FOOD: then and now

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FOOD: then and now

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Fev 26, 2008, 10:11 am

Who doesn't love a great clambake, a hot serving of baked beans on a Saturday night, or Nana's suet pudding? (just kiddin' on that last one).

Thankfully, over the last 200 years or so New England cuisine has gone global and we now enjoy a rich variety of foodstuffs. Here's a spot to share favorite New England dishes and recipes, past or present.

Fev 26, 2008, 12:56 pm

I LOVE clambakes!!!

Every year my dad's volunteer fire company hosts one. It draws people from all over. Some went to it as kids and then moved away and yet still make it a point to return "home" ever year for the event.

Unfortunatley, they don't do it old school style anymore (ie buried in the sand) but they heat up rocks and then cover them with freshly harvested rockweed and steam everything up good.

Fev 26, 2008, 4:55 pm

Johnnycakes are the Rhode island contribution to new England cookery.

Fev 26, 2008, 5:17 pm

>3 vpfluke: best made in the 'old days' with leftover bacon grease...of course, we know this is bad for us now...

Anadama Bread
(my kids still love this)
from "Cooking Down East" by Marjorie Standish c. 1969

2 cups hot water
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup molasses
2 tablespoons shortening
2 teaspoons salt
1 envelope dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
About 6 cups of flour

Bring water to a boil, add cormeal, slowly. Cook water and cornmeal together for just a couple of minutes. Add molasses, salt and shortening. Cook together until ingredients are well mixed.

Turn this mixture into a bowl and allow to cool to lukewarm. In meantime, measure 1/4 cup lukewarm wateer, dissolve yeast into this. When first mixture is lukewarm, add dissolved yeast.

Start adding sifted flour. When mixture make a stiff dough, turn onto a floured surface. Start kneading, add more flour as needed, continue kneading until dough is smooth and glossy.

Please dough in greased bowl. cover, place in a warm spot, allow dough to rise until doubled in bulk. Poke dough down in bowl and allow to rise once more. Turn dough onto floured surface and add a bit more flour, if needed. Let dough relax for about 10 minutes. Make into 2 loaves and place in greased loaf pans. Cover with a towel and let rise until loaves are about doubled in pans (do not allow any yeast dough to rise too high in pans however).

Bake 10 minutes at 450˚, reduce heat and bake 20 minutes at 325˚. Turn loaves from pan and cool on rack. While loaves are still hot, butter the tops of loaves.

*of course, I use an electric mixer with bread hook. This actually tastes similar to commercial bread products labelled "Canadian brown". It is a bit of a pain to make, so it's usually only made around Thanksgiving or another special occasion.

Fev 26, 2008, 11:51 pm

Indian pudding with vanilla ice cream! The Joy of Cooking recipe works just fine. It takes hours to make, though.

Fev 27, 2008, 7:53 am

I have never liked Indian pudding but I love bread, tapioca and rice puddings. Luckily, we were never served suet pudding, although the recipe was in my grandmother's box. . .

Fev 27, 2008, 9:23 am

OK, then, how about that soft molasses cookie recipe you mentioned on another thread (regarding the molasses flood)? My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Fev 27, 2008, 12:30 pm

While I'm not positive this one was the one my mother used, it's a likely candidate. Marjorie Standish had a column in the Maine Sunday Telegram for decades called "Cooking Down East" - many of her recipes and my mom's are very similar generally, and some she clearly got from Ms. Standish. I was not fond of the molasses cookies, however I like her soft chocolate cookies best.

Drop Molasses Cookies from Marjorie Standish "Cooking Down East" cookbook:

1/4 c shortening
1/2 c boiling water
1 tsp salt
1/2 c molasses
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp soda
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon

Place shortening in a bowl, pour in boiling water. Add salt. Stir in molasses and sugar. Add unbeaten egg and beat well.

Sift flour with baking powder, soda, ginger and cinnamon. Stir into mixture.

Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 275 for 12-15 minutes. Makes 24-30 cookies.

Editado: Fev 27, 2008, 1:32 pm

My great aunt on Cape Cod always wanted Anadama bread, but she bought it at her local grocer -- I don't remember her baking it herself. I think the store brand was adulterated with wheat.

She was from Providence, RI, originally, so liked coffee things, like coffee ice cream and coffee jello (she made this herself with gelatin). I read somewhere that Rhode Island is the only state in which coffee ice cream outsells chocolate (I read this 30+ years ago).

