Massachusetts takes its name from the Massachusett tribe of Native Americans, who lived in the Great Blue Hill region, south of Boston. The Indian term supposedly means "at or about the Great Hill".Â Many of New England'sÂ Puritan settlers were from eastern England, where baking foods such as pies, beans, and turkey were more common than frying.Â Massachusetts food is characterized by extensive use of seafood and dairy products; which is based on its historical reliance on the seaports andÂ the fishing industry.Â Typical New Englanders found dozens of uses for cod, either fresh or dried or salted. They used cod to make fish cakes, chowder, boiled dinners, and fish hash.Â Probably the most famous food tradition is the cooking of Baked Beans on Saturday.Â This tradition began with the Puritans who could not work on the Sabbath; therefore the Bean Pot was placed in the fireplace early on Saturday morning; the leftovers from Saturday nights dinner were kept in the Bean Pot and served for breakfast on Sunday .
Official State Foods
- State Muffin: Corn Muffin The schoolchildren of Massachusetts petitioned for the Corn Muffin, a staple of New England cooking, and the Legislature finally made it official in 1986.
- State Beverage: Cranberry JuiceÂ Â This drink became the beverage of the Commonwealth on May 4, 1970. This was a tribute to the great Massachusetts cranberry industry which is the world headquarters of Ocean Spray Cranberries .
- State Dessert: Boston Cream Pie
- State Cookie: Chocolate Chip CookieÂ A third grade class from Somerset proposed the bill to honor the cookie invented in 1930 at the Toll House Restaurant in Whitman.
- State Doughnut: Boston Creme
- State Berry: Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon)
- State Fish: CodÂ Â (Gadus morrhua). is a soft-finned fish, averaging 10-20 lbs. This fish is olive grey with lateral lines paler than the rest of the body tint. Both Native Americans and Pilgrims used them as common food and fertilizer.
- State Game Bird: Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), which was eaten at the first Thanksgiving, was designated the state game bird on December 23, 1991
- State Bean: The Navy Bean Â In 1993 the legislature finally determined that the Navy Bean had been the original bean in the famous and venerable Boston Baked Bean recipe.
Massachusett also has several popular foods associated with the state. Some of the most famous are:
According to the food historians, the word chowder "and its application to fisherman's stew comes from France. Versions of la chaudree, (cauldron) are common along the coastÂ 1836 "clam chowder" was known in Boston, where its associations are still strong, throughout the century chowder was less commonly a dish of clams than of fish, usually cod or haddock, and by the 1840s potatoes had become a traditional ingredient.Â Chowder was a staple dish of New Englanders, and for sailors merely another another way to make a constant diet of fish palatable...
- Cod cakesÂ In the 1700s a typical Sunday breakfast in Boston consisted of codfish cakes or creamed codfish, baked beans, and brown bread.
- Corn Chowder
- Graham crackers
- Boston baked beans & brown breadÂ A moist, dark-brown bread of cornmeal, rye flour, molasses, buttermilk, and raisins was steamed in cylindrical molds and served with baked beans.
- Boston cream pie "Boston cream pie. A pie made of white cake and custard filling or topping. If chocolate icing is added, it is called "Parker House chocolate pie," after the Parker House in Boston, Massachusetts, where the embellishment was first contrived. The pie goes back to early American history, when it was sometimes called "Pudding-cake pie," or, when made with a raspberry jelly filling,Â it was called "Mrs. Washington's pie," The first mention of the dessert as "Boston cream pie" was in the New York Herald in 1855."
- CrackersÂ It should come as no surprise that crackers were invented in Massachusetts; as the cracker is a descendant of hardtack the staple of seafaring ships.
- Apples In the 1800's Johnny Appleseed traveled from Massachusetts to plant Apple Orchards throughout the country.