As many of you know, I am a history buff. I am also a travel buff. So what does one do with these two loves? Well, ever since I graduated undergrad and began my graduate work, I have been trying to figure that out myself! Thankfully, I think I have finally found what I want to do with my life - work in a study abroad office! I have been working as a study abroad advisor for a few months now and I love every minute of it! One of the perks of my job is that I am also able to interact with the international students who attend our school. As a result, I have met so many wonderful and interesting students!
So what does my love of studying abroad and working with international students have to do with this post??? Well, all of our international students bring so much culture and knew knowledge about the world to our office. However, the students are constantly saying how they want to learn more about American culture and understand our way of life. So, I decided that I wanted them to experience the authentic tastes of New England. And this is where my love of history came into play...
Now begins your journey back to Colonial New England!
Johnnycakes (aka Journey Cakes)
Johnnycakes (or Journey Cakes because they were often taken as food to eat on long journeys) were a type of cornmeal flatbread that was an American staple. The johnnycake is great served with maple syrup and butter, so I made maple butter! Just combine 1 stick of butter with 1/4 cup maple syrup. Mix well and then refrigerate until the butter sets. I promise you, it is delicious!
Boston Brown Bread
Boston Brown bread is a dark, and slightly sweet bread made with wheat and rye flowers and molasses. This is pretty quick bread to make since there is no rising involved like other breads. Once the batter is combined, you pour into a greased coffee can or cylinder shape pan, cover it, and steam it in the oven for 2 hours. This bread also goes great with the maple butter!
Boston Baked Beans
Boston is not called Beantown for nothing!
This was actually my first time baking beans as opposed to cooking them in a crock-pot, and they came out just as delicious! The pilgrims initially learned to prepare these beans from the Native Americans, and they added molasses to sweeten them and bacon or pork to add a little salt flavor.
When the colonists first arrived, they tried to recreate many of their homeland dishes. However, the colonists did not yet have many of the same ingredients that they were used to having, but they did have an abundance of cornmeal thanks to the Indians. As a result, the traditional Hasty Pudding from England (made with wheat flour) turned into Indian Pudding made with the Indian cornmeal. This pudding was traditionally served warm as a dessert but can also be served cold in the morning for breakfast.
And now, I have saved the best for last....
Joe Froggers & Hot Buttered Rum
Joe Froggers have become my new favorite cookie! I had never actually had them until this past summer when I was in Marblehead, MA, at the Landing restaurant because that is where the cookie originated. The cookies were created and baked by the one black couple living in Marblehead, MA. The couple, known as Old Black Joe and Aunt Crese, lived in a tavern on Gingerbread Hill. The cookies were named after Old Black Joe and the Frogger comes from the fact that they lived near a pond with several frogs always croaking. Since these cookies can last for weeks without going stale, fisherman would take barrels of these cookies on their journeys.
As I am sure you have noticed, many of these recipes require either molasses and/or cornmeal. Many of the dishes served in colonial times were made from these ingredients since they were in abundance. It is also the reason why rum was so popular! That is why I suggest serving these foods, especially the Joe Froggers, with a glass of Hot Buttered Rum!
Hot Buttered Rum recipe (makes 2):
-2 to 4 tablespoons brown sugar
-2 teaspoons butter
-Pinch of salt
-Pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves
-4 oz. dark rum (2 oz. per glass)
In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, salt, and spices. Refrigerate until firm. Once ready, divide the mixture in half and place in the bottom of each glass. Pour in 2 oz of rum per glass and top off with boiling water.
For the recipe and more information on Joe Froggers, click here.
For colonial recipes like the ones above and more, click here.
I hope you all enjoyed this colonial adventure as much the students and I did!