Dipping into Maryland Public Television

The coronavirus pandemic has many of us from Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) working from home, which provides the opportunity for me, student assistant Emily Moore, to get to know our collections in a new way. My current project at Hornbake involves working closely on our collection of Maryland Public Television (MPT), which celebrated its milestone 50th anniversary in 2019 (check out the online version of our gallery exhibit.  As a recent transplant from the West Coast, I have discovered that working with MPT content provides me a unique lens into Maryland culture and history. A wide range of television content that dates from the 1970s is available from SCUA in our Digital Collections database. Through watching four episodes of MPT programs, I got an intimate, first-hand introduction to Maryland. Today’s post focuses on  Chesapeake Bay Cooking with John Shields, but be sure to check back for subsequent posts about MPT classic programming including Crabs, Our Street and Basically Baseball.

Chesapeake Bay Cooking with John Shields is hosted by Baltimore native John Shields, who balances interludes of cooking with explorations of the Mid-Atlantic landscape, combining his love of animals, plants, learning and food. Each episode features a different region, offering viewers an armchair trip that is especially welcome as we socially distance and remain in our homes. In his April 7, 1998 episode on Bishop’s Head, we learn how to make Maryland fried chicken and bread in the shape of a crab. As a woman born and raised in Colorado, I had to Google what a blue crab looked like in order to make sure I structured mine correctly. Turns out they’re beautiful. Here’s a picture of one featured on a postcard from the National Trust Library Postcard Collection:

Love from Maryland, circa 1981-2000. Postcard features word "LOVE" created from photographs of Maryland.
Love from Maryland, circa 1981-2000. National Trust for Historic Preservation Library Collection, https://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/20592.

Fried chicken

I love fried chicken, but I have always been reluctant to try making a batch without a fryer. John Shields, however, demonstrates an easy way to use a pan frying technique. Thankfully, I already had most of the ingredients, but because of the pandemic I had to create my own homemade buttermilk and Chesapeake Bay seasoning substitutes. (Was Shields referring to Old Bay? Keep in mind I only learned about Old Bay six months ago, and I definitely don’t have any in my kitchen (yet!). I approximate my own and hope for the best; I won’t be able to tell if it’s wrong anyway.

I put the chicken in one morning to soak up all the goodness overnight. Shields really sells this recipe by promising lots of secrets, and boy does he deliver. Here they are: hot oil (400 degrees), a BIG skillet with a cover and cooking for 20 minutes. It turned out as juicy as Lizzo’s big hit last year. 

Crusty Crustacean Bread

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The World’s Fair Ephemeral and Graphic Material Collection

The World’s Fair Ephemeral and Graphic Material Collection is now available at the Maryland Room, 1st floor Hornbake Library. To celebrate, we are featuring four blog posts about World’s Fair history and the collection.

Part 1 of 4

Crystal Palace, 1853-54

Crystal Palace, New York Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations (1853-1854). Carstensen, Georg, 1812-1857. Periodical Illustrations: monochrome.

Before the internet, World’s Fairs gave people the chance to explore the world outside their everyday experience. People from all over the world flocked to the fairs to see the monumental architecture and exotic landscapes and to experience different cultures, international foods and new inventions. For a brief amount of time, cities would transform their everyday setting into places of magic and entertainment.

Festival Hall

Festival Hall, Louisiana Purchase Exposition (1904 : Saint Louis, Mo.). Photomechanical prints: black and white; 23.5 x 18.5 cm.

The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations, held in 1851 in London’s Hyde Park, is known as the first international exposition. The Great Exhibition was organized by Henry Cole and Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, to celebrate modern industrial technology and design. It became a platform for countries from around the world to display their achievements.

Crystal Palace 1851

Crystal Palace, Great Exhibition (1851 : London, England). Paxton, Joseph, Sir, 1803-1865. Gelatin silver print: black and white.

Visit the recently expanded finding aid for the World’s Fair Ephemeral and Graphic Material Collection and A Treasury of World’s Fair Art & Architecture digital archive for more information.

Article by A. Moore, Historic Preservation Graduate Assistant.