It is official. We in Maine will have a Whoopie Pie Day. Mark your calendars for the Fourth Saturday in June; this year it falls on June 26, 2010. Amos Orcutt, head of the University of Maine Foundation, sent out an email announcement saying that Governor John Baldacci “has committed to proclaiming the fourth Saturday in June as Whoopie Pie Day in Maine. He and possibly the First Lady will attend the Whoopie Pie Festival in Dover-Foxcroft.”
Continue reading “Maine Whoopie Pie Day” »
Canned sardines were, for a while in the middle of the 1800s, an exotic and high status food, with their very own serving dish and a role at the table during the soup course.
Continue reading “Sardines Secret History” »
Amos Orcutt, President of the University of Maine Foundation, has written Governor Baldacci suggesting that legislation be passed this session declaring the Whoopie Pie as Maine’s Official State Dessert.
Continue reading “Whoopie Pie Proposed as Maine’s Official State Dessert” »
There are two things at least that you need to know about baked beans in Maine. One is that they ought to be made from large, and preferably colorful, Maine-grown beans like Jacobs Cattle, Soldier, Yellow Eye. The only smallish bean is the small all-brown Marifax beloved Down East. The little white Navy beans are for southern New England. The other thing is that a genuine, traditional baked bean in Maine is not very sweet. It used to be in the old days (early 1800s) that a quart of dried beans after they were soaked was adorned with two large spoonfuls of molasses. That isn’t much at all. Continue reading “Baked Beans: What You Need to Know” »
Here is a little ditty from a community cookbook published by a ladies aid organization ca: 1920s
One morning in the garden bed
The onions and the carrots said
Unto the parsley group:
“Oh, when shall we three meet again,
In thunder, lightning, hail or rain?”
“Alas,” replied in tones of pain
The parsley, “In the soup.”
Community cookbooks are recipe collections assembled by charitable organizations and sold to raise money for their cause. Some of the earliest appeared in the 1860s but during the 20th century thousands and thousands were made and sold. These cookbooks reveal regionally favorite dishes and also how well corporate test kitchen recipes reached the average household. Compilers had fun inserting bits of humorous poetry like the one above, pithy sayings, and “recipes” for preserving husbands or making a happy home.
Joe Booker stew, a fairly ordinary stew made with veal or beef, plus all the usual suspects in the vegetable department, topped sometimes with dumplings, seems to be a Boothbay specialty. I heard about it when Lynne Olver, the creator and maintainer of the Food Time Line website, wrote to ask me about its origins. Because there was a Maine connection, Lynne sent me what she turned up on the stew.
Continue reading “Joe Booker Stew” »
Speaking of whoopie pies, among anecdotes that have surfaced is this one worth sharing with Plating Up readers.
One Maine gentleman who hinted at being in his seventies wrote me to say that the original whoopie pie
were made, shockingly enough, in Massachusetts by the Berwick Cake Company. They were distributed by the Bangor Baking Company who made Mother’s bead, donuts, as well as hot dogs and hamburger rolls.
He said, “My memory takes me back over seven decades when a boy could buy a Whoopie Pie and a bottle of Moxie for about 25¢ and share it with his best girl. The object was to see who was going to laugh at the other that had whipped cream all over their face which would be remembered for many days.”
Further he wrote: “MORAL: You can stop a clock but you can not stop time.”
Nor apparently, whoopie pies.
Sandy Oliver, Food Historian, Author, MF&L columnist: The Way Things Were
It is amazing what you can do with potatoes, oats, and cabbage and whatever bits of bacon or sausage you might be able to get your hands on. The Irish were historically very good at it. They had to be.
Continue reading “Potatoes, Oats, Bacon and the Irish” »
Two charming historical kitchens and nuggets of Maine food history are on view in the Maine State Museum’s new exhibit “At Home in Maine.” I paid a visit on Monday and spent a wonderful hour and a half absorbing all that there was to see. I loved the French Canadian farmhouse kitchen and could imagine a huge pile of ploys on the wooden table, and more being baked on the stove.
Continue reading “In the Kitchen “At Home in Maine”” »
Our new president’s chili recipe (see here) reminds me that modern everyday American fare like chili and spaghetti got off to bumpy starts in the 20th century, with what look to be fuzzy ideas about how these dishes were supposed to go. These two dishes, plus chop suey, together with a few now-extinct recipes like Italian Delight, were considered foreign cooking in the 1920s and 1930s. The garbling of ingredients and ideas is amusing to us in the early 21st century, though bear in mind we are no doubt cooking up another plateful of chuckles for researchers fifty years hence.
Continue reading “Chili Con Carne on Spaghetti?” »
I’ve started smoking again. It often happens this time of year. I have mixed feelingsabout it. I can smell smoke in my clothes and hair, on my hands. My eyes get alittle irritated. Every half hour or so I have to put on my coat, gloves and bootsto step outside. It’s cold and windy, and a bit of a nuisance. I think it willbe worth it because I know I will quit again in a couple of days. That’sbecause I am smoking our hams.
Continue reading “Smoking Hams” »
Wait, cookies for New Years? I don’t know anyone who bakes cookies just for New Year’s Day but if it were two hundred years ago, quite a few of us would be busy baking up cookies, small cakes, other treats for all the company that would stop by on New Year’s Day. Of course, all this hospitality was pretty much confined to the fashionably prosperous in Colonial and Federal urban centers. Still, were it not for New Year cookies there might not be Christmas cookies, at least in New England.
Continue reading “New Year’s Cookies” »