Monday, December 6, 2010

The Maryland Club

This post virtually guarantees that I will never be able to become a member of the Maryland Club, as does my gender, but here goes…

The Baltimore Architecture Foundation’s Groundhog Day party was held last night at The Maryland Club, despite the unexpected six inches of snow we got yesterday. We spend the day doing last minute things to get ready for the party including rolling a $995 chair carrying two Kohler faucets through the snow to the Club.Maryland Club The moment you enter The Maryland Club (MC), you are assaulted by whispers of old money, old traditions and a nearly extinct way of life, as well as nearly extinct animals. Maryland Club 006

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The walls on the first floor of the MC are essentially papered with trophy animals, including a fully intact mountain goat. Now, I don’t want to hear from any PETA people, because I didn’t shoot these animals, I am just showing them. It is a but un-nerving to round a corner and see a nine-foot bear standing by the window!Maryland Club 002 However, what is most incredible about this building is the sheer amount of workmanship that has gone into it. The building had a serious fire in 1996 and has been rebuilt and upgraded since that time. That it was rebuilt at all is a testimony to the membership and their traditions.

Maryland Club 005The main corridors are a series of enfiladed rooms, stretching the length of the building. Funnily enough, they are not symmetrical, but slightly off-center. We were greeted by a roaring fire last night, very welcome, as it was still snowing.  The fireplace, and the moose above it, are both massive, and with my firebug tendencies, I longed to be able to poke at it with the huge iron tools next to it!Maryland Club 085 The ceilings on the first two floors are about 14 feet, which makes for a massive grand space. The windows all have wood shutters, which both keep the cold air out and the sun from coming in. When I swung open one of the shutters, I could feel the bitter cold air! (It was 15F last night.)Maryland Club 019Each room has a large fireplace, many of them still in working condition. They are all faced in stone, most likely Maryland stone, and large wood mantelpieces.

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There is a huge staircase, not a long and graceful one, but a solid masculine one. Following the staircase up to the third floor is an amazing detail – a huge stenciled and gold-leafed painting.

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At the very top of the staircase, there are a number of significant flags, including the Maryland State flag, the Baltimore City flag and the club’s flag, amongst others.  Behind them is a huge stained glass window with the state motto in Latin, translating as “manly deeds, womanly words”. Maryland Club 075The Governor’s Room, on the third floor of the Club was one of the most beautiful rooms. Although it didn’t have the grand proportions as other rooms, it was stunning. The ceilings were detailed with a quatrefoil pattern and there were lovely fireplaces at either end. There was a row of chandeliers down the center of the room, and at either end there were china cabinets behind leaded glass doors.  While most of the other rooms had dark wood, in this room, all of the wood was painted a pale cream. It made the room more feminine.

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Three of the rooms, all adjacent to each other, were the Hunting Room, the Maritime Room and the Duck Room. I loved the hunting room, as it referred to fox hunting, not the big game hunting. The Maritime Room had lots of pictures of ships and ship models, as well as the most incredible window-seat. The Duck Room had numerous duck-types mounted on the wall. Maryland Club 039

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At the end of the evening, three of us snuck into one of the gentlemen’s rooms, and were stunned to find walls of the most beautiful Beaver Dam marble on the walls and stalls. Rumour has it that the MC puts ice cubes in the urinals.  I did love the sinks in the Gent’s.Maryland Club 106  Here are a few more details:

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Foo Dog Lamp. Notice the buzzer behind the lamp? They were all over the MC, so members could call for a servant.Maryland Club 056 The hallway leading from the Members’ Dining RoomMaryland Club 060 Detail of a ceiling lampMaryland Club 129 Detail from a book caseMaryland Club 125 Push-button light switches with mother of pearl insets.Maryland Club 111

This was a great evening for a great cause, and I was so glad to be included!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Shooting Your Dinner

There’s an excellent article in today’s New York Times (here) about bloggers and others taking pictures of the food that they eat. I do it sometimes, when the food is especially nicely presented, but many others document every single thing they eat.NYT Camera & FoodDo you do that?

Monday, April 5, 2010

I Don’t Think So!

I would really have to think twice before going here to shop!greenish 003

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I’d like a little more green and a little less –ish!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Food Day 2010


Feeding America has provided April Food Day with a special link that will track the giving, and so we will know what an impact it’s had.

