Q: Could you share a New England culinary trait
that has been passed down through the centuries?
A: Originally the only way that New Englanders
cooked was in the hearth, and the only control
over the food was the distance from the heat of the
fire. So the dishes that have really passed the test
of time are the ones that were and still are slow
cooked. Look at baked beans. That dish was
prepared by Native Americans way before the
British ever came over here.
“There is nothing more Yankee
than a lobster roll. When it’s
perfectly made it, has got to
be one of the most exquisite
things you will ever eat.”
Q: Does one dish come to mind that epitomizes
the notion of “no-nonsense Yankee practicality”?
A: There is nothing more Yankee than a lobster
roll. When it’s perfectly made, it has got to be one
of the most exquisite things you will ever eat. It’s
normally served in roadside stands in a paper hot-dog holder with a pickle and a bag of potato chips.
It is quintessential New England—truly humble
and yet rich and beautiful. [Jasper shares his recipe
on page 144.]
Q: What provisions do you consider indispensable
in your kitchen today?
A: Other than seafood, because seafood is the
main provision, I’d say local cornmeal, farm-fresh
eggs (people forget how good local eggs can be),
fresh herbs, dry spices, maple syrup, good New
England naturally bleached flour, dried beans (A- 1
yellow eyes from Maine for making baked beans
and limas for succotash) and fresh shell beans,
which we only get in July and August. I’ve seen
them at Costco.
Q: Are there any recipes found in this region that
you consider authentically American?
A: Chowder is at the top of the list. Potpies are
way up on the list, too. Pies originated in England