‘Chesapeake Farm & Bay to Table’ Wants to Throw a Dinner Party on Your Screen
by Grace Hebron
Published February 2 in Baltimore Magazine
Excerpt: As CEO of Harford County Public Library, Baltimore-raised bibliophile Mary Hastler is living out a dream she’s had since childhood. “As I always say, I have the best job in the universe. I love what I do.”
She loves it so much, in fact, that in spring 2020, when COVID-19 lockdowns canceled the majority of in-person events, Hastler was determined to find new ways to keep local book enthusiasts connected. One of her ideas was to launch a program that the library planned several years ago: a cooking web series. But this one would be virtual, of course, and reminiscent of a pre-pandemic luxury.
“When you have a dinner party, it may be at a big, beautiful house, but almost everybody gravitates towards the kitchen…to watch as the cook is putting a meal together, or to pour some wine,” Hastler says. “That’s when a lot of the conversations are going on.”
The goal would be to recreate this atmosphere for library attendees, with help of local authors, chefs, and farmers. Luckily, the library knew just who to reach out to.