CAMBRIDGE — What some might think is bizarre, chef, writer, and television host Andrew Zimmern might think is delicious. At 9 p.m., March 25 on the Travel Channel, Mr. Zimmern’s show “Bizarre Foods America” turns its focus on Dorchester County and the Chesapeake Bay to highlight what some may call strange, but Dorchester Countians call a way of life.
The episode, “Baltimore & Chesapeake Bay,” features Rhonda Aaron, and her son Justin Aaron, Joe Brooks and his staff at J.M. Clayton’s Seafood Company, along with crabs, eels and muskrats.
“He was really, really nice,” said Rhonda Aaron. “He was kind to all of us, but it was a long day.”
Mrs. Aaron said she was contacted by producers of “Bizarre Foods America” because she was featured in Amy Nicholson’s documentary about the National Outdoor Show called “Muskrat Lovely.”
Mrs. Aaron and her family took Mr. Zimmern and his crew out on the water fishing for crabs and eels. On land, Mr. Zimmern went with the Aarons while they checked their muskrat traps before they went back to the Aaron’s home to cook up what they caught of Dorchester County’s bounty.
Rhonda made barbecued “rat” for Mr. Zimmern. He said he liked it and described the flavor of muskrat as “swampy and beefy.”
The television chef returned the favor by grilling up some of the eel they caught while out on the water. Justin Aaron is a waterman that catches eel and sells them overseas, but hadn’t tried the fish until Mr. Zimmern made it for them.
Mrs. Aaron said she really enjoyed the experience and the chance to share her way of life with Mr. Zimmern and his viewers.
“We are not actors. We are just real people, it’s our life,” she said.
Mr. Zimmern said Dorchester County is, “Where you can find people who still know what it means to live free and live off the land.”
Mrs. Aaron said she was very excited to have the chance to tell the world about the National Outdoor Show, held every year in Golden Hill.
“I talked a lot about the Outdoor Show,” Mrs. Aaron said smiling. “It’s like the Olympics for us.”
Her family has been a part of the Dorchester County tradition since it started. Her 85-year-old mother competed in the first skinning competition as a child.
The four-time World Muskrat Skinning Champion also took the opportunity to show Mr. Zimmern how to skin a muskrat, which he did.
Mr. Zimmern described Mrs. Aaron as, “Dangerous with a knife.”
While in Dorchester County, “Bizarre Foods America” also visited J.M. Clayton’s Seafood Company in Cambridge.
He toured the facility with Joe Brooks and watched Sissy Jones apply her skills as a crab picker, picking a crab in 19 second.
While in Dorchester County Mr. Zimmern also visited Old Salty’s Restaurant in Fishing Creek.
Dorchester County is featured in the first part of the episode to air on March 25, in the second half Mr. Zimmern tours and samples food in some of the markets and restaurants in and around Baltimore.
The Travel Channel created a television show for the culinary explorer in 2007. Mr. Zimmern has traveled the globe eating all things unusual. Now, Mr. Zimmern’s television program is focused on the bizarre food consumed in different parts of the United States.
Travel Channel officials said the show allows Mr. Zimmern to continue, “his quest to taste the weird and wonderful foods that can be found right here in the U.S. So whether it’s baked muskrat in Baltimore, deep fried piglet testicles on a hog farm in Iowa, or fermented fish eggs with Native Americans on an island in Alaska, Andrew is ready to tempt and test his palate without ever leaving his homeland!”