“Omelettes – Plain or with Rum”

What? Where in culinary history did I miss the inclusion of rum in an omelet? New York Public Library announced recently the availability of thousands of their images in the public domain available for free and open use. A long-time … Continue reading

Apple of My Eye: Lead Pesticide Use in 1920s Orchards

Over the Christmas holiday, I unearthed a small journal with a heavily damaged tooled vegetable-tanned leather cover. Within were pre-printed dated pages with intermittent journal entries by my great-grandfather Hugh Ross Stephens, the Orchardist (according to the 1940 census) at … Continue reading

Maryland Preparations for the Sick, 1881

‘Tis the season for illness. Cooking tomes of the past often included a chapter of recipes to be made for the ill and infirm. Certainly, our need for something comforting remains, but general folklore shared today mentions chicken soup, ginger … Continue reading

Thanksgiving, Sauerkraut, and the Railroad

Marylanders, love it or hate it, serve sauerkraut at Thanksgiving (see a previous post on the subject here). I particularly like the tang of fermented cabbage to break up the richness of the other dishes on offer. I’m curious how … Continue reading

Doors Open Baltimore – This Saturday, October 25

After my last post about the decay of Baltimore progressive civic icons from the 19th century, Doors Open Baltimore celebrates the industrial past that made it possible this Saturday, October 25, 2014 from 10am-4pm. Fascinating physical industrial heritage spanning from … Continue reading

Maryland Material Culture: Bushel Basket

Quiz: What does a bushel basket signify to a Marylander? Sure, you can put fruit or vegetables in it (it is pick-ur-own strawberry season), but Marylanders most want to see this lined with newspaper and stuffed with steamed crabs, caked … Continue reading

Christmas Dinner on the Rails

Christmas generally takes us to Maryland. While the Amtrak train I take travels over the Pennsylvania Railroad into Baltimore’s Penn Station, here’s a Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Royal Blue Line menu from Christmas Day, 1900. The selections are fun and … Continue reading

It’s An “R” Month: Maryland Oyster Pie

Though a chilled oyster sliding down your throat and followed with cold white wine seems perfectly apropos for the summer months, it was only recently that the old tradition “only eat oysters in a month with “R” in it” has … Continue reading

Sauerkraut: It’s Thanksgiving in Maryland

Don’t knock it: sauerkraut is great on the Thanksgiving table. And it’s a tradition that falls almost exclusively within Maryland’s borders. When I moved away for my first job in Boston, I was surprised that Thanksgiving sauerkraut horrified my colleagues … Continue reading

Wanderlust Wednesday: Some Food in France

More often than not, even the cheapest little roadside offering in France blows the socks off of much of what you can get in the United States. After my summer blogging hiatus, I have a few things to catch up … Continue reading