Fev 27, 2008, 1:37 pm

vpfluke - many places outside of RI haven't even heard of coffee ice cream...or coffee milk.

My sister lives in New Mexico now and we have to ship her coffee syrup every few months because they don't have it there....and don't know what it is. Every once in a while when we go visit will lug along a cooler & ice to bring her some coffee ice cream. But that always depends on our flight schedule.

Fev 27, 2008, 1:38 pm

When I was a kid in Rhode Island, I remember seeing a recipe in the newspaper Providence Evening Bulletin for making johnnycakes from scratch. This included the type of corn to purchase for grinding (was it dent corn?). Most people just buy the johnnycake mix these days as far as I can tell.

Providence has had a morning paper only since 1992, the Providence Journal.

Fev 27, 2008, 3:07 pm

Ah the Projo...

They've always had the morning post....and for many years they also had an evening addition but they stopped that in the mid-90s. Which caused me no end of issues because I needed to read the paper on a daily basis for a class in high school. At the time my parents only had the paper delivered on the weekend and didn't always remember to buy the newspaper in the morning....and by the time they got home and I asked them about it and we had to drive back out to the store it sometimes took awhile to find a place that still had copies of the paper left. I remember how my dad would complain about how they no longer put out an evening edition for then we wouldn't have all the problems we did.

It happened often enough that they eventually ordered daily delivery while I was taking that class so they wouldn't have to worry about it.

Fev 27, 2008, 3:09 pm

Anyone else a fan of Little Rhodie's Lemonade?

Always a treat at the R.W. Zoo.

Fev 27, 2008, 4:32 pm

Gosh, I even know who R.W. is, the Baptist founder of Providence Plantations (the added portion of the Rhode Island statename which gives is the longest name in the U.S. "Rhode Island and Providence Plantations").

Also, because people in RI & PP thought the state was big, Newport remained as a quasi capital and the State legislature met part of each session in Newport until 1900.

Mar 5, 2008, 3:46 pm

I remember stuffed quahogs when we lived in SE Massachusetts. A (big) hardshell clam variant, for those who aren't familiar. There is a Rhode Island site about them:

My RI memories of quahaugs (note, variant spelling) are vague, but I do remember looking for mussels when I was at camp.

Mar 5, 2008, 4:10 pm


Mar 5, 2008, 5:00 pm

Here's my Mom's recipe for Quahog Pancakes. It goes back a few generations on Cape Cod.

1 pint minced quahogs (use an old meat grinder if possible)
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 1/3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
Mix all ingredients but the quahogs; it should be like pancake batter. Add 1 pint of quahogs (more if desired). Fry in lightly greased fry pan like regular pancakes. These are also called fritters. Serve with catsup. Makes 8 pancakes.

Gladys Smith

Mar 5, 2008, 8:05 pm

Sounds yummy, don, however, I chose NOT to inherit my mother's meat grinder.

Mar 5, 2008, 10:30 pm

Sounds good to me, but my wife winced at the idea.

Mar 5, 2008, 10:48 pm

19> Serve with Vermont maple syrup then.


Mar 7, 2008, 7:39 am

My mother in law now lives in Virginia and the one thing she always makes sure to get when she comes up (to Massachusetts) are natural casing hotdogs. For some reason they don't seem to have them down South.

Mar 7, 2008, 12:00 pm

When we moved away from New England in the 1950's to Tennessee and Florida, my mother definitely would miss canned items like Snow's Clam Chowder, brown bread, and codfish cakes. I remember her going to every grocer in Memphis, TN, looking for these items.

Mar 7, 2008, 1:56 pm

Don't laugh, vpfluke, but my uncle's (by marriage) father started Snow's walking distance from my house; and this is the very factory that 2 of my aunts, 1 uncle, my father and my brothers and I worked in (of course, my brothers and I worked there during the summer in high school). Interestingly, we didn't eat many Snow's products. I suppose because we had such a large family, it wasn't economical. My favorite dish though was macaroni and cheese made with their "Welsh Rarebit" cheese sauce (made with sherry, I think). Or a can of the cheese sauce melted with a can of condensed tomato soup made "blushing bunny" which was served over toast. You can still get the chowders but they've been made in New Jersey for a couple decades, I think.

