New Cookbook Alert: The New Chesapeake Kitchen

[ 0 ] October 3, 2018 |

Full-time indoor season is about to start around these parts.  As the weather takes a turn for cold and the leaves begin to wither, staying indoors is going to look much more attractive.  This time of the year is my prime cooking season.  New recipes are tested and the gym becomes a necessary part of the week to avoid the winter 15 (translation:  the extra 15 lbs. that can be gained from winter eating).  John Shield’s The New Chesapeake Kitchen arrived at my doorstep a couple of weeks ago and I have never been more ready for indoor cooking.

John is the co-owner and proprietor of Gertrude’s Restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art.  If you want to learn anything about the Chesapeake regions culinary history and recipes, John is your man.  I had the pleasure of spending some one-on-one time with John a few years ago learning about his famed crab cake recipe and getting to know the celebrated chef of the Chesapeake Bay.  John is a true legend.  The New Chesapeake Kitchen is further proof of John’s indelible knowledge of the Chesapeake Bay’s culinary influence on the world.

I will put it out there:  I am not a cookbook person.  My other half loves a good cookbook; I love a good Google search.  The New Chesapeake Kitchen left me dog-earing every other page, however, because the recipes look ahmazing and easy.  Easy is the name of the game as Baby French’s arrival nears where I plan to spend little-to-no time in the kitchen this Fall.  Chapter Three’s “Soups and One-Pots” peaked my interest from the title alone.  For the first time in a long time, homemade Fish Stock, Chicken Stock and Vegetable Stock seem so approachable.

One of the most attractive things I found with John’s latest book is the inclusion of recipes for the plant-based diet.  His “Buttermilk” Buckwheat Pancakes with Mixed Berry Compote and “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Crab” cakes left me wondering why I am still eating things that have parents.  “Aunt Bessie’s Crab Pudding” brought me back to reality, however, and I immediately began planning my next get-together in my head to show off this dish.

The New Chesapeake Kitchen simply put is approachable.  The recipes call for ingredients that are easy to find but make some of the most compelling and interesting dishes.  Additionally, the cookbook puts the magnifying glass on things that are familiar to this region such as oyster farming and trash fish making for a good winter read.  Looking at the Acknowledgments section, John pulled out all of the heavy Chesapeake hitters for this one.  These people know their stuff (one of my fave Chesapeake natives, Patrick Evans-Hylton, is mentioned).

Feeling for some recipe upgrades without complicated ingredients?  Start here.

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Category: Cookbooks, Reviews

About the Author ()

Johnna French is a Harlem NY native with deep roots in Washington, DC and North Carolina. All three places have heavily influenced her life and the foods she loves today. After graduating Howard University School of Law and beginning her life as a young professional in the city she was led to start Johnna Knows Good Food in November 2007 to keep family, friends and colleagues updated on where to go and what to eat while dining in the nation’s capitol. French, who still practices law, leads a team of three writers to cover the ever expanding Washington, DC food scene. French has been featured in print and television, appearing in Washingtonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to various local TV affiliates including WUSA 9, FOX 5 DC and WJLA (ABC Affiliate) News Channel 8. During the 2016-2017 football season, Johnna aired on Comcast Sports Mid-Atlantic (CSN) show, Redskins Life, as the weekly tailgate host. Johnna is currently a regular contributor to the FOX Baltimore Weekend morning show.

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