Here are some facts to use in writing about April Food Day:

• Feeding America is annually providing food to 37 million Americans, including 14 million children. This is an increase of 46 percent over 2006, when we were feeding 25 million Americans, including 9 million children, each year.

• That means one in eight Americans now rely on Feeding America for food and groceries.

• Feeding America's nationwide network of food banks is feeding 1 million more Americans each week than we did in 2006.

• Thirty-six percent of the households served have at least one person working.

• More than one-third of client households report having to choose between food and other basic necessities, such as rent, utilities and medical care.

• The number of children the Feeding America network serves has increased by 50 percent since 2006.

• Feeding America food banks provide food and groceries to 33,500 food pantries, 4,500 soup kitchens and 3,600 emergency shelters.

• 68 percent of pantries, 42 percent of soup kitchens, and 15 percent of emergency shelters rely solely on volunteers and have no paid staff.

• 55 percent, are faith-based agencies affiliated with churches, mosques, synagogues and other religious organizations; 33 percent are other types of non-profit organizations.

There are several important links to include:

Feeding America’s website:

• The link to the April Food Day donation page:

Thanks for your support!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Woodberry Kitchen Brunch

Fellow blogger and market-goer, Kitchenography and I usually do a “big” brunch on the last day of the Farmers’ Market, but since the last market day was cancelled due to the snow, we also cancelled our brunch plans.

It took another couple of weeks to make up this date, and when we decided a destination, Julie picked Woodberry Kitchen, since she’d not been there. We were joined by her husband, who’s also a lot of fun and a great eater.

Woodberry Kitchen just started serving brunch a few months ago, and I knew if the brunch was anywhere as interesting as dinners, it would be excellent. Although it was bitter cold outside, the inside of WK was bright and warm, and the hot air wafting towards our table from the wood-burning oven was welcome.woodberry 006We started with coffee in personal cafetière, or French Press coffee maker, which came with a small hourglass so you could time exactly when to press the plunger and pour your coffee. Since I’ve been using a cafetière for about 25+ years, I knew what to do with it, but for others, it might not have been as obvious.

Julie got a mimosa, which was garnished with a beautifully spiraled orange peel speared as a garnish. woodberry 001I got french toast with a honey-cinnamon butter, along with some house-made sage sausage. The sausage was a little more dense than I like, and it seemed to need more fat to give it a better mouth-feel.

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Julie got Eggs Benedict, but instead of ham, it had two crabcakes and Julie had it without the eggs.  woodberry 003 Mike got shirred eggs with crab, served in a cast iron ramekin, which he said were “interesting”. I thought that shirred eggs were softer than his appeared to be. woodberry 008 The best thing about Woodberry today was that it was not the mob scene that it usually is. You are generally packed into the restaurant like sardines, and it was a welcome change to have a little elbow room.woodberry I love the way the sun is lighting this image.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Smith Island Cake

I was charged with bringing a dessert to a family party on Sunday and wanted to make something that would make an impression. As I thought about what to bring, I remembered recently seeing an article about Smith Island Cakes. I spent a lot of time on Smith Island when I was working at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation many years ago and have a lot of fond memories of these islands located in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay.Smith IslandAs I mentioned in the previous post, I looked for a recipe on Epicurious, but it was an epic fail. I searched a little more and found a recipe on Saveur’s website. It seemed pretty similar to the others I had seen, so I used that one. 12-28 001

Their recipe said to use Duncan Hines cake mix, but to change it to use a stick of butter, a can of evaporated milk and some additional flour. It also called for chopped peanut butter/chocolate cups, but that seemed to be too much. Instead, I used crushed peppermint candy canes on top. 12-28 002

The main problem with the recipe is that they say ice the cake five minutes after you cook the icing. Of course, it all just slides off the top of the cake and puddles around the bottom. Luckily, I was using a high-sided plate, so it didn’t matter. As we served the pieces of cake, we just scooped the extra icing on to it.12-28 005It seemed to be a big hit with everyone and there were just two small pieces left, so they went home with two siblings.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Epicurious Fail

I am thinking of making a Smith Island Cake for a family party on Sunday because I spent a lot of time on Smith Island when I worked at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. When I checked for a recipe, here’s what they came up with:smith island I can’t imagine how they came up with Thai Chicken Pasta as a recipe for Smith Island Cake!

Here’s what it looks like in real life.smithisland_cake I will have to let you know how it turned out!