A Chowder Feast

(Baltimore Sun, 8/20/1842)

A party of gentlemen left our city on Thursday morning at an early hour, for the shores of Back River, with the determination of having an old fashioned chowder dinner, of which so much has been said and written in the Eastern States. The company was composed of a first rate and jovial set of fellows, determined to test the qualities of a chowder, and report progress for future reference. They arrived on the shore about sunrise, where they found Elijah and his better half (an accomplished couple of color who live on the shore,) ready for service. The boat and canoe, the entire three of Elijah’s maritime fleet, were immediately manned by as many of the “best men and true” as they would conveniently carry, and in a very short time a large quantity of as fine fish as ever nibbled at a hook, were brought ashore, where a fire had been enkindled in the woods, the fish were cleaned, cooked, and breakfast spread in good time, not, however, until every one had an appetite as keen as the fish had when they so greedily swallowed the hooks. Full justice was done an excellent breakfast, each man probably eating four times as much as he would have done at home.

White perch (Morone americana). From Goode. Drawing by H. L. Todd.

Breakfast over, the woods were made to ring with merry songs, stories and toasts were heard, and other amusements introduced; when at last “all hands and the cooks” were called upon to engage in catching “lots of fish,” and prepare for the grand chowder dinner, something entirely new to many of the party. Precisely at one o’clock the entire company set down to the “tallest” and most sumptuous chowder dinner that ever has been cooked south of Mason and Dixon’s line, and would have borne comparison in many respects with any thing of the same kind “down east.” All joined in the opinion, that chowder is chowder, and that a first rate chowder is hard to beat. In short, every one was pleased with the fish breakfast, the chowder dinner, and the delightful and healthy manner in which they spent the day, having caught, during their stay at Back River, about five hundred fish, most of them large perch, and two eels, which from their size were supposed to belong to the family of the enormous “critter” recently caught at Market street bridge. The company returned to the city in good season, in the best possible humor, determined, as the experiment succeeded so admirably well, to have another chowder party soon.

This entry was posted in 1840s, Dining, Essex / Middle River, Fishing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A Chowder Feast

  1. Back River Perch…that’s damn good eating…in 1842. It’s also the new name of the band.

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