Wicked New England – Favorite Foods

Because there are five Wednesdays in March this year, let’s combine Wicked Wednesday with Wicked New England today.

Wickeds (and readers in the Comments section): What are your favorite New England foods? And which have you already included in one of your books?

Liz:  So much good New England food! I do love lobster rolls and French fries, but since I don’t eat real bread anymore  I’ve had to get creative. If I’m out, I’ll get the lobster on a salad (with the fries, of course!). At home, I found a fun vegan recipe reminiscent of the IMG_9169 traditional New England lobstah roll, but using tofu. It’s actually really good, and looks almost like the real thing! Since my books have food for pets, this, naturally, has not appeared. But maybe Stan will find a nice vegan cafe and try one…

Edith: Because of our long winters, when the growing season starts up it’s a huge treat to eat fresh local produce again in the spring. I suppose asparagus in May and local strawberries in June aren’t particular to New England, but I can never get asparagusmarinatedenough of them. The first thing I did when I moved three years ago was prepare a wide bed for asparagus crowns. Breaking off a stalk and eating it in the garden is just the best, and I included Cam’s Marinated Asparagus in A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die. And then there are sun-warmed heirloom tomatoes a little later in the summer…


Jessie: One of my favorites is Anadama Bread. It’s a yeast bread made with cornmeal, oatmeal  and molasses. We used to eat it often when I was a child and every now and again I bake a couple of loaves. I included a version of it in my book Maple Mayhem, which is a speciality of the protagonist’s grandmother, named Grandmadama Bread. Since that series features a sugarmaker I substituted maple syrup for the molasses and was pretty pleased with the results.

IMG_3801_2Sherry: I’ve live a lot of places since my husband was in the Air Force. You end up finding different favorite things for different parts of the country. Moving to Massachusetts opened up a whole new food world for me! My very favorite which I’d never had before is a lobster roll — heaven on a bun, a New England style bun, of course. Next comes pizza — I don’t know why they taste different and oh, so yummy there but they do. And one slice is the size of your head. Then I discovered Italian pastries — cannoli and lobster tails, perfection!

Julie: I love clambake foods–lobster, clams, corn, potatoes. YUM. But to top it off, the real New England food–ice cream. We love our ice cream here. Coffee ice cream is a special favorite. I used to love frappes (shakes to most of you) , but now I’m wicked happy with a dish of delish ice cream. One of my favorites comes from Somerset Creamery in Cataumet (down the Cape). Cranberry Bog ice cream has craisins, cranberries, walnuts, and white chocolate. So, so good. There is some food mentioned in Just Killing Time, but the food talk gets ramped up in Clock and Dagger.

Barb: Since we’ve just passed St. Patrick’s Day, I have to go with a New England Boiled Dinner. That’s corned beef, cabbage and other vegetable such as potatoes, carrots, and onion. It sounds disgusting, but cooked properly it ends up being a smoky, salty delight with a little crunch left in the cabbage.

Readers: Favorite New England food? Please dish! (The groan heard round the world – hey, it’s been a long month…)

30 Thoughts

  1. Whole fried clams. When I lived in the Midwest, I craved them so much. Asked for them as soon as I would get off the plane at Logan when I would come back to visit.

      1. I had a rather negative experience with fried clams, on one of my first ever dates in college. A nice guy took me out one afternoon and we drove around a lot of Boston, admiring the sights. Somewhere along the way we stopped to eat, and he had clams (I don’t recall that I did). He brought me back to my dorm and escorted me upstairs to my room (must have been a Sunday, which was the only time guys were allowed above the ground floor back then), and proceeded to regurgitate the clams–all over the radiator. Needless to say, I never saw him again, although he sent flowers.

