flaked cod

Steam potatoes and pass them thru a ricer or mash them well with a fork then place them in a medium sized bowl. Steam 1 small piece of cod and flake into small pieces and add to the potato in the bowl along with everything else. Mix well together until you have a uniform mixture. Scoop into small patties and then flatten slightly. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes and then dip in the egg wash and roll in the bread crumbs. Refrigerate again and fry until golden brown. Serve with cocktail sauce, mustard and saltine crackers.

Baltimore cod cakes

perfect smooth consistency for Baltimore cod cakes

scoop Baltimore cod cakes into small portions

Round and flatten Baltimore cod cakes

breaded Baltimore cod cakes

Fry Baltimore cod cakes until crsipy

Berger Cookies (makes 40 -.7oz cookies)
8 oz butter
1 cup sugar (8 oz)
1 egg (1.8 oz)
2 teaspoons vanilla (.2 oz)
2 cups cake flour (9 oz)
1 cup all purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons (4 oz)
1 oz buttermilk (3 ½ tablespoons)
1 tablespoon corn syrup (important to use)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 recipe wickedly good chocolate frosting

Cream butter and sugar together and then add the egg, corn syrup and buttermilk. Sift together all of the dry ingredients and add slowly to the bowl a little at a time until all of the flour is incorporated. The dough will be firm, but not too firm. This is a cookie that has the texture of soft cake, so the buttermilk and the corn syrup must be added to maintain the moisture. Scoop out the dough and bake at 350°F for about 10-15 minutes until the cookies barely take on color around the edges, but they will still be pale on top. Make the chocolate frosting according to directions, and scoop some frosting on top of each cookie. Allow the frosting to set uncovered for about 15 minutes then cover the cookies with plastic wrap and flatten slightly.

Berger Cookie dough should be firm

Baked Berger Cookies

Frosted Homemade Berger Cookies

Enjoy and GO RAVENS!

Print Friendly

Leave a Comment

Anti-Spam Quiz:

Previous post:

Next post: