Maryland's Chesapeake: How the Bay and Its Bounty Shaped a Cuisine

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Crabs, oysters, tomatoes, corn, chicken, rockfish, and the always stunning, Smith Island cake. As a fourth generation Baltimore, Marylander, my great, great grandfather immigrated from Germany in the 1900's, I relish in the thought of people celebrating the treasures of the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland cuisine that played a role in feeding me throughout my life.


The waterways, surrounding Maryland, are a treasure, sustaining its regional residents, from Paleo Indians, for thousands of years. The cuisine indiginous to the Chesapeake Region is delectable. I was thrilled to receive a new cookbook celebrating the area, by local Maryand foodies, Kathy and Neal Patterson, "Maryland's Chesapeake: How the Bay and Its Bounty Shaped a Cuisine" delivered to my mailbox.


The newly published, soft-covered book is chock-full of  historical references, recipes and highlights from area chefs. Maryland's Chesapeake: How the Bay and its Bounty Shaped a Cuisine, is the couple's third book including Food Lovers' Guide to Baltimore,and Baltimore Chef's Table. Cover photos are provided by Jay Fleming, talented professional photographer, seafood enthusiast and mega-fan of the Chesapeake Bay. While the Bay provides popular items like crabs, oysters, today, in the past, Marylanders enjoyed terrapin, shad, and sturgeon. The Patterson's have also paid close attention to the importance of protecting this important ecosystem and protection of the Bay. They reference important organizations like the Oyster Recovery Program, Maryland Stream ReLeaf Program and Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative. They also discuss the billion dollar chicken business, on the Eastern Shore, and, its unfortunate role in polluting the Chesapeake Bay.


When asked, 'Why did you write this book,' Neal Patterson responds, "As Marylanders, we've always taken great pride in the rich food culture that the Chesapeake Bay has provided, but as we dug deeper into its history and nature, we became fascinated by the interdependent relationship we share with the Bay. Seasonal cooking is a trendy thing now, but for the Native Americans who lived along the Bay centuries ago, it was part of their very survival. We wanted to share how robustly the Chesapeake has provided for our sustenance over generations and how current and future generations must take care to preserve this fragile ecosystem."


The book also collects local recipes from area chefs. The authors "invited some of the area's top chefs and bartenders to concoct recipes that put fancy twists on these Maryland classics." Seen left, sweet memories of a visit to Barren Island Oysters with Timothy DeVine during a ProFish Chesapeake Bay education adventure.


Examples are:


Old Fashioned Cocktail by Brendan Dorr of B&O Restaurant

Smoked Bluefish Rillettes by Zack Mills of Wit & Wisdom

10 Layer 'Mile-High' Cake by Pastry Chef Bettina Perry

Chicken Chessie by Chef Annmarie Langston of Gypsy Queen Cafe


Might I include some of my favorites:


Smoked Crabcakes and Southern friend chicken by Chef Nancy Longo of Pierpoint's.

Hard shell crabs at Costa's Inn

Jumbo Lump crabcakes at my cheers bar, Regi's of Federal Hill

Oyster Shooters at Mama's on the Half Shell, Wine from Black Ankle & the newly found Sagamore Farms Whiskey

Fresh Shucked oysters and clams at Cross Street Market

Chicken & Waffles at Home Maid Brunch

Oh my, wow, I could go on and on! Kudos to the Patterson's! The book retails for $21.95.


Patti Neumann is Publisher/Founder of & an award-winning 21 C Social Media Publicist/Influencer on food, sips, hospitality & the good life. has its finger on the pulse of what's hot in the world of food, cocktails, luxury & travel trends.