AMSTERDAM GO TO CANADA — Lobsters, Maple Sugar and Clams with Bellies
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In colonial times in North America, lobsters, which were too plentiful, were used to fertilize fields and bait hooks for fishing. These scampering water creatures were also served to children, prisoners and indentured servants. Now they’re pricey, in high demand and a draw for abundant tourist bucks. oo many annual cruises on Holland America’s six-year-old, very well-appointed Amsterdam. Our stops were at Newport, Gloucester and Bar Harbor in the U.S. and on to Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, the Ssaguaney River, Quebec City and we terminated the sophisticated city of Montreal.

We had many taste treats during our travels, then we adventured into restaurants at our different ports and learned what their menus had to offer. We also learned what the natives of this part of the world were dealt as to agriculture, sharings with original settlers with their earlier English and French influences. The southern areas have the best lobster catch in Canada, and the Gulf Stream brings great fish variety to the entire area.

When they arrived in the new world they discovered such new foods as corn, maple syrup, local game, squash, cranberries and sweet potatoes. However, it had to be “hearty, filling and preservable against inhospitable weather.” Thrift and “Necessity is the mother of invention” were overriding credos of that day.

The American Indians taught the Colonists how to tap the maple tree for its sap and boil it down to what the Indians called “sweetwater. The “sugarmakers” insert spouts into the maple trees (a grove of which is called a “sugarbush”) and hang buckets from them to catch the sap. Quite simply, maple syrup is sap that has been boiled until much of the water has evaporated and the sap is thick and syrupy.

Spices filtered into New England from all parts of the world as explorers “stopped off.” Cooking, itself, centered almostly entirely on bread, beans, fish and salt meat. The British habit of overcooking came with them, also. They ate a lot of salt pork, because they didn’t have money to fatten cattle with grain, which they needed to eat directly. Their pigs foraged for themselves.

The above-ground vegetable growing season was short and so were leafy green vegetables. Hardy cold-weather root vegetables were in abundance. “Root cellars” kept these for food throughout the long winters. Veggies most common were: corn, potatoes, beets, carrots and parsnips. Squashes were pumpkin and butternut.

LEGACY DISHES

Plentiful salmon, scallops, halibut, haddock, tuna, mussels, and other seafood pulled straight from the sea just hours before.

Boston Baked Beans: pea beans slow-simmered with spices, pork and molasses

Lobster – plain, in cream sauces, over pasta or casserole. Sometimes garlic is added to drawn butter

Boston Brown Bread: a baked or steamed classic bread made from rye flour, yellow cornmeal, graham flour, molasses, buttermilk, seasonings and raisins

Fried Mush: solidified Hasty Pudding

Grunt (aka slump): Stewed, sweetened berries topped with spoonfuls of biscuit dough and simmered until dough becomes a dumpling

Harvard Beets: Sliced beets with vinegar in sweetened cornstarch-thickened sauce.

Hasty Pudding: Porridge-like mixture of cornmeal and boiling water, often served with maple syrup or molasses

Cornmeal, organic, stone-ground flour

Chowder – a stew of fish or seafood, salt pork, onions and potatoes in a tomato, milk or clear broth.

Cranberry Compote: Cranberries, juice and brown sugar, simmered and used as a sauce.

Johnycake: Also jonnycake, Journet Cake, a thin pancake of cornmeal, salt and boiling water

Pandowdy: Baked dessert of berries or apples topped with sugar, spices, butter and biscuit crust, baked

Pumpkin Sauce: Pumpkin stewed with fat, spices, sugar and vinegar

Quahogs: Large, flavorful hardshell clams

Red Flannel Hash: Chopped and fried corned beef, potatoes and beets, sometimes topped with a fried egg

Succotash: Mixture of beans and corn

As one travels more northward in the region, these dishes came more into play, partly due to the French influence:

Wild chanterelle and porcini mushrooms

Wild game

Dried fish, – cod, haddock or halibut salted and dried for preservation

Rappie pie – a dish made from raw, grated potatoes pressed to remove liquid and meat.

Salted onions: green onions are preserved in salted and used in cooking during the winters

Malpeque oysters – recognized as one of the world’s finest oysters, cultivated off of Prince Edward Island

Fish cakes made from salt cod and potatoes

Cipaille – a pie with meat and vegetables

Poutine – French Fries with cheese curds and gravy

Pot-en-Pot – a dish with seafood and potatoes

Maple pie – a crumb-topped maple-flavored pie

Maple curry sauce – with chicken

About Marty Martindale

Foodsite Magazine and Marty aim to help the cooking-challenged avoid dependence on others due to lack of cooking knowhow. We concentrate on quick breakfasts, portable lunches and “good-4-u” night meals. With readily available web translation, the magazine explains separate foods, a little of their history, their nutrition, suggested “go-withs,” serving ideas and links to foodsites with recipes.

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