New England Eats

Friday, January 6, 2012

I've made no secret of the fact that sometimes New England feels like a foreign land to me. What with the accents & the unspoken driving rules, I'm a fish out of Midwestern waters here sometimes.

We've already discussed the fact that New Englanders refer to milkshakes as "frappes" & that I'm not a fan of the top-loading hot dogs buns popular here.

  • Lobster rolls
    This one is a gimme. Maine is, hands down, the country's premier destination for lobster lovers, & lobster rolls are one of the most delicious ways to consume this popular crustacean. Lobster rolls are buttery grilled hot dog rolls (not the typical weird New England kind) filled with a cold lobster salad concoction of tail, claw & knuckle meat & mayo. Did you know that some New England McDonald's even sell a seasonal McLobster Roll? Not a joke.

  • Anadama bread
    Made of cornmeal & molasses, this bread is a New England staple I've yet to see elsewhere in the country. I've never tried it, mostly because it sounds heavy & because the only place where I ever order toast (incidentally named The Friendly Toast) has such good cayenne-cheddar bread that I'd never dream of ordering anything different.

  • Whoopie pies
    Apparently Maine & Pennsylvania are duking it out over who "owns" whoopie pies. Legislators in Maine voted it the state's official treat last March, much to the dismay of Keystone State residents, who call these sweet treats "gobs" & contend that the dessert's origins come from the Pennsylvania Dutch. Regardless, believe me on this one: New England loves its whoopie pies. No complaints here!

  • Baked beans
    When ordering brunch in New England, your options are usually hash browns or baked beans. Say what? I love me some baked beans, I'd just never have thought to eat them from breakfast. Cookouts, yes, brunch no. But I guess it's not totally crazy: Why do you think Boston is called Beantown?!

  • Roast beef
    I can't find any Internet proof of this craze other than the fact that a Google search for "New England roast beef" brings up pages & pages of sandwich joints that specialize in roast beef, which I'd never heard of before moving here, aside from Arby's. I can think of at least three roast beef shops in Portsmouth alone.

  • Popovers
    A cross between a croissant & a custard, popovers are hollow, muffin-shaped pastry puffs that are crusty on the outside (in a good way) with a gooier, egg-like texture on the inside. They're great with jam & even better in soup, but I'd never heard of them before moving here.

By the way, Wikipedia tells me that Portsmouth is famous for its orange cake, which is not something I've seen anywhere. It's a shame, too, because, hey, that sounds kind of delicious.

So tell me: What foods are unique to your neck of the woods?

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