Set 30, 2008, 7:45 am

I was reading in Albion's Seed : Four British Folkways in America about English food at the time of New England colonization and how it was adapted to New England.

An important staple of this diet was 'pease porridge,' which gradually developed into what Lucy Larcom called 'the canonical dish of our Forefathers': New England baked beans. Field peas were among the first crops introduced to Massachusetts. . . . Peas were boiled or baked, and eaten hot or cold three times a day...a traditional cold weather fare for New Englanders of all classes. In the 18th century, 'pease' yielded to 'pea beans'.

It mentions brown bread, boiled dinner and our history of baking. I found it interesting personally, how much of that 17th century culture made it all the way down to my generation.

Set 30, 2008, 3:14 pm

When did molasses make it into peas porridge or baked beans?
I read Albion's Seed years ago, but forgot the food section.

Out 1, 2008, 10:35 pm

I took the book back already Bob, sorry. Although I don't remember it specifically mentioning the molasses (or salt pork for that matter), I would think it could've been used in the 17th century. Certainly there was a lot of trade going on with the West Indies in the latter part of the century. Sheer speculation on my part though.

Out 3, 2008, 2:42 pm

Avaland - what kind of pea beans would those be? I am imagining that they are something like B&M baked beans. Am I way off base?

Out 5, 2008, 4:36 pm

I miss the coffee shakes you could get in the local Burger Kings when Erin foods owned them in NH.

Out 6, 2008, 12:49 pm

>27 Fourpawz2: fourpawz, what my mother always called 'pea' beans are what one finds in the store called 'navy' beans: the little white ones.

>28 FicusFan: I have to say, ficus, coffee has never been my favorite flavor so I can't remember that!

Recipe for Apple Crisp ('tis the season!)

This specific recipe originally came from the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge (MA). My ex worked there in the 70s and got the recipe for me while we were still dating. However, the recipe is very similar to the one in my Maine cookbook.

8 apples (Cortland or MacIntosh preferred)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
7 tsp butter

Mix sugar and flour together. Use a pastry blender to cut the cold butter into the flour/sugar mix until crumbly. Peel and slice the apples, sprinkle with cinnamon and add with water to a 9x13 in. pan. Sprinkle the butter/flour/sugar topping over the top. Bake at 350º for about 35 minutes.

Notes. I mess with this recipe alot. I often substitute some of the flour with oatmeal or add nuts with the apples. I have added cranberries to the apples also. I have used other apples like Granny Smith when Macs and Cortlands are out of season. I also sometimes just use a full stick of butter and up the flour and sugar a little bit (just 'cause it bugs me to have one pat of butter leftover). I tend to use more than 8 apples because I like a higher apple to topping recipe.

Out 6, 2008, 12:50 pm

I still want to try the pancakes but I fear I would be the only one in the house eating them.

Out 6, 2008, 1:20 pm

I would be the only one in my family that might like QUAHOG PANCAKES.

Thinking about pancakes, I am reminded of johnnycakes, which are more of a Rhode Island and SE Mass. specialty. My sister Roben has visited a diner in East Greenwich, RI, which besides making them, will also sell you the prepared flour.

Out 7, 2008, 3:33 pm

Are you talking cornbread? That's what we called johnnycakes (my mother made them/it in an 8X8 pan instead of a frypan).

Out 7, 2008, 5:11 pm

Little Rhody doesn't know what cornbread is. Johnnycakes, I believe, use specially ground dent corn. They are usually fried flat in skillet, and are normally eaten at breakfast. And one puts butter and syrup on them like one does for pancakes. My Tennessee and Mississippi relatives are the ones who eat cornbread, and usually at dinner, also with butter, and sometimes spiced up.

Out 7, 2008, 8:25 pm

Wow, Snow's Clam chowder. I thought that was the only brand ever made.

Out 8, 2008, 4:26 pm

>33 vpfluke: I have to correct my typing. We called cornbread "johnnycake" not cakes.

>34 Sandydog1: I saw the Snow's brand on canned chicken last week. What is the world coming to?!?!

Nov 23, 2009, 8:30 am

I took my 93 year old aunt out to lunch this past week. She mentioned she had had a craving for "salmon wiggle" and made herself some. It was described as such: Make a white sauce, add flaked salmon and peas. Serve over toast or crackers.

