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Jul 15, 2011 10:00 AM

"Typical" Boston Food?

The DH and I have started a "movie/food" night. Once a week one of us picks a movie to watch together and caters the night. Me, being the typical foodie geek, would like to synchronize my movie (Gone, Baby, Gone) with food if possible. Are there any dishes/take-out that are typical to Boston? If not, I'm going to go with a Boston Cream Pie for dessert, but was just curious!

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  1. So many to choose from... there's the old school baked beans and Indian pudding fare, scrod with cracker crumbs, boiled dinners, etc. Chowdah. Fried clams.

    I think you should make lobster rolls for you and your guy, crack a few Sam Adams beers and enjoy that Boston cream pie!

    1 Reply
    1. re: yumyum

      I would...however the Mr. is a strictly no-seafood-at-all type of guy. Otherwise I would have been all over Boston Rolls!! :)

      But hot dogs and boston baked beans could be fun.

    2. You could make a potato, corn and bacon chowder (clam chowder without the clams). Bangers and mashed potatoes. Corned beef sliders.

      2 Replies
      1. re: escondido123

        Hmmm...I like it - the Irish slant on it.

        These are great suggestions! Thanks!

        1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

          I haven't seen the film but see that it takes place in Dorchester which is an Irish neighborhood in Boston.

      2. Don't forget the dreadful Boston Baked Beans.

        8 Replies
        1. re: arktos

          Salt pork, onion, molasses, beans--maybe mustard and a few secret flavorings--make wonderful Boston baked beans. And the aroma while they're baking in the oven is heavenly on a cold Sunday afternoon.

          1. re: escondido123

            Unfortunately, I've only had the canned supermarket version which leaves a lot to be desired. Maybe I'll cook-up some and see for myself what the 'real' thing is like.

            1. re: arktos

              YOu are missing out on a great dish.

              Do it slow (250F) overnight in a proper pot, with the right beans (I prefer Maine style - yellow-eye beans, which are think-skinned and delicious), maple syrup, not too sweet, good amount of porky substance, et cet. I've posted a recipe in the past on Home cooking.

              1. re: Karl S

                Karl, could you provide a link, if possible, sounds like it would be great in a slow cooker.

                1. re: arktos

                  No slow cooker - wrong device - will not produce the same result. This is for a slow oven, with dry heat, and a proper pot to gently recycle condensation at a given rate. (The *real* way to do it, in the past, was for your child to take your prepared pot of beans to the bakery on Saturday morning, and the baker would put the pot, and the other pots other children brought in, in the oven after the baker had finished the day's bread baking, to cook in the radiant heat from the cooling oven. Picked up for supper, eaten with frankfurters. The canonical Saturday evening dish for many many people for many years. My mother did this as a child. A friend of mine who lived in East Boston until 2005 said there was a local bakery that still did this.)

                  Start here, and then dig deeper in the links:


                  and you will get to this for a more Boston style of baked bean:


                  I got a lot of ribbing over this from fellow Yankees, but over the years, other Hounds said they loved the recipe. Anyway, this is General Chowhounding Topics, so we'll stick to the general thoughts on the issue of baked beans in this comment.

                  I will note this: old recipes are not nearly as sweet as modern recipes. James Beard complained about this in American Cookery, some 40 years ago already. One can always trim back the sweetener, and then add as necessary to your liking.

                  While molasses was the canonical sweetener along the coast, originally due to the (infamous) Triangle Trade, maple syrup was more common in the interior (and had the virtue of being free of taint from slavery). I prefer maple syrup, though it's not really "Boston". And, of the many types of canonical beans I've tried, I like molasses-eye beans (or, since they can be hard to find, Steuben yellow-eye beans) best - they were probably the first type of bean used in this dish, and are delicious and still available in many of our local markets if you look carefully enough. (but you will find my Boston recipe sticks to the canonical molasses and navy beans.) And, yes, one must start with dried beans; you will never get the right silken texture otherwise.

                  There is nothing like putting a pot of beans in the oven before going to bed during a blizzard, and waking to the smell of a cold house at dawn permeated with the aroma of baked beans (OK, I get up before dawn, to remove the cover for the last hour of cooking, but the aroma is already all over the place). Baked beans make a fine breakfast. Mit cornbread (and I like my cornbread southern style) or jonnycakes. Et cet.

                  1. re: Karl S

                    My grandmother used to make baked beans in the oven. About halfway through the cooking process, as the aroma became apparent, their cat would come into the kitchen and curl up in front of the stove. When the beans were done, my grandma would put a spoonful onto a plate and blow it cool while the cat waited for the first bite that was always his.

                    1. re: Karl S

                      Thanks!!! Great information. Will give the beans a try, hope it's worth it!!

                2. re: arktos

                  I must admit most of my baked beans came out of a can but they're one of those childhood foods that always make me smile--my mother made a lot of franks and beans with canned brown bread on the side.

            2. I can't have Boston baked beans without the Boston brown bread. Yum. :9

              1. For those curious - I wound up discovering an Irish pub near me that had very affordable food! We did bangers & mash and a traditional Irish breakfast. And for dessert.....Boston Cream Pie! :)
                Thanks for all the suggestions.