The Maryland Writers’ Association created the Writers’ Round Table Program to encourage writers, poets, playwrights and authors through monthly articles and activities.

The Notable Maryland Author articles and associated Fun With Words writers’ prompts are the centerpiece of the program. Each month, The Enterprise and other newspapers in the state will feature a Maryland Writers’ Association article about an author. Marylanders are encouraged to read the articles and try their hand at the writing prompts each month.

Author: John Shields

“As a small boy in Baltimore, I remember my grandmother’s excitement with each approaching season and the treasures it offered for the table.” — John Shields

Genre: Food Writing — A type of writing that focuses on food and includes works by food critics and food historians. Includes all aspects of food: growing, processing, preparing, nutritional properties, recipes, cooking, social influence, cultural context, regional importance, business impact, personal memories, etc.

A partial reading list includes “The Chesapeake Bay Cookbook,” “The Chesapeake Bay Crab Cookbook,” “Chesapeake Bay Cooking with John Shields” and “The New Chesapeake Kitchen.”

Chef John Shields (Baltimore May 5, 1951) is an American chef and food writer. Often called “The Culinary Ambassador of the Chesapeake Bay,” Shields has written multiple cookbooks on the cuisine of the Chesapeake region. He is also the host of two PBS television shows, “Chesapeake Bay Cooking with John Shields” and “Coastal Cooking with John Shields.”

Shields’ career began informally. At a very early age, he worked with his grandmother Gertie Cleary in a Baltimore church hall kitchen. They fixed businessmen’s luncheons and parish fund-raising dinners for dozens to hundreds of guests. Shields’ professional career began by accident. After studying at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, he moved to Cape Cod to become a rock star. He played the piano in bars. One day an injured friend asked Shields to work his kitchen shift in a popular Cape Cod inn. That first day making 36 pie shells shifted his focus and morphed into years as a chef, restaurant owner, author and host of two television shows. Shields is now a co-owner and proprietor of Gertrude’s Restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art, which just ended its 21st year in business.

Shields has spent decades of exploring and championing the Chesapeake region and his newest book, “The New Chesapeake Kitchen,” articulates his essential philosophy, as well as his commitment to, and love for the Chesapeake — its land and waters, its people, its history and its food traditions.

His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Coastal Living and Southern Living. He is a frequent guest on WYPR radio, local TV and at public events. John is an active member of many organizations including, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the James Beard Foundation, and the Chefs’ Collaborative.

Fun With Words

Maryland Writers’ Association invites readers to have fun being a food writer. Using just 100 words, pick a holiday and a holiday food and write about it. Include its cultural context, a personal memory and a preparation tip.

Readers can submit their responses at the website by the 25th of the month to receive an MWA Writers’ Round Table submission certificate. Selected prompts will be published next month. Other information can be found at

Last month’s reader selections

In November, readers were asked to have fun writing a social expose. Using just 100 words, write a social expose account where your character endures a living, working or social condition that would be changed, if only a specific person or group were aware of it. Pick your character, identify the issue and select the group the character feels will help.

Here are some regional selections:

Javan Lot tried not to sweat.

Dressed in a hoodie, he stood between four dealers, backpacks heavy with dope, and their leader, Gideon Aman. “A-man” ruled the corner of Warwick and Krutch.

A-man said, “Why you here?”

Javan wouldn’t be here if the Oaskagu Register’s reporter had believed Javan’s grandma: Ma’am, no facts, no story.

To get those facts, Javan spent six months strengthening his memory. He recalled conversations with 90% accuracy.

“Yo, daydreamer,” A-man said.

“Help you make bank,” Javan said.

“You gonna spot five-o for us, but remember, squeaky wheels get greased.”

Javan said, “I’ll remember good.”

Lawrence P. McGuire of Waldorf

A book. One of the classics. My pages tell a beautiful story and covers topics such as racism and the importance of family and personal dignity. There are over two million humans in cages who have been banned from reading my words and others like me. I’ve made my way into the prison mail room only to be sent back out by the arbitrary rules, which represents the largest book ban policy in the United States. I know why the caged bird sings; to tell the story to anyone who will listen. Mr. President, you have the ability to achieve change.

Teresa Ward of Hughesville

“I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.”

I really wanted to believe this, then I met some cops. They illustrated to me that police were just government workers that had arrest powers and could shoot me with impunity.

The first thing they say when they pull you over is, “Do you know why we pulled you over?”

“We know exactly why we pulled you over. We’re trying to get you to incriminate yourself. Our job is to seize property, fine you or put you in jail. If you think we’re here to help you, you’re an idiot”

Steve Baker of Hughesville and an inmate at Federal Correctional Institute, Fort Dix, N.J.