The Origin of Maryland Fried Chicken?
One delightful part of putting this book together is finding local "foodways" among the previous research into Montgomery County's history. The Montgomery County Story, the newsletter of the County Historical Society, recounts a possible source of this renowned dish
From the Cabin John Bridge Hotel menu, circa 1870, the chicken was a specialty of proprietress, Rosa Bobinger: “Maryland Fried Chicken is fried chicken in a white cream sauce with curled strips of bacon on top. The dish, said to have originated at the Hotel, was advertised as ‘fried spring chicken, Cabin John Style.’”
The food was the hotel's main drawing card, and the Washington Post encouraged a visit, “…one could also go out the Conduit Road for breakfast or dinner at Cabin John, one of Washington’s established amusements, which every visitor to the Nation’s Capitol [sic] puts on his sightseeing program…”.
The hotel served its meals on custom ironstone dinnerware with an image of the bridge in the center of the plate. It reached its peak of popularity between 1895 and 1907, and was visited by presidents Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson. It was eventually displaced by other hotels and amusements along Rock Creek and closed in 1925. The building burned in April 1931, a suspected arson.