daily meal

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Foodbuzz 24x24: A Journey Back to Colonial New England

First off, let me start by saying how excited I am to be participating in this month's Foodbuzz 24x24! It was my first time participating in this event so I hope you all enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed making these historical goods!

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. 

Indian Pudding 

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)
-Boiling water

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! 

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  1. Great historical post! Being from New England, I can totally appreciate the food you featured. Except...I've never had a Joe Frogger! I wonder how your international students enjoyed these traditional treats! Everything looks fantastic!

  2. Oh they are so good! If you live near marblehead, ma, many of their restaurants and bakeries serve them! I had them at The Landing restaurant over the summer with the rum... and mmm..... heaven!

  3. Elyse, congrats on your first 24x24! I just had lunch and now I'm hungry again...especially for the Joe Froggers :)

  4. I love this idea. I love going to old New England restaurants in Boston and having a few of these dishes. Congrats on being chosen.

  5. How cool! I would love to try and recreate old recipes, or try to come up with something described but maybe not with a step-by-step recipe. Lovely post! I really would love to try some of these items. :)

  6. Yay history! I just came back from a trip from Washington DC, Virginia, and North Carolina. The colonial feel of it all was pretty magical - you don't get the same thing out here on the West Coast.

    Love the historical foodie journey :)

  7. The Johny cakes and Indian pudding looks heaven and the best among the rest of the recipes here.

    Congrat on your 24X24.

  8. OK, as both a New Englander and a historical recipe buff...the utter awesomeness of this post is just killing me. I love it! I'm from Rhode Island, which has an especial connection to jonnycakes, so I'm so pleased to see them up here. Great job!

  9. What a fun post and congrats on your Foodbuzz 24 x 24! I love the brown bread in the coffee can. I've never seen that before, but it sounds [and looks] delicious!

  10. Loved this! And hot buttered rum...yum!

  11. AMAZING 24X24! I loved every single recipe! I love history (and travelling) too, so we have something more in common! ;-)

  12. What a GREAT 24x24! Congratulations on being selected! I love Johnny Cakes! Being a Southerner - they serve them a LOT! ...and the brown bread and beans look delicious! GREAT post!

  13. I wish I was one of your students. You have got be be such a fun teacher! Just love bread made in a coffee can!

  14. Woo hoo! Great 24x24! Your johnnycakes turned out beautifully! And that hot buttered rum...WOWSA!

  15. Oh so that's where "Johnycakes" get's its name from!I have my eye on your Johnycakes, Mmmm,they look so delicious!I'd rather have all these Colonial treats from you than a restaurant!

  16. What a fun 24x24 topic! I enjoyed reading the history of the food and I now only wish I can have all these yummy food. The Boston Brown Bread is interesting - Never thought coffee can can be used for baking bread! Congrats on 24x24!

  17. This was so interesting and fun to read! I'm really into the idea of making that brown bread, specifically--it looks delicious. So does the hot buttered rum.

  18. Great post! Everything looks fantastic! I can't wait to try some Joe Froggers especially with some hot buttered rum!

  19. Elyse, I adore your post and love how you've introduced us to these different Colonial treats and provided us with fascinating history. Beans and molasses? Sounds a lovely touch. Love all of them. These Johnny cakes look a bit like pikelets but the indian pudding and the maple butter on that Boston bread sounds gorgeous.

  20. I am glad you emailed this to me, I really like some of these and have clicked on the links to the recipes. The brown bread looks amazing! Congrats on being chose for 24X24, your theme was one of the most unique I have seen!

  21. I love the bread baked in a can! awesome!

  22. oh my, this all looks so delicious! I really love the Johnny cakes!

  23. This is absolutely incredible. Fantastic storytelling and tasty recipes.

  24. Wow - thanks for sharing the history behind these foods - so interesting. The Boston brown bread looks and sounds delicious.