clamsAs guests come to Ocean Point Inn, they bring questions about “Maine Food.”  They want to know “what the locals eat!”  The questions have me thinking about what foods are traditional Maine foods??

Of course, everyone thinks of Maine lobster – steamed, baked stuffed – like our house recipe for Linekin Bay Lobster, lobster rolls, lobster stew, lobster salad and more.  Steamed clams and mussels are often served  with the lobster. lobster-bloody-steak2 Folks also look for a good fish chowder, commonly made with haddock in this area, and served with chowder crackers and sweet pickles.  Our Ocean Point Inn Crab Cakes can’t be beat – made with fresh Maine crabmeat.  Oysters, farmed right here on the Damariscotta River, are great raw on the half shell, stewed or fried.

The most common dessert with a Lobster Dinner is Blueberry Pie, the Maine State Dessert, made with wild Maine blueberries.  Our Ocean Point Inn pies have people coming back for more! An older blueberry dessert blueberriesthat I love is Blueberry Dumplings.  You boil the wild blueberries with sugar and drop the dumpling batter into the berries to cook – delish with homemade vanilla ice cream.  Blueberry Cobbler, Crisp and Grunt are wonderful.  Do you know the differences among them?  Grunts, Pandowdy and Slumps are varieties of the Cobbler.  Bettys and Buckles are made with a batter similar to cake batter.  These desserts are served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.  The names sound unusual but, trust me, they are needhamsall delicious.

Needhams, which were first made in Portland, Maine, in 1872 by Reverend Needham, are a wonderful candy treat.  Believe it or not, they are made with mashed potato.  You would never know it to eat one!  The coconut and chocolate are the flavors that you taste.

 

whoopie pieWhoopie Pies have always been an old Maine favorite but are now popular in more of the country.  Williams Sonoma even sells a pan for whoopee pies!  Chocolate with a white crème filling is traditional but pumpkin with a cream cheese filling is yummy in the fall.

 

boston-brown-bread-aIn addition to beautiful foliage, fall in Maine brings Baked Bean Church Suppers.  Some bake the beans in the ground.  They are traditionally served with “brown bread” which was originally a very dark bread with raisins that was baked in a coffee can.  As a child, the round bread showing the rings from the can was fascinating to me.

Venison, deer meat, shows up on many Maine tables during the fall hunting season.  There are sometimes fundraisers offering a “Wild Game Dinner” which boiled dinnerincludes venison and more exotic meats like moose, bear and raccoon.

New England Boiled Dinner is popular in the fall as the root vegetables are harvested from the garden.  Cabbage, carrots, turnip, beets and potatoes are cooked with corned beef.  The flavors blend together for a delicious meal.

20090406-sugaronsnow4As the temperatures rise in March, the maple sap starts to run and maple syrup season is underway.  “Sugar on Snow,” hot maple syrup poured over the frozen snow makes a sweet sticky candy that is served with doughnuts and dill pickles.   Hard to tell how that combination got started!

dandelionOnce the grass is growing, the dandelions pop up.  Many Mainers love to pick the early dandelion greens before they flower.  The greens are traditionally cooked with salt pork and served with vinegar.

fiddlehead-fernFiddleheads, a member of the fern family, are also popular.
These days they are readily available in the grocery stores.  They are fun to pick and pickled with dill they make a very tasty appetizer.

How many of these traditional Maine foods have you eaten?  Look for them on your next trip to Maine, staying with us at Ocean Point Inn!

9_lobsterWhen the first settlers arrived in North America there were so many lobsters they would wash ashore and pile up two feet deep. They were considered “poor man’s protein.”

Native Americans used lobsters for fertilizer and fish bait. They baked them under seaweed over hot rocks, thus starting the New England Clambakes we enjoy today.

In the beginning lobsters were gathered by hand. In the late 1700s boats called smacks with saltwater tanks were used to tralobsternsport live lobsters. The men who ran these boats were called “smackmen.” In the mid-19th century lobster traps were first used in Maine.

Lobster were so inexpensive they were fed to prisoners, apprentices, slaves and children during colonial times. These people became tired of being fed lobster!

The first lobster pound started in 1876 in Vinalhaven, Maine. By the 1880s lobster became popular in Boston and New York and the prices started to rise.

American lobster, or Maine lobster, can weigh more than 40 pounds and be up to 3 feet long. The largest lobster on record was caught off Nova Scotia and believed to have been over 100 years old. It weighed 44 pound and was 42 inches long.

The lobster stands out for its unusual anatomy. Its brain is located in its throat, nervous system in its abdomen, teeth in its stomach and kidneys in its head! Lobsters hear with their legs and taste with their feet. They can be right-clawed or left-clawed and favor that claw.

If crowded into tanks they become cannibalistic and eat each other. Their claws need to be banded to prevent this situation.

Lobsters are a very healthy food with fewer calories than an !lobster-thumb1equal portion of skinned chicken. They offer healthy omega-3 fatty acids, potassium and vitamins E, B-12 and B-6. Maine Lobster is on or menu nightly at Ocean Point served many delicious ways from our famous Lobster Stew, to Linekin Bay Stuffed Lobster.

What amazing creatures they are