The United States Cookbook: Fabulous Foods and Fascinating Facts From All 50 States

The United States Cookbook: Fabulous Foods and Fascinating Facts From All 50 States

by Joan D'Amico

ISBN: 9780471358398

Publisher Wiley

Published in Children's Books/Cooking with Kids

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Sample Chapter

Chapter One

CONNECTICUT The Constitution State

Capital: Hartford

Other Major Cities: New Haven, Norwich

State Animal: Sperm Whale

State Bird: Robin

State Insect: Praying Mantis

State Tree: White Oak

State Flower: Mountain Laurel

Connecticut was one of the original thirteen colonies. The name Connecticut comes from the Native American word quinnehtukqet, which means "beside the long river." By the 1600s, when Dutch settlers and English settlers unhappy with the nearby Massachusetts Bay Colony first moved into Connecticut, there were over fifteen groups of Native Americans living in the area. Their names, such as the Quinnipiac and Pequot, are recalled in the names of towns and rivers around the state. The third smallest state, Connecticut is nicknamed the Constitution State. Its state constitution was regarded as the first written constitution, and it also served as a model for the U.S. Constitution.

Connecticut Foods

Important farm products in Connecticut include milk, eggs, apples, pears, mushrooms, and beef. Because it has an extensive coastline, Connecticut has a booming fishing industry. Clams, oysters, scallops, and flounder are big catches.

Election Day Cake

In colonial days, election days meant sermons, parades, and feasting. One of the time-honored foods was a cake full of raisins and citron, the candied rind from a citrus fruit such as a lemon. In our updated version of this recipe, we have substituted chocolate chips for the citron.

Time 70 minutes to prepare plus 2 hours rising time plus 50 to 55 minutes to bake

Tools 10-inch bundt pan small saucepan 2 large bowls measuring cup wooden spoon plastic wrap medium bowl oven mitts

Makes 12 servings


1 tablespoon vegetable shortening 1/2 cup milk 1/2 cup warm water 2 packages active dry yeast 1 1/2 cups sifted whole wheat flour 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon mace 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 cup margarine 3/4 cup sugar 3 large eggs, well beaten 1 cup chopped dried fruit pieces 1/2 cup raisins 1/2 cup chocolate chips 1/4 cup slivered almonds


1. Grease the bundt pan with the vegetable shortening.

2. In the small saucepan, heat the milk until it almost reaches a simmer. Stop when you see some steam coming from the pan. Pour the milk into a large bowl.

3. Put the warm water into the measuring cup and sprinkle in the yeast. Do not stir. Let the yeast stand for about 5 minutes or until it gets foamy. Add the yeast mixture to the milk.

4. Add the whole wheat flour to the milk mixture and beat with the wooden spoon until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the batter rise in a warm place for 1 hour until it is bubbly.

5. In the medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, salt, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.

6. In the other large bowl, beat the margarine and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly.

7. Stir in the milk mixture.

8. Gradually add the dry ingredients, beating with the wooden spoon until smooth and well blended. The batter will be thick.

9. Stir in the dried fruit pieces, raisins, chocolate chips, and almond slivers and mix well.

10. Turn the mixture into the bundt pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for about 2 hours in a warm place without any drafts. (The inside of the microwave can be a good spot.) The cake is ready to be baked when the dough almost reaches the top of the bundt pan. When you think the dough is nearly ready, preheat the oven to 350?F.

11. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes before taking it out of the pan. Cool the cake completely before serving.


The French are credited with bringing to New England their tradition of chowder, a type of thick soup made with fish, seafood, and vegetables. The word chowder comes from the French name for a big copper pot, chaudiere, in which the soup was prepared.

The world's first lollipop was made in New Haven in 1908.

The hamburger was probably first made and sold in New Haven in 1900. The owner of Louis' Lunch made hamburgers from the trimmings of steak used in steak sandwiches. He served the hamburgers on a plate with onions and home fries. When a customer was in a rush, he asked the owner to put the hamburger between two pieces of bread so he could get going. Even in 1900 there was a need for fast food!

