Who pays for the food involved when mayors and governors make bets on football games?
When it comes to Faidley's crab cakes, the centerpiece of the market package Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has wagered on Sunday's AFC championship game, Faidley's is prepared to provide the goods. Faidley's owner Bill Devine said he has promised and provided crab cakes for municipal bets before, dating back to the William Donald Schaefer era.
"It's a feel-good gesture," said Devine about his make-good promise. "It's like putting your last quarter in the collection plate. You're hoping for salvation."
Typically, Faidley's will donate a dozen crab cakes, which Devine said retail for $144.
Not that the mayor's office asked him to. Two years ago, when Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake made a similar bet with the mayor of Pittsburgh, the mayor's office approached Faidley's. "We went into that expecting that the mayor would pay for it," said Ian Brennan, the mayor's press secretary. But Devine insisted on donating the crab cakes, as along as he didn't have to pay for shipping.
"We don't expect the Ravens are going to lose. We also don't expect that any of the businesses will provide the product at no cost. The point was to approach businesses that provide unique food," Brennan said of businesses like Sophie's, a maker of Polish food in Broadway Market, whose stuffed cabbage and bow-tie cookies, kruschiki, are part of Rawlings-Blake's market package.
Meanwhile, Rawlings-Blake's counterpart in Boston, Thomas Menino, has wagered a package of goods available at the city's public markets, including fresh seafood from Red's Best Seafood.
"We haven't worked that out," said Jared Auerbach, Red's Best founder and CEO. "We'd be happy to donate it. The fishermen we work with are all fans of the mayor."
Compared to Faidley's, which was founded in 1886, Red's is a zoea. The five-year old company has earned praise from sustainability quarters for how it uses technology to support the efforts of small fisherman. The company's efforts, Auerbach said, have been supported by the mayor's office.
"I grew up with a negative view of government officials," Auerbach said. "From having interactions with the mayor's staff, it's changed my outlook."
And when a mayor wins a bet, who gets to eat the winning food?
Not the mayor, Brennan said. The food is donated, usually. The mayor's office has a surprise in mind for the steaks Rawlings-Blake won off Denver's mayor in Saturday's division game.
Follow Baltimore Diner on Twitter @gorelickingood