Chowders, Baked Beans, And Blueberry Pie:
A historical and contemporary look at setting the Maine table.
Facilitator – Brooke Dojny
Dates & Times – Thursdays, Apr. 4–25, 3-5pm
Locations – Blue Hill Public Library, Holbrook Room & Brooke’s Kitchen
Maine’s climate and geography have kept the state isolated from the culinary mainstream long enough for it to have developed its own unique food culture and traditions - many persist to this day. Lots of Mainers still eat molassey baked yellow-eye or Jacob’s Cattle beans with brown bread or buttermilk biscuits. They simmer up pots of milky haddock chowder or simple, rich lobster stews, and they bake hermit cookies or a flaky lard-crusted blueberry pie for dessert. In two discussion sessions we will explore the roots of these traditions via the work of well-known cookbook authors and other writers, and share our own experiences with Maine food; at the alternate two meetings, which will be held in my kitchen, we will cook and eat some of the dishes mentioned above. There is a nominal additional fee for ingredients.
Brooke Dojny is a food journalist and author of more than a dozen cookbooks, including The New England Cookbook, Dishing up Maine, and Lobster!
Recommended Reading Material:
The following books/writers/articles are suggested as good background reading to get discussions started. None are mandatory but I hope that dipping into them will whet your appetite.
I plan to photocopy some other essays on the subject and will get them to you before our first class meeting.
Dishing up Maine, Brooke Dojny, 2006. Copies available
at BH and Brooklin libraries or on Amazon. Or I can sell you a copy for $13.00.
Let me know if you would like to buy from me and I’ll arrange to get it to you.
Introduction and sidebar material in this book - as well as recipes - can provide some background.
Maine Home Cooking, Sandra Oliver, 2012. One of the
country’s pre-eminent food historians, Sandy lives on Islesboro and specializes
in New England, particularly Maine, food history. Available at BH and Brooklin
libraries or online.
Saltwater Foodways, Sandra Oliver, 1995. A historical and scholarly look at 19th century New England food. The chapter on the origins of chowder is especially noteworthy. Brooklin library has a copy.
Saltwater Seasonings, Sarah Leah Chase, 1992. Sarah, who also has local ties (sister of Jonathan) has written a beautifully photographed and well-researched book about Maine foodways. Blue Hill library has a copy.
Cooking Down East, Marjorie Standish, 1969. Maine
native Standish wrote for the Maine Sunday Telegram for 25 years and collected
some of her most popular recipes in this book. Some gems of wisdom to be
gleaned from her headnotes and sidebars. Blue Hill library owns a copy.
Good Maine Food, Marjorie Mosser, 1939, 1947, 1974. A charming collection of old Maine recipes by Kenneth Roberts’ former secretary. Copies available at both BH and Brooklin.