This was new to me as I don't remember having salmon growing up. We had mostly haddock, mackerel, smelts, and maybe some halibut and cod (and my father and I liked sardines).

Nov 23, 2009, 6:19 pm

We didn't call it salmon wiggle so far as I know, but it sounds like something we had from time to time in public school cafeterias in Springfield.


Nov 25, 2009, 2:47 pm

I haven't heard the word (salmon) wiggle, but I remember having this very occasionally as a child. I'm pretty sure the salmon was canned. We were living in Rhode Island, when I had this in the early to mid 1950's.

Dez 3, 2014, 4:36 pm

I recognize some of these foods, but most are mystery to me. I suspect that some of them are from along the shore and not from inland.


Dez 4, 2014, 12:50 pm

I'm not entirely sure of the credibility of the author of that piece. I thought it was just the wintergreen Necco wafers that sparked. :) And it's maple sugar candy, not maple syrup candy. And where was brown bread (preferably with raisins) and coffee ice cream and Bailey's hot fudge sundaes (the original, incidentally)?

Dez 6, 2014, 9:43 pm

Moxie to me always tasted terrible, but it is akin to sarsaparilla, for those who drink the latter. Lots of my relatives who live on the north shore (Boston) like mozie. My mother normally made brown bread without raisins, but she also made steamed chocolate bread which was quite delicious, and used an antique contraption that held the can of the dough clamped to a boiling pot of water (same for the brown bread). Then there was apple brown betty with a hard sweet sauce.

Although coffee ice cream is the favorite ice cream of Rhode Island, it is readily available in New York City.

Dez 6, 2014, 10:25 pm

By the time I had achieved my majority I loved Moxie. It is not widely available. About a decade and a half ago I won $50 in an office drawing. I called, I think, Maine and ordered a case of cans of Moxie to be shipped six time zones and distributed the cans, when they came, in the office. I got very few comments and a few cans returned unopened.

I would still drink sugary carbonated beverages if I could get it in stores.

I liked Necco wafers, at least when I had a yen for them.


Fev 10, 2015, 2:27 pm

>39 Mr.Durick: >40 Marissa_Doyle: I'm with Marissa, the author has some serious credibility problems.

Fluff, of course. Brown bread, yes! with raisins (and, if not homemade, it has to be B&M, of course). Moxie (one taste did it for me). Scooter pies, whoopie pies and homemade Need'ems. Anadama bread, salmon wiggie and clam casserole. And I still eat NECCO wafers once in a while (but, darn it, they've mixed coffee ones in the chocolate package).

I certainly have eaten at Friendly's (Maine's version used to be Deering Ice Cream), but have never had the buffalo wings. My parents were big on both ginger ice cream, not sure how local that was though.

Nov 1, 2015, 10:58 pm

Wow! this sounds amazing.

Dez 6, 2016, 1:56 pm

I just reread this thread! It's still interesting (and funny!) in some places. I'm wondering if my husband (not a native New Englander) would eat the clam pancakes if I made them.

So, this summer my daughter asked me to make whoopie pies for her wedding. Not wanting to add to the stress of the day, I agreed to make them ahead and freeze them, for her to use before or after the big day with her friends. I made 80!

We did have some discussion around the recipe. First, I made the traditional recipe that uses shortening in both the cookie and filling. Secondly, I made another updated version (maybe from Cook's Illustrated?) which used butter in the cookie and a mix of buttercream frosting & Fluff (marshmallow creme) for the filling. In the end, I made the cookies from the shortening recipe (they just worked out better) and the filling from the 2nd recipe (buttercream & Fluff), mostly because the Fluff eliminates the need for separating eggs and folding eggs whites into the sugar/shortening mix.

Any of you have whoopie/whoopsie pie experiences?

Dez 6, 2016, 7:04 pm

>45 avaland: I would like to make them someday. My husband loves his mother's, but she won't share her recipe.

I also like Moxie, and have a funny story - my brother does not drink alcohol, but he does like to play any sort of game. He felt that he was missing out on the drinking games that his friends played, so he came up with a plan to play these games with shots of Moxie. Whoever can stand the taste longest, wins :D

Since we grew up drinking it, he usually wins. Moxie Pong was rough though. And one friend only drinks Diet Moxie, which is unforgivable.

Dez 8, 2016, 6:11 am

>46 Darth-Heather: OMG, there's a diet Moxie?!