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Ballpark Food Moves Away from the Cheap Eats

Going to the ballpark isn't what it used to be, and the worst of it may be the way the food has gone upscale. Essayist Bonny Wolf, a lifelong Minnesota Twins fan, buys into Humphrey Bogart's old line: "A hot dog at the ballpark is better than a steak at the Ritz." However, while you can still get hot dogs and crackerjacks and cotton candy, you can also get coconut prawns, micro-brews, or a Napa Valley Chardonay.

Here are recipes for ballpark chow that Babe Ruth never sent the batboy to fetch:

The Ultimate Crab Cake

Chef Russell Szekely

ARAMARK Corporation, Oriole Park @ Camden Yards

This is one of three crabcakes served at Camden Yards. This is the crabcake made for Orioles senior executives.

Servings: 6

Yield: 12 each


3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 1/4 cups mayonnaise

2 eggs

3 tablespoons Old Bay Seafood seasoning

2 teaspoons lemon juice

4 pounds crab meat, fresh jumbo lump

4 slices white bread, crusts removed, diced


In a mixing bowl, whisk together mustard, Worcestershire, mayonnaise, eggs, Old Bay seasoning and lemon juice.

In a separate large mixing bowl, gently toss the crab meat with the diced bread.

Fold the mustard mixture into the bread and crab meat, making sure not to break up the lumps.

Allow the finished blend to rest under refrigeration for 30 minutes or so.

Portion and form the crab cakes into 5-6 ounce balls. Lay them onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet.

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Bake the crab cakes until golden brown and heated to 145 degrees internal temp, flipping them over once during cooking.

Serve as a sandwich or main course with your favorite sides.

Top Dog Slaw

Chef Brett Lewis

Centerplate, Inc., Yankee Stadium

This relish is one of several served with the premium all-beef, kosher, 1/4-pound hot dog (called a Top Dog) sold at Yankee Stadium. When it was introduced last year, hot dog sales went up more than 200 percent.

Yield: 3 lbs.


2 lb green cabbage, chopped

1 1/2 cup red onion, small dice

3/4 cup dill pickle, grated

1/2 cup red bell pepper, small dice


1. Combine all ingredients and mix well.

2. Toss with dressing no more than one day prior to service.

3. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.



1 cup sugar

3/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 tsp celery seed

salt and white pepper to taste


1. Combine all ingredients and mix well.

2. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

Serve on hot dogs and pretend you're at a Yankees' game.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Weekend Edition Sunday
NPR commentator Bonny Wolf grew up in Minnesota and has worked as a reporter and editor at newspapers in New Jersey and Texas. She taught journalism at Texas A&M University where she encouraged her student, Lyle Lovett, to give up music and get a real job. Wolf gives better advice about cooking and eating, and contributes her monthly food essay to NPR's award-winning Weekend Edition Sunday. She is also a contributing editor to "Kitchen Window," NPR's Web-only, weekly food column.