New book charts Chesapeake Bay oysters, restaurants and raw bars

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Stories from the Chesapeake Bay oyster industry and culture

Susan E Wade Oyster Lovers co-authorBut don't think “Chesapeake Oyster Lovers' Handbook” is only a listing of places to eat oysters. Oyster enthusiasts — and those new to slurping the Bay bivalves — will learn about the rise and fall — and rise again — of the Chesapeake Bay oyster and its cultural ties to the area.

From the start the book was supposed to be more than a guidebook. “We wanted to put some of the soul of the Chesapeake Bay into it,” Susan says. “We didn't want it to be straight data,” which explains the Pearls of Wisdom section that includes stories and articles by experts in the oyster industry and those who celebrate the influence of the oyster, including the Eastport Oyster Boys.

Kevin “Brother Shucker” Brooks explains why the Annapolis-based music group incorporates oysters in its name and song-writing. Dylan Salmon of Dylan's Oyster Cellar in Baltimore gives his inside tricks and tips to enjoying oysters, including what to choose as toppings — and not. And Nick Schauman of The Local Oyster in Baltimore relates “a trip down memory lane” with oysters.

The introductory section also explains the creative seed for the book: an oyster taste test in New York City during a moms' trip where Rappahannocks from Virginia won hands-down among Northeastern oyster fans — and their surprise based on the misconception that Chesapeake Bay oysters weren't up to par.

That event led to Susan and Bill's desire to produce this book to “help the public understand the Chesapeake Bay oyster,” Susan says, as well as “to show you where to go and what to eat.” It also complements the authors' other book, “Crab Decks and Tiki Bars of the Chesapeake Bay,” which is in its fourth edition.

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