New England cuisine refers to the traditional culinary culture of the six states (Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine) that make up the region. It is heavily influenced by the pilgrims who resided in the area during the earlier period of European settlement in the United States.
New-England Cuisine: History and Cultural Influences
The puritans who initially settled in the New England region are the biggest influence in New England cuisine – to this day. As most of them had immigrated from Eastern England, where baking was the predominant culinary style, baked goods (such as pies) are still a staple of today’s New England cuisine. With the region being on the Atlantic coastline, seafood is another obvious staple of New England cuisine. Dairy, especially creams and cheeses, is another signature characteristic of new England cuisine. The dairy industry was one of the first successful economic activities in the region during its earliest years.
What is Unique About New England Cuisine?
While vegetarianism and veganism are fast gaining popularity in 21st century America, it was already an established mainstream cuisine option in the 18th and 19th centuries, especially in the State of Maine. In fact, Philadelphia is recognized by most culinary historians as the birthplace of the modern-day vegetarianism movement.
The Birthplace of the Thanksgiving Dinner
As the initial theater of contact between European settlers and Native Americans, the first thanksgiving dinner was held in New England, specifically on Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts. As such, key features of the thanksgiving dinner, such as the baked turkey, pies, and cranberry sauce, are quintessential elements of New England cuisine.
Although maple syrup is often associated with Canada, it is widely produced and consumed in New England as a key element in the region’s culinary heritage.