Ever wondered what the first Marylanders ate? Cookbook author Katie Moose will visit Miller Branch Library in Ellicott City this month to share her knowledge of — and a few recipes for — the food and herbs of the Chesapeake up to the War of 1812.
But don’t ask her to share her menu in advance. Just as the early settlers did, Moose cooks seasonally and will build her demonstration around what foods are available that day.
“Because it’s May, I’ll probably be looking at something with strawberries and asparagus, maybe some cheese and of course corn and beans,” said Moose, a Baltimore native who has written five cookbooks, including two that focus on the Chesapeake Bay region. “It will be food of the period, but it won’t be something boring like corn porridge.”
The event is co-sponsored by Howard County Library System and the Howard County Historical Society.
“From a historical standpoint, her focus fits perfectly with what’s hot right now, which is the War of 1812 and how we are celebrating its 200th anniversary right here in Maryland,” said Shawn Gladden, executive director of the Howard County Historical Society.
Moose uncovered a number of interesting facts while researching her local cookbooks, Chesapeake’s Bounty and Chesapeake’s Bounty II.
“Of course the settlers ate anything they could grow, hunted nuts and berries, and relied on wild game like geese, pigs and turkey,” she said. “But what’s important to remember is that back then there were over 250 species in the bay and rivers, almost all of which are gone now.”
Her focus includes herbs as well, as they played such a critical role in everyday life.
“It really is fascinating to learn about the many ways herbs were used not just in food but in medicines, vinegars, wines and salves,” she said.
Moose’s lecture, cooking demonstration and book signing begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 6, Miller Branch, 9421 Frederick Road in Ellicott City. The event is free, but you must register at hclibrary.org. Call 410-313-1950 for more information.
GRILLED LEG OF LAMB
4 lbs. boneless leg of lamb
1/4 cup cracked pepper
2 tbls. coarse salt
2 tbls. garlic powder
1 tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. cayenne
1/4 cup fresh rosemary
1. Combine the ingredients in a bowl
2. Place the lamb on a platter and rub the dry rub into the meat on all sides
3. Grill on a BBQ or in the oven at 350°
4. Serve with mint sauce or mint pesto
1 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
1. Combine the ingredients in a jar.
2 cups fresh mint leaves
2 large clove garlic
3 tbls. walnuts
2 tbls. butter
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan chees
1. Place ingredients in a food processor until pureed
CRAB DIP WITH ARTICHOKE HEARTS
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 tbls. lemon juice
dash of Tabasco sauce
1 lb. crab meat
1/2 cup chopped leeks
1 can 15 oz. artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 tbls. fresh dill
1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl until well blended.
2. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
4. Serve with crackers or sliced French bread.