Old Fashioned New England Dishes and Drinks That Are Still Popular: Eat This, Not That

New England set the table for a great meal when the Pilgrims arrived in Provincetown on Cape Cod, and we’ve been celebrating that meal ever since. In fact, New Englanders have given America some of our most iconic dishes over the years (we’re looking at you, New England clam chowder and Maine lobster rolls!). so familiar with that they are still easy to find below throughout the region. Read on for 13 of the best and most loved New England dishes and drinks.


Kitty Broihier, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant for the Wild Blueberry Association of North America, says wild blueberry pie is on New England menus, potlucks and barbecues, especially in the summer but also during throughout the year, since most of the harvest is frozen.

“It’s a simple cake that brings out the intense flavor and color of wild blueberries,” says Broihier. “Of course, no one eats dessert for its nutritional benefits, but it’s good to know that wild blueberries are packed with purple-blue pigments called anthocyanins, which science suggests are linked to brain/cognition health benefits, heart , the eyes and more.”

fruit buckle

In the cobbler family, a buckle is an old New England favorite, says Kathy Kingsley of Flavor-feed. “It’s usually made with berries that are folded into a tender, yellow batter and topped with sweet, crunchy crumbs.” Blueberries are usually the fruit of choice. Buckle up for this versatile treat, for breakfast or dessert.


Stratagems are a New England thing, as well as a Canadian one. It’s an Acadian dish made from buckwheat flour pancakes that are usually finished with butter and maple syrup. Think of it as a cross between a pancake and a bun with lots of holes in the top. They are also sometimes served for dinner, rolled up with baked beans or other savory fillings. New Englander Jesse Souza, executive chef at Front & Main in Waterville, Maine, applauds the sourcing of local ingredients for his tactics. The buckwheat flour is sourced from Maine Grains of Skowhegan, Maine, and the syrup is produced by Battleridge Syrup in Clinton, Maine. Souza also adds caramelized apples and whipped sweet ricotta. yum.


This quirkily named ice cream drink is a Rhode Island treat that dates back to the World War II era. Its ingredient list is pretty simple: coffee syrup, ice cream, and milk (think: milkshake). The origins of the popular drink and its name are unclear.

According to npr, the coffee cabinet was probably the lucky creation of chance: simply put, Rhode Island had a lot of milk from dairy farms and a lot of Italian Americans who loved coffee syrup.

These days, coffee cabinets are still a favorite gift in Rhode Island. An especially popular place to get them is the old soda fountain at Delekta’s Pharmacy in Warren.

But why is it called a cabinet? One theory: Apparently, the machine used to mix the ingredients was kept inside a wooden box or cabinet.

coffee with milk

While we’re on the subject of coffee syrup, Rhode Island was once home to several coffee syrup manufacturers, including Autocrat, which is still based in the Ocean State, according to NPR.

Today, coffee milk – just coffee syrup and milk – is the official beverage of the state of Rhode Island, a title it received in 1993.

Boston Chocolate Cream Pie

The Parker House Hotel in downtown Boston has bragging rights as the place where the Boston Cream Pie was invented in 1856. It’s technically not a pie, but rather a yellow butter pie or sponge cake with a rich sweet cream and a thick chocolate glaze.

According to Historic Hotels of America, the popular dessert was known as Chocolate Cream Pie and became a Betty Crocker boxed mix in 1958. It is still a sought-after favorite on menus in Boston and throughout New England. In fact, in 1996 Boston Cream Pie was declared the official dessert of the state of Massachusetts.

white clam pizza

It is believed to have been introduced to Connecticut in the early 20th century, when immigrants from Naples, Italy, settled in the area. This pizza (similar to New York-style thin-crust pizza) is famous for its “char, chewiness.” , shape and toppings,” according to New England native Lyndsay Crescenti of The Purposely Lost. The white clam apizza first appeared at the famed Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in New Haven. “The signature oblong pizza crust is topped with baby neck clams, garlic, oregano, grated pecorino cheese and a drizzle of olive oil,” says Crescenti.

Ron Medford
Big Ten / Facebook

Originally produced in colonial Medford, Massachusetts, this rum has been a New England tradition since 1715, according to Boston-based GrandTen Distilling.

In fact, it is said that on his famous midnight ride during the Rum-Powered Revolution, Paul Revere passed through Medford in search of a little shot of the spirit to fuel his mission.

The rum contains pure black belt molasses and a New England wild yeast blend that is sent through an all-copper small-batch pot still, then matured in charred American white oak barrels. It has a rich brown sugar and caramel nose that lands with a nice warmth and bourbon-like character.

“Medford Rum is a true family spirit at the forefront of the new wave of New England-style rums,” says a GrandTen spokesperson, “a category that is accelerating and drawing national attention.”

bowl of new england clam chowder chowder

According to Jasper White’s “50 Chowders,” the oldest known printed clam chowder recipe appeared in the Boston Evening Mail on September 23, 1751.

New England clam chowder is thick and creamy or thin and milky, with lots of tender clams, and is served with oyster crackers. Manhattan and Rhode Island clam chowders are not milk or cream based; instead, Manhattan is always made with tomatoes, and Rhode Island is a clear or red broth (courtesy of Stewed Tomatoes).

Seventy years ago, Legal Sea Foods opened as a fish market in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has since cast a wider net: It now operates 23 restaurants on the East Coast. The menu features a variety of quintessential New England cuisines, including the famous New England clam chowder, which has been served at nearly every presidential inauguration since 1981.

lobster rolls

For more than 400 years, lobster fishing has been a prominent industry in New England’s coastal waters. Now a culinary delicacy, these crustaceans were once very cheap due to their abundance along the coast, especially in Maine. Man, times have changed: These days, lobster is often one of the most expensive items on any menu in New England (or anywhere, for that matter!).

Lobster rolls are the new kid on the block, relatively speaking. According to new england todayPerry’s in Milford, Connecticut, introduced in 1929 hot buttered lobster served on a flat-sided, grilled split frankfurter roll. Maine lobster rolls are made with cold lobster meat coated with mayonnaise and also rolled.

boston brown bread

My mom grew up in South Boston, where whole grain bread was a ritual on Saturday nights. suppah. Traditionally, the dense treacle bread is steamed in a coffee can and served with baked beans and sausage. Bakeries in Southie and elsewhere in Boston always sold it on Saturdays. “You walked into the bakery and the smell was wonderful,” Mom says. Today, you can buy cans of B&M Brown Bread in supermarkets and markets or make it at home.

fried clams

Fried clams are believed to have been invented in Essex, Massachusetts in 1916, and are still served in the same spot at Woodman’s Restaurant.

His popularity spread throughout Boston and eventually throughout New England (and beyond). Today, fried clams, whole with pancetta or clam strips without, are served in almost every New England seafood shack.

“There’s nothing better than a paper plate full of freshly picked and fried New England clams and a stack of French fries on a summer day,” says Samantha Hamilton of New England Wonderlust.

RELATED: 8 “Southern” Foods That Aren’t Actually Southern

cape cod

The tart little red berry is celebrated in New England in jams, jellies and muffins, and is a rock star in Cape Codder, Massachusetts’ signature sip, also known as cranberry-juice vodka. Cape Cod locals and tourists have been calling for what is known locally as Cape Codder for decades.

The history of the popular sip is tied to Ocean Spray, which first marketed the cocktail made from cranberry juice, vodka and lime as Red Devil in the 1940s.

Leave a Comment