Domestic ducks were first raised in Connecticut after a clipper ship brought some from faraway Peking.

Chapter Two

MAINE The Pine Tree State

Capital: Augusta

Other Major Cities: Bangor, Portland

State Animals: Maine Coon Cat, Moose

State Bird: Black-capped Chickadee

State Insect: Honeybee

State Tree: White Pine

State Flower: White Pinecone and Tassel

If you want to be the first person in the United States to see the sun rise in the morning, make sure you're in Eastport, Maine, the easternmost town in the country. The origin of Maine's name is not really certain. Some say English explorers called it Maine as a shortened form for mainland. Others say it was named after an area of France called Maine. Maine was part of the colony, and then the state, of Massachusetts until 1820. At that time, Mainers voted to separate from Massachusetts and Maine was accepted as the twenty-third state. Because of its large evergreen forests, it is nicknamed the Pine Tree State.

Maine Foods

Maine is the country's number one source of blueberries and lobster. Over 90 percent of U.S. lobsters come from Maine. With its long, rocky coastline, Maine is a top fishing state. In addition to lobster, Maine provides lots of clams and other seafood. Mainers even make clamburgers out of chopped clams.

Blueberry Cornbread

Mainers love to use blueberries in many different recipes, such as muffins, pancakes, puddings, and pies. This recipe uses blueberries to give cornbread a unique sweetness.

Time 20 minutes to prepare plus 20 to 25 minutes to bake

Tools paper towel 9-inch square baking pan 2 medium bowls colander small bowl wooden spoon wire whip rubber spatula oven mitts

Makes 6 to 8 servings


2 teaspoons vegetable shortening 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup yellow cornmeal 1/4 cup sugar 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup blueberries 1 cup milk 1/4 cup canola oil 1/4 cup honey 2 large eggs, slightly beaten


1. Preheat the oven to 400?F. Use the paper towel to grease the baking pan with the shortening.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour and cornmeal. Stir well to combine. Add the sugar, baking powder, and salt and stir again.

3. Wash the blueberries in the colander. Pat dry.

4. Place the blueberries in the small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture and gently toss the flour and the blueberries with a wooden spoon. Set aside.

5. In the other medium bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, honey, and eggs.

6. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir together just until the ingredients are well moistened.

7. With the rubber spatula, fold in the blueberries.

8. Pour the batter into the greased baking pan.

9. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the bread is a light golden brown.


In northernmost Maine (brr!) is Aroostock County. No, it is not known for roosters, but potatoes! More potatoes are grown in Aroostock County than in any other county in the United States.

The first commercial chewing gum was invented in 1848 in Bangor, Maine. But Native Americans were really the first to chew gum. Actually they chewed the resin of the black spruce tree, supposedly as a way to fight off hunger.

Lobster wasn't always considered a delicacy. Residents of an early Maine settlement protested vigorously against being served lobster at every meal.

Chapter Three


Capital: Boston

Other Major Cities: Springfield, Worcester

State Animal: Boston Terrier

State Bird: Chickadee

State Insect: Ladybug

State Tree: American Elm

State Flower: Mayflower

The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, in what is now Massachusetts, in 1620. Knowing very little about hunting or farming in this new land, the Pilgrims might never have survived if it hadn't been for the helpful Wampanoag Indians they met. The following year with their new friends they celebrated America's first big food event: Thanksgiving. The menu included wild turkeys, ducks, geese, deer, cod, squashes, corn, beans, cranberry sauce sweetened with maple sugar, and bread.

Massachusetts was one of the original thirteen British colonies, and it was the center of much activity during the Revolutionary War. The Boston Tea Party, despite its name, wasn't actually a party. It was a protest against British taxes (which were particularly heavy on tea) that helped spark the Revolutionary War.

The state of Massachusetts was named for a Native American tribe of the same name. The name is thought to mean "near the great hill." Massachusetts is nicknamed the Bay State because of all its bays (an area where a body of water forms an indentation of the shoreline).

