Did you know that shrimp is one of the most popular choices for seafood in the US? The US harvests about 650 million pounds of shrimp each year, and imports another 200 million pounds per year. That’s a higher demand for shrimp than any other country! But what is it that makes this nutritious seafood so special to Americans? After all, it’s a popular ingredient in many appetizers, entrees, salads, and chowders across the country. Here’s a short look at its culinary history.
What’s In a Name?
Shrimp is the most popular shellfish in the US, but many Americans might not consider where the name “shrimp” actually comes from when enjoying their shrimp cocktail, chowder, scampi, and more. The word “shrimp” as we know it comes from the Middle English word shrimpe, which references the small crustaceans and also means “pygmy.”
A Historically Nutritious Diet
In the year 1280, the explorer Marco Polo wrote about the prevalence of shrimp in Chinese marketplaces during his travels, noting how vital seafood seemed to be in peoples’ diets. Shrimp and other seafood were primary protein sources in the Chinese diet, with some of the earliest known records of seafood’s popularity dating to the 7th century. Today, seafood is still a significant part of Chinese cuisine, with shrimp among the most popular protein choices in many staple dishes.
Harvesting in the US
While we have many early records of shrimp being enjoyed by people all around the world, the collection of shrimp in the US can be dated back to the 17th century. During this time, people in the Louisiana bayou would use seines up to 2,000 feet in circumference to collect shrimp for harvest. Mechanized shrimping was popularized after 1917, but this long history of shrimping in the Southern US has led to some of our most iconic American seafood dishes, such as shrimp and grits, gumbo, fried shrimp, and more to become an essential and popular part of American cuisine. For all the fantastic ways there are to enjoy shrimp in your appetizers, salads, sandwiches, main dishes, and more, it’s no wonder that shrimp has become the most popular shellfish in the US!
YOUR SEAFOOD DESTINATION
Costas Inn has been a Baltimore tradition since 1971. You may recognize our restaurant, which was recently featured on the Food Network with Michael Symon on Burgers, Brew, and ‘Que! We were also voted the 2015 #1 Baltimore Seafood Restaurant by USA Today, as well as #1 Crab Restaurant 2014 in the Baltimore Business Journal. You may have also spotted Costas Inn during one of our 9 appearances on the Today Show or heard one of our many interviews on WJZ TV Channel 13 with Ron Matz and Marty Bass.
You can enjoy our famous crab cakes in-house or order them online for any time eating. We also provide some of the best seafood catering in the Baltimore area! You can also get your fill from Costas even when you’re not in our dining room: follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube!