Entertaining by the bay is about my casual cooking and living, all a reflection of the bay outside my window. I have always loved to cook, but when I found my home on the bay it inspired me to cook and entertain in a different way. Experimenting and playing with the foods that I pick up from the local farm stands, using the herbs in the garden outside my kitchen and drawing inspiration from the colors around me, I’ve created food that complemented my surroundings. That along with the many collective food influences of my life has shaped my culinary point of view. These are recipes are easy to make and delicious to eat.
They allow the cook to enjoy their company and not spend too much time in the kitchen. I use ingredients that I have either grown up with or incorporated along the way using ingredients and flavors discovered in my travels. My culinary story is rooted first by the ethnic influences of from grandparents who immigrated to the United States from Austria, Greece and Italy. This is the number one food influence in my life. Both my grandmothers loved to cooked and gather the family around them, showering them with love in the form of a meal. As a child I spend hours in the kitchens of both my grandmothers. In the spring and summer I spent my time with my grandparents working on their farm on Eastern Long Island. They grew all kinds of fruits and vegetables. When it was time for a meal, it started with a trip into the garden picking whatever was ready for harvest. This is where I learnt firsthand about from farm to table cooking. The farm produce became our calendar as we experienced each season through food – peas, asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries, lettuce, blueberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, and so on. This was an extraordinary way to eat and cook. My career in fashion gave me the opportunity to discover each country I visited through food. My recipes tell my life story. My menus change seasonal along with the landscape of the bay. These recipes and ideas for entertaining are meant to be shared and enjoyed with family and loved ones. Enjoy!
Maryann Kraker is a veteran of the fashion industry. Work allowed her the opportunity to travel abroad frequently, gathering food memories, recipes and the unique talent of reading menus in any language. In 2007 she purchased By the Bay on the Long Island Sound and stepped out of the pantry so to speak, for her passion about food. During the week she continues to be a fashion warrior in Manhattan and her weekends are spent By The Bay cooking, writing and photographing food to share with friends and family.