  2. Hot lobster roll (the kind made with lobster meat bathed in butter and served on a grilled (top opening) hot dog roll. Absolute heaven. Like Edith, I love fresh asparagus. And I love, love, love fiddleheads–my mouth is watering, because the very short season is coming up! For non-New Englanders, a fiddlehead is the unfurled top of a wild fern. Lightly steamed, then tossed in butter, salt and pepper, perhaps with a squeeze of lemon juice, they are a real treat. Real maple syrup, of course. I’m including a maple recipe in an upcoming book. And, cheating a little bit by mentioning a local food from my home region in northern New York State, fresh cheese curds, which also get a mention in my Greek mysteries. And finally, wild black raspberries (we call them blackcaps back home). And now I need to go and get some breakfast 🙂

  3. I grew up eating lobster–from New Jersey (gasp!). But driving back and forth from Pennsylvania, I knew I was in Massachusetts when the rest stop restaurants on the Mass Pike offered lobster rolls.

    One of the first “foreign” foods I found in Massachusetts when I arrived was the “frappe.” They didn’t make those in New Jersey! And they came in coffee flavor–my favorite.

      1. We have those in New York State too, where they’re called “Glazier dogs.” (Glazier might be the company that makes them) I choose not to think too hard about what makes those skins so weirdly red.

      2. I’ve seen those here in the midwest. Mostly at ballparks and such. They’re called “red hots”. I’ve never eaten one, but I understand they taste pretty much like a regular hot dog.

  4. My first ever cranberry-orange anything was at a muffin chain in Boston. A long, very long, time ago. Could it have been called the Pewter Pot? I’ve been making and eating that combo ever since, in breads, scones and muffins. I have a few New England cookbooks and do love maple, cranberry, walnut, apples, in anything and especially combined. New England autumn on a plate! Plus, another Boston discovery, in what the rest of America called a soda fountain but Bostonians called a spa- lime rickey! Anyone remember those? ( I can make them. I worked in Brigham’s Harvard Square one summer)

    1. There used to be a Pewter Pot at Harvard Square (and I do remember the Brigham’s). That’s where I learned that Massachusetts restaurants (or some, at least) weren’t legally required to provide rest rooms for the public.

  5. I’m not sure what is or is not a New England food. I don’t think I’ve had many of those mentioned by all of you.

    However, if ice cream is a New England invention, that’s definitely on my list. I love the stuff, just about any flavor. I’m not a fan of coffee period, so that flavor is out. And I don’t like chocolate ice cream (love chocolate, don’t like chocolate ice cream), but just about any other flavor is absolutely delicious.

    1. I don’t know if we invented ice cream-in fact I doubt it, but we did invent the idea of selling ice to hot places so they could make it (as you’ll learn in my next book, Iced Under). I think Julie’s reference was to the fact that New Englanders consume more ice cream per capita than any other region of the country, which always struck me as odd since we have so many cold months, and also, we were the first region on the premium ice cream bandwagon–ie we take it seriously.

  6. Have to go with classic creamy New England style clam chowder, with lots of fresh Indian corn and pototoes (that red chowder they make in NY, sorry, lame-o). Johnnycakes are a Rhode Island pancake of cornmeal and flour, very good. And where else can you order a grinder and an orange tonic and not get laughed out of the building? When you order, you draw it out: “I’ll have the steak grindaaahhhh today, Paulie…”.
    Sadly, the regional terms are getting lost in the bland chaingang restaurants.

  7. I’m Midwestern born and bred, but my family’s roots (one side, anyway) are in New England, so I grew up eating New England boiled dinners and Anadama bread. Also love maple anything and and most things cranberry. Ice cream is my big weakness, and I love lobster. I used to like clams, but had an unfortunate experience with them. Ordered a clam dinner in a restaurant in Worcester and they hadn’t been cleaned properly. I can still feel that sandy grit in my teeth when I think about eating them. Not as bad as Sheila’s experience, but still . . . shudder!

    1. I’m so pleased to not be alone with the Anadama love! I bet it would be great studded with dried cranberries and slathered with maple butter!

  8. I’ve had little exposure to “New England” food traditions. I have had the opportunity to participate in a “real” clam bake at Hammersmith Farm as a part of a work related conference. Other than the raw oysters, I thoroughly enjoyed that dinner. I’m not fond of clams or oysters, but I’d probably enjoy all of the other food items listed. Corned beef and cabbage is common in the Midwest, so I’ve never thought of that as a Ne England related dinner.

    1. I don’t like clams or oysters either, unless the oysters are smoked – and then, yum. Interesting about the corned beef and cabbage in the Midwest. The Irish went everywhere!

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