The Eastern Shore has attracted some colorful characters who embraced its briny culture and the traditions of the waterman’s life. Crabbers have made a living by supplying our precious blue crabs for many years. Experience and tradition taught many locals how to prepare & savor our Chesapeake bounty with recipes that have passed hands for generations. No one was more intrigued by that art than Arnold Louis “Whitey” Schmidt.
Whitey started out as a traveling salesman and many of his routes took him off the beaten track. He loved to stop at local crab houses and roadside stands and talk to owners and cooks about their favorite ways to prepare and enjoy blue crabs. Whitey’s passion gave birth to a new career when he decided to share their stories and “secret” recipes in a series of delightful cookbooks.
His first book, The Official Crab Eater’s Guide (1985), marked a milestone in the history of Bay country cooking. It became a popular staple at regional bookstores, and remains in circulation today. Whitey introduced us to Eastern Shore people and their unique cuisine with a variety of cooking ideas in the following years. The Crab Cookbook, Chesapeake Bay Crabbiest Cookbook, Chesapeake Bay Soups and The Eastern Shore Cookbook are among the most popular and can be found on Amazon.com or thriftbooks (https://www.thriftbooks.com/a/whitey-schmidt/288354/)
Whitey had a quick smile and a sparkle in his eyes that drew people to him. Many friends would visit his “crab lab” at this home in Crisfield and all were greeted with food good and Schmidt’s awesome stories. He fell in love with the Chesapeake Bay and his fans fell in love with him. Whitey passed away in 2014 but his legacy lives on in his 11 cookbooks and the hearts of his loyal admirers.