Cooking Advice

The 20 Most New Englandy Dishes

Yankee Magazine’s first food editor chose these recipes as the 20 “most typical” New England dishes back in 1939. Do her selections ring true today?

By Amy Traverso

Mar 14 2022

most New Englandy dishes
Are these the most “New Englandy” dishes of all? Yankee‘s food editor thought so back in 1939.
Indian Pudding
Baked Indian pudding topped the list of New England dishes in 1939.
Photo Credit : Aimee Seavey
Imogene Woolcott was Yankee‘s first food editor and the first mass-media authority on New England cooking. Consider her the Martha Stewart of her day: She anchored daily radio broadcasts over the Yankee Network for First National Stores, wrote her monthly Yankee column, and gave lectures on home economics to women’s groups around the region. If she were alive today, I’m sure she’d have a cooking show on PBS and a blog to go with it. Her 1939 book, The Yankee Cook Book (Amereon Ltd.), a compilation of 377  recipes collected from the Yankee archives and from cooks around the six states, was in print for decades and is still a primary source for anyone wanting to learn about our regional foodways. That same year, in a Yankee article about the book, she praised its contents as a celebration of “the finest plain cooking in the world” and listed the 20 “most typical” New England dishes. She writes, “I am conscious of the dangers attendant on such a selection. But I am basing the popularity of these dishes on the number of recipes sent in as a result of my daily radio broadcasts over the Yankee Network in Boston. For example, I received 377 recipes for baked Indian pudding—more than for any other one dish. So, naturally, it heads the list.”

Imogene Woolcott’s 20 Most New Englandy Dishes

New England Clam Chowder
Classic New England Clam Chowder
Photo Credit : Heath Robbins
Red Flannel Hash
Red Flannel Hash
Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker
Easy, Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry Sauce
Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker
So what do you think, readers? Does her list stand the test of time? I can think of many dishes I’d like to add, including (Grape-nut pudding,common crackers, quahog fritters, apple pie with cheddar…). Add your thoughts to the comments below! This post was first published in 2014 and has been updated.

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