Boston Baked Beans

Early colonists learned to make baked beans from their Native American neighbors. Native Americans flavored the beans with bear meat and maple syrup. The colonists substituted salt pork for the bear meat and molasses for the maple syrup. Baked beans on Saturday night became a Massachusetts food tradition in colonial times. The tradition started because the Puritans were not allowed to work on Sunday, so beans were cooked on Saturday and served for Sunday's dinner as well. Some women who were not so crazy about beans served them only on Sunday.

Time 20 minutes to prepare plus 30 minutes to cook

Tools cutting board paring knife large saute pan can opener colander 2-quart casserole dish with cover oven mitts

Makes 6 servings


1 medium onion vegetable oil cooking spray 2 16-ounce cans navy beans 1 15-ounce can pinto beans 1/3 cup ketchup 3 tablespoons brown sugar 2 tablespoons molasses 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard


1. Preheat the oven to 400?F.

2. Remove the skin from the onion. On the cutting board, use the knife to cut the onion in half. Lay the onion halves cut-side down on the cutting board and chop.

3. Spray the saute pan with vegetable oil cooking spray. Heat the saute pan over medium heat.

4. Add the onions and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.

5. Open the 3 cans of beans. Put the beans in the colander in the sink and rinse them under cold, running water.

6. In the casserole, stir together the onions, beans, ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, and mustard.

7. Cover and bake for 30 minutes until the mixture is bubbly.

Massachusetts Foods

Massachusetts grows more cranberries than any other state. Most cranberries are grown on Cape Cod in wet areas called bogs. Cranberries need a large supply of water nearby so growers can flood the bog to protect the plants from insects, disease, and frost. During harvesting, the bogs are also flooded. The cranberries, which have tiny air pockets inside, float to the surface, and are gathered by harvesters who wade in the water with big rakes to collect the crop. Other farm products include milk and eggs. Massachusetts is also a leader in fishing, and fishing boats bring in lots of scallops, cod, and haddock.


Sometime in the 1930s, the innkeeper's wife at the Toll House Inn near Whitman added chocolate pieces to her drop cookie recipe. She called her cookies Toll House Cookies. Chocolate chip cookies had been made before this time, but now they became enormously popular. When the Nestle Company found out about the recipe, they got permission to use it on the wrapper of their chocolate bars.

The first commercial yogurt was made in 1931 in Andover. It was sold first as a health food and only found a large market after a manufacturer had the idea of adding strawberry preserves.

In 1939, Elsie the Cow traveled from her home in Brookfield to the New York World's Fair and became famous as the symbol of the Borden Company.

Chapter Four

NEW HAMPSHIRE The Granite State

Capital: Concord

Other Major Cities: Manchester, Rochester

State Animal: White-tailed Deer

State Bird: Purple Finch

State Insect: Ladybug

State Tree: White Birch

State Flower: Purple Lilac

New Hampshire was named by John Mason for his home county of Hampshire in England. The first inhabitants were Native Americans who traded with the early settlers and helped them farm the land. Besides farming, the settlers also fished, cut down trees for their lumber, and hunted animals for their furs. The furs were then sold or exchanged for needed goods to fur traders who sold them in England. In 1776, before the Declaration of Independence was signed, New Hampshire formed its own independent republic. Twelve years later, in 1788, New Hampshire signed the Constitution of the United States.

New Hampshire is nicknamed the Granite State because granite, a very hard type of rock, is found under most of it. Granite is used in buildings and memorials. New Hampshire granite was used to build the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The state motto is "Live Free or Die." General John Stark, New Hampshire's greatest hero of the Revolutionary War, said this during the colonies' fight against England.

New Hampshire Foods

You'll see plenty of cows dotting the New Hampshire landscape, and milk is the state's most important farm product. New Hampshire is also a leading producer of maple syrup (like its neighbor, Vermont). In addition, New Hampshire produces potatoes and apples.


Excerpted from "The United States Cookbook: Fabulous Foods and Fascinating Facts From All 50 States" by Joan D'Amico. Copyright © 2000 by Joan D'Amico. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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