Chesapeake Bay Seafood (Chesapeake Bay Cook Book) - 1940


by Ferdinand C. Latrobe II, self-published, 1940. Yellow covers, stapled binding, 46 pages. This is a true rarity, and a glimpse into the state's seafood recipe history before World War II. The title in parenthesis is used on the inside title page. Black and white humorous illustrations by Yardley throughout, many with racial stereotypes of smiling African American cook caricatures serving up white goateed mansion owners or white "Frenchie" chefs.

The author, the son of a seven-term governor of the state during the late 19th century, presents hundreds of vintage recipes he and his family collected over the years for fish, crabs, shrimp, Mannoise (long-neck clams), little-neck clams and oysters from the Chesapeake Bay. He also prefaces the recipes with the background of the species, and suggestions for purcasing. Latrobe writes in an old-fashioned, florid narrative style.

“They have been gathered from far and wide,” he writes in the preface. “Where most of them originated we do not know. They came to us in recollection, in manuscript, in clippings, in ancient household treasures and in research…into the Chesapeake Bay’s history of the last four centuries.”

Among the remarkable recipes are several for the Mannoise (often called long neck or manos) clams, now almost ignored by Marylanders (most are shipped to New England). There’s Oysters Fleetwood, chopped oysters poached in their own liquor, seasoning, a bit of light roux and asparagus tips. There’s also Crab Tangier, a chowder with onion, bacon, potoaoes and milk, and Crab Dorchester, a soup made with consommé, onions, tomatoes and seasoning.

Latrobe is adamant that the fresh seafood not be encumbered by unnecessary saucing. He also quotes Savarin on the virtues of fish and the courageous character of those nations who include it in their diet.

Latrobe died in 1944. According to his grandson, the he decided on a career of research and writing rather than following in his father’s footsteps into politics, and was most interested in all matters connected with the Chesapeake Bay.

Pages yellowed; some aging, staining and wear to covers. Previous owner menu and ingredient jottings in pencil on inside and outside back cover. Condition: Fair.

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