I’m at Gertrude’s Restaurant on North Charles Street in Baltimore with its owner, famed Chesapeake Bay chef and author, John Shields. I’m here to talk about his newest book, The New Chesapeake Kitchen, which makes the case that we should all make our eating habits more sustainable.
He escorts me into his inner sanctum: the kitchen.
“These are the single fried oysters, right here,” Shields said, lifting a clear plastic container brimming with mollusks. “So you see here, you have the shucked oysters, and you make a mixture of cornmeal and flower. You just shake off the excess, and then it goes right over there, into the deep fryer. No muss, no fuss!"
As the breaded morsels sizzle and brown in the roiling oil, it becomes obvious that when Shields says he’s making his meals more environmentally friendly, he’s not doing what some people might associate with the term: inflicting hardship and denial, perhaps by demanding that we only eat kale and tofu.