A vinegar drink and a delicacy made with animal blood sound like an ideal Halloween menu.
The truth is, they’re a number of the distinctive tastes Aroostook County readers love.
After we wrote just lately about a few of The County’s culinary delights, lots of you prompt different meals that needs to be on that record, together with Houlton Farms’ legendary butter.
Approach up north of all the pieces else in Maine, Aroostook is thought for its lumbering and farming roots. Generations of households, together with these with French Acadian and Swedish heritage, nonetheless make conventional meals or fondly keep in mind what was once on their tables. A number of the stuff is both exhausting to search out or solely made at dwelling, but it surely all provides to the cultural combine that makes The County particular.
Listed here are 5 of readers’ favourite flavors.
A beloved dish amongst Acadian households, this spiced pork pate is particularly in style round Thanksgiving and Christmas, when household gatherings abound and cooks make their favourite conventional recipes.
The packaged product is on some grocery cabinets, however you’ll must journey north if you wish to order it out. The one place in Maine you’re prone to discover it’s Dolly’s Restaurant in Frenchville, in accordance with supervisor Cindy Tardif.
“Folks should purchase it in an area meals retailer, however we’re the one restaurant that serves it,” she mentioned.
Tardif makes the cretons herself. She cooks the pork, then provides spices and seasoning and grinds the combination collectively.
The enterprise goes via a whole lot of cretons, as much as 20 kilos every week, Tardif mentioned. Most individuals’s favourite strategy to eat it’s unfold on ployes.
These little spice cookies are a particular a part of a longtime Swedish custom celebrated within the New Sweden/Stockholm space. St. Lucia Day has been celebrated in Sweden because the fourth century, in accordance with New Sweden resident Brenda Jepson.
Legend says St. Lucia wore a crown of candles on her head so her palms have been free to feed the needy, Jepson wrote within the Aroostook Republican & Information in 2021. She can also be honored for bringing mild and pleasure into the darkest days of winter.
Annually, Aroostook Swedish descendants, associates and native college students take pleasure in a ceremony that includes youngsters in costume. In darkness, St. Lucia seems first to mild the best way, adopted by her attendants. A part of the ceremony entails passing out the pepparkakor treats to these attending.
In accordance with Swedish custom, you make a want whereas cracking the cookie within the center with a knuckle. If the cookie breaks into three items, your want will come true.
Throughout a 2021 ceremony, attendants gave out 500 pepparkakor.
Fiddleheads is probably not only a northern Maine factor, however in springtime they rule The County. They’re offered on roadsides, and in shops and native eating places.
Presque Isle even has a Fiddlehead Pageant to have a good time them, that includes fiddlehead artwork, selecting and meals.
Folks comb riverbanks from the St. John Valley to past Houlton, foraging for the younger, curled fern ideas. After cleansing the brown, papery chaff and rinsing, some folks freeze or can them, whereas others simply cook dinner them recent.
Fiddleheads shouldn’t be eaten uncooked and needs to be boiled for 10 minutes earlier than utilizing in recipes to kill any micro organism, in accordance with The Wilderness Spouse, a way of life web site run by Sheryl and the Thompson household of Sherman.
Many people like them easy, with butter and vinegar. Thompson sautes them with butter, vinegar, onion and garlic. Some County eating places serve them fried, and adventurous souls would possibly prefer to attempt them in an alfredo sauce with pasta or — as a retailer in Grand Isle did — on pizza.
For those who have been concerned in haying or any summer time subject work, you may need heard of this drink.
Some say switchel got here from Britain throughout colonial instances and others declare it originated in Canada, however generations knew it as a hot-weather thirst quencher.
Additionally known as haymaker’s punch, the drink dates again to colonial America and could possibly be known as the unique New England dwelling brew, in accordance with the Outdated Farmer’s Almanac. Even members of Congress lapped it up — though their model was liberally sprinkled with rum.
“Swinging the scythe was a really thirsty process,” Marie Nightingale wrote within the 1970 historic cookbook “Out of Outdated Nova Scotia Kitchens.” “Nothing, it’s mentioned, was as refreshing as this cooling drink.”
Nightingale’s recipe for Haymaker’s Switchel says to combine collectively a gallon of water, 2 cups of brown sugar, a cup of molasses, 1 1/2 cups of vinegar and a teaspoon of ginger. To maintain it cool, she really useful hanging the jug within the effectively.
Often known as boudin in French, blood sausage or blood pudding is a delicacy many Aroostook County households will keep in mind making or no less than seeing in grocery shops. Reader “Yogibear” remembered it from Cyr Bros. Meats in Bangor.
And sure, it truly is fabricated from blood, with fillers like meat or grain and seasonings.
Hog butcherings have been massive occasions for Acadian households, in accordance with the College of Maine at Fort Kent’s “Acadian Tradition in Maine” web site. One factor cooks made was blood sausage. St. John Valley boudin, although associated to the “boudin rouge” of Louisiana, doesn’t use rice.
Valley resident Cleo Ouellette remembered her household making boudin. She used to assist put together the intestines, which have been full of blood and probably seasonings, she advised BDN reporter Julia Bayly in 2018. As soon as it congealed the product was cooked.
Variations of boudin seem in lots of cultures and it is without doubt one of the oldest types of sausage, in accordance with the British web site Tastes of Historical past.
So keep in mind, if you happen to see swamp vegetation, vinegar and blood pudding on the menu, you’re not headed for the Black Lagoon. You’re simply sending your style buds on a County-inspired journey.