Food his­to­rian brings res­i­dents ‘A Taste of Mary­land’

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum - TIF­FANY WAT­SON twat­son@somd­


South­ern Mary­land’s own food his­to­rian Joyce White hosted “A Taste of Mary­land” at the La Plata Li­brary, with some sa­vory top­ics of dis­cus­sion for Charles County res­i­dents.

Lo­cal res­i­dents were able to cel­e­brate Mary­land Day with the event at the La Plata Li­brary on Thurs­day. Par­tic­i­pants ex­pe­ri­enced an en­ter­tain­ing pre­sen­ta­tion by White and learned about the his­tory of Mary­land’s fa­mous food tra­di­tions and food busi­nesses.

“In my Pow­erPoint pre­sen­ta­tion, I tried to in­clude dif­fer­ent foods from dif­fer­ent re­gions such as South­ern Mary­land and Bal­ti­more. We dis­cussed how the set­tle­ment pat­terns, to­bacco and slav­ery all in­flu­enced the food choices and cui­sine over pe­ri­ods of time. I tie it al­to­gether, specif­i­cally the rich his­tory and how the food is wo­ven through the decades,” White said.

The “A Taste of Mary­land” pre­sen­ta­tion is based on re­search White has been do­ing in her role as cu­ra­tor for the State of Mary­land per­ma­nent ex­hibit at the South­ern Food and Bev­er­age Mu­seum in New Or­leans. White’s pre­sen­ta­tion was fol­lowed by the op­por­tu­nity to taste her as­sort­ment of sweet and sa­vory Mary­land cuisines such as Mary­land chili, crab chips, Ot­ter­bein’s cook­ies, Jewish ap­ple cake and Mary­land white po­tato pie.

“The Mary­land chili with black eyed peas is an African-Amer­i­can tra­di­tion and [fea­tures] McCormick chili spice. McCormick is a Bal­ti­more based in­dus­try that has been around since the 19th cen­tury. I made some Jewish ap­ple cake be­cause of the large jewish pop­u­la­tion in Mary­land, white po­tato pie, which is an East­ern Shore spe­cial­ity, and then Ot­ter­bein’s sugar cook­ies. Ot­ter­bein’s Bak­ery is one of the old­est bak­eries in Bal­ti­more. They are very thin, crisp and dis­tinc­tive of the Bal­ti­more area,” White said.

“I have been to three of Joyce White’s events and I have learned a lot each time. Ev­ery ses­sion has been chock full of in­for­ma­tion. She knows her stuff,” Amy Pere­goy of Wal­dorf said. “Some of my fa­vorite foods to learn about were the stuffed ham and the soft crab.”

Judy Gough of Wal­dorf said as a child she can re­mem­ber see­ing the older mem­bers of her fam­ily cook­ing muskrat with gar­lic and onions as well as ter­rapin in a mock tur­tle soup, which Joyce White also re­ferred to in her pre­sen­ta­tion.

“My fam­ily grew up in Charles County so I grew up cook­ing and eat­ing all of these South­ern Mary­land foods. Joyce White knew about all of the dishes that I grew up with and she didn’t make any mis­takes. She re­ally did her re­search well. It shocked me and I’m so gad that I came,” Gough said.

Gough was on a mis­sion to ob­tain White’s recipe for the Mary­land white po­tato pie.

White said one of her fa­vorite dishes is also the white po­tato pie be­cause it has the most in­ter­est­ing his­tor­i­cal back­ground.

“White po­tato pie was pop­u­lar and then it died, so I call it a food fos­sil. I’m mak­ing it re­turn to the din­ner ta­ble and get­ting it back into peo­ple’s con­scious­ness,” White said.

White said that most times while vis­it­ing South­ern Mary­land or the East­ern Shore, res­i­dents are familiar with most of the Mary­land food ex­cept for the his­toric Bal­ti­more cui­sine, and vice versa oc­curs with the Bal­ti­more crowd.

“I hope that I reaf­firmed some of the things that the South­ern Mary­land res­i­dents al­ready know and ex­pe­ri­enced through­out their lives, es­pe­cially if they were born and bred here,” White said.

Food his­to­rian Joyce White brought Mary­land white po­tato pie to her “A Taste of Mary­land” event March 24 at the La Plata Li­brary.


South­ern Mary­land food his­to­rian Joyce White brought a wide ar­ray of South­ern Mary­land food for Charles County res­i­dents to taste at her “A Taste of Mary­land” event at the La Plata Li­brary on March 24. Wal­dorf res­i­dent Judy Gough was ex­cited to taste some of White’s Mary­land chili with black eyed peas in it.

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