5 Maine-Specific Foods That Make Flatlanders’ Heads Spin
I've done a fair bit of traveling in my day, as a retired touring musician. I've been across the country more than few times, and have seen my fair share of whacko foods. In upstate New York around Rochester, they have Garbage Plates, which are way more delicious than they sound. I've tried pickled tripe, alligator sausage, ostrich steaks, veal brains....you name it.
Never once did I make too much noise about trying new things. I just go into it with an open mind, and a willingness to try some new flavor sensations. But consistently, people from outside of Maine come here, and absolutely lose their freakin' minds over the stuff we eat. They act like we drink the blood of endangered animals out of deer skulls in dark, woodland rituals.
To us, all these foods are everyday staples that we can't get nearly enough of. But always, they bring out looks ranging from, "That sounds neat!" to "I wouldn't even put that in the trash, let alone my mouth!" So let's have a look at these tasty treats, that the elite think we're weird to eat.
Traditionally served on Saturday Suppah, or Bean Night as most Mainers call it, this delicious treat is basically, rye and wheat flour with cornmeal and molasses. There's obviously a few more ingredients. In fact, here's a pretty standard recipe to check out. Sure you can get a trusty can of B&M, but why not make it homemade in a coffee can, just like Mutha used to do.
Yup, that's right, folks from away think we're nuts for digging food right out of the front lawn. Maybe they're right, but I always dig in the back yard where I think the neighbor's dog hasn't been to visit. You cook them just like any other green such as spinach or chard. A little butter and vinegar....mmmm...yum.
Red Hot Dogs
Holy sweet mother of mercy, do we love those little devils. We grill them, boil them, steam them....Is there a wrong way to eat a red hot dog? We love them so much we have entire festivals dedicated to them. Dexter hosts the Maine Red Hot Dog Festival every year. In fact, this year it's August 11th. Start looking for a pair of stretchy pants to wear that day.
Moxie is a polarizing topic, even among Mainers. Sure it tastes very odd. Sort of like a mdicinal Coca Cola. Or as a friend described it in high school, like Coke with cigarette ashes in it. Me? I love it. I don't drink a lot of soda, but if I do, I love a nice cold Moxie. Moxie is another Maine staple with it's own festival. Always in the town of Lisbon, this year it's held July 13th - 15th.
I saved probably the hardest pill to swallow for last. Even if you got every tourist on Earth to try every food above, this would be the choke point. Literally. I particularly enjoy eating tamale in front of first-timers, just to watch them nearly throw up. Every time. The joke is on everyone who doesn't even try it. It's incredibly rich and delicious. Besides it's just the liver of the lobster. Is it any worse than eating what basically amounts to a sea spider with a tail anyway?
See? When you and I read this list, I see nothing but an entire summer's suppers laid out before me in written form. In fact, the whole thing is starting to make me pretty hungry. I'll just make a brown bread bun, with a red hot dog in it, topped with dandelion greens and tamale. And then wash it down with an ice cold Moxie.
You laugh, but this is gonna show up on some menu, somewhere as the Flatlander Blue Plate Special. I'll be first in line.