Frederick Philip Stieff, son of the piano-making Baltimore family, was a celebrated amateur chef and a sort of menu historian. He made a personal crusade of collecting-mainly using hand-written family papers and the memories of aged cooks-old Maryland recipes. This volume, he declares in his foreword, offers merely "a generalization, a diversification of the receipts [as he calls them] which have for decades contributed to the gastronomic supremacy of Maryland."
Cooking and mixing instructions cover, in separate chapters, everything from oysters, a specialty of the counties bordering on the bay, to buckwheat and maple syrup, indigenous to western Maryland. Stieff fills out the stories behind many of the recipes in accompanying headnotes: the recipe for Ellin North Pudding, for example, was handed down by Ellin North, born in Baltimore in 1740 and later married to John Moale, the Colonel of the Baltimore Town Militia, to her great-grandson, Walter de Curzon Poultney. There are also several interesting appendices: one gives us the menu for a traditional hunt breakfast at Elkridge; another spells out what was served at the Maryland Institute's "Grand Banquet of the Railways Celebrations" in 1857; yet another itemizes the food that George Mann (of Mann's Tavern, Annapolis) procured in December 1783 to stage a dinner celebrating the end of war with Britain.
"Eating in Maryland was a continuous feast, not alone because of the prodigality of its table, but because of the warmth of its ever welcoming hospitality. And certainly it seems to be that in this book... the traditions of Maryland's hospitality, no less than those merely of its kitchens, will be preserved for all time."-Emily Post