Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Chesapeake (Bay retreiver) heritage foods

Booker has, over the course of the last few years, informed me that certain types of eats fall under the category of "Chesapeake Heritage Foods". I'm sure others who are familiar with the breed (I'm looking at Chas and Chad)   have encountered this phenomenon.

Considerable thought has led me to conclude that Chesapeake Heritage Foods are those things that are particularly appealing to Chessies because of the role those foods played in feeding Chessies and proto-Chessies over the development of the breed. Basically, some things speak to the Ur-dog, some flavors call up the memory of generations of water dogs in the past and are, accordingly, particularly appealing to the Chessie of today.

Some Chesapeake Heritage Foods are not particularly surprising given the breed's long association with coastal areas and parts of the South- for instance,  oysters, fried fish and hush puppies are very clearly Chesapeake Heritage Foods, the latter so strongly favored that they are known to us as "corn dogglers". In fact, Booker prefers a hush puppy to a piece of fish out of the same oil. However, other items that qualify as Chesapeake Heritage Foods call for a little research about the history of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers in the U.S. and, in turn, American history.

A recent example is spruce tips. Booker assures me that these are, in fact, a Chesapeake Heritage Food.




I surmise that spruce tips (which are quite tasty and no doubt good for you) probably entered the category of Chesapeake Heritage Food through the experiences of Seaman, who, while not a CBR, was a Newfoundland, one of the breeds that went into creating Chessies. Thus, spruce tips got in at the ground floor of the breed, so to speak, as Seaman no doubt shared spruce tips with the rest of the Corps of Discovery during their various times of privation, and possibly during times of plenty as a bit of change of pace as well. A famous dog when he got back (sturdy from lots of elk, bison, and Vitamin C from spruce tips), Seaman most likely contributed to the foundation stock of CBRs, directly or through a couple of removes. That genetic memory no doubt has led to the popularity of spruce tips as a Chessie snack today.

5 comments:

Chas Clifton said...

Nothing, but nothing, beats deer and elk parts found in the woods.

~Fisher

Chad Love said...

Grubs dug up from the yard seem to be a particular favorite of Tess, along with gophers, moles, crickets, worms, crickets and anything else that moves.

And when the sandplums ripen, she'll spend hours hoovering up the fallen ones. A true omnivore, that one...

mdmnm said...

Chas-
Deer and elk parts are pretty clearly Chesapeake Heritage Foods, enjoyed by generations of Chessies as they accompanied hunters west.
Chad-
Tess sounds like a bit of an Ur-Chessie herself, foraging for some of the lesser known, more basic Chesapeake Heritage Foods. I'd classify sandplums in about the same category as spruce tips.

Wyknot said...

Interesting topic. Not sure how I found your blog with the search I was attempting but glad I did. I've owned bay dogs near 20 years. I never wondered about their heritage foods, but it makes sense. My most recent pup came from a waterman near Berlin. Deacon smelled of crab pots and oyster shells for a solid 8 months, perhaps it came from the milk he nursed from his mother Tess. Recently he smells like the woods and rivers of KY. I haven't noticed any tendency towards hush puppies, but I haven't dropped any in the oil when frying fish since I've had him. Years ago I had a male named Rooster. His was an affinity for vine ripened tomatoes. Not the ones that were green or even the ones a few days from perfection. No, he ate the ones you eyed the day before your planned picking, and he'd request to go out under the guise of needing to relieve himself. If you weren't careful he'd slip to the garden and have a midnight mater.

Hilario said...

Fantastic!