World of food and wine looks at a fascinating variety of customs and traditions in different countries across the globe, describing how the world cooks, eats, and drinks.
Food in Rhode Island
Rhode Island is the smallest of the United States, although it can boast of having the biggest official name. Rhode Island is known as The Ocean State because it has a large coastline and the sea features largely in its economy and daily life.
The official name is State of Rhode island and Providence Plantations. The state was created in the early 1600s, when Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony because of religious and political beliefs. Roger Williams founded first the English segment at Providence on Narragansett Bay. He received a second charter from King Charles II of England in 1663 where the official name was established. There is no evidence of how the name Rhode Island came to be. It might have been named after the Isle or Rhodes in the Aegean Sea or something else altogether.
Johnny cakes, a kind of fried cornmeal pancake very popular in Rhode Island, were made first by pilgrim women. Their original name was not Johnny cakes but "journey cakes" because they were small and easily portable.
Quahogs are the largest size of hard-shelled clams you can buy, and they are very popular in Rhode Island. Clams are star food in Rhode Island and they can be prepared in numerous ways, including New Enland clam chowder, but Rhode Islanders learned the clambake from the Native Americans and they have mastered it.
To make a clambake, the first step is to dig a hole in the sand and line it with smooth rocks. Next, the rocks are heated up by building a fire on top of them and letting the fire burn for about an hour. Once the fire has burned out, a layer of seaweed is spread over the hot rocks and the clams are added and covered with more seaweed. The clams are steamed and ready to eat in about one hour.
Steam other foods such as potatoes and corn on the cob to make a whole dinner. Lobster and other seafood also makes a wonderful meal steamed this way.
Coffee milk is sold everywhere in Rhode Island. This milk flavored with coffee syrup is served even in schools.
Rhode Island Foods
Being The Ocean State, commercial fishing is very important in Rhode Island. The catch fishermen haul in mostly comprises striped bass, tuna, flounder, clams, and scallops. One tuna caught off the coast of Rhode Island can weigh close to 1,000 pounds.
With a chicken as state symbol, it comes as no surprise that poultry and eggs are important farm products; and so is milk - milk and dairy products are important in many New England farms.
…and food events
International Quahog Festival, North Kingston, October