GRAZING, the '80s term for eating a little of a lot of foods, takes on new meaning this week in Baltimore. More than 70 food editors, from newspapers and magazines around the country, are in town through Saturday for the annual meeting of the Newspaper Food Editors and Writers Association.
And although the meeting includes business sessions and a wide-ranging program of food topics, the editors, no doubt, have their forks tuned and their appetites ready for some of Maryland's fairest fare.
The first tastes come at noon today at a luncheon at the Harbor Court Hotel, the meeting's headquarters. On the menu there are Maryland fried oysters on spinach, pheasant breast with Boordy Vineyard Peach Cider sauce and, for dessert, "Chesapeake in Chocolate."
This meal follows a morning of talk about -- and tasting of -- Chesapeake cuisine: crab cakes, rockfish, stuffed ham. The experts are: John Shields, author of "The Chesapeake Bay Cookbook;" caterer William Taylor, and Bill Burton, outdoor writer and long-time food columnist for The Evening Sun.
Grazing will be expected tonight as the editors get "A Taste Of Maryland" presented by about a dozen restaurants. Each will prepare one or two dishes and serve them simultaneously at the new Mammal Pavilion at the National Aquarium.
The big crab extravaganza will be Friday, when The Sun and The Evening Sun, who are hosts for the meeting, will entertain the editors at a crab feast at the Baltimore Museum of Industry.
Not every meal is planned. The editors also have several opportunities to sample area restaurants on their own. Also on the schedule are tours of McCormick Spice Co. and Lexington Market; a program on herbs at the 1840 House; presentations on the future of seafood and the marriage of wine and food; and a trip to Washington to meet with federal food regulators.
The national organization represents more than 200 writers and editors from publications of wide-ranging circulations.