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From Scratch New England Cooking
When the Pilgrim fathers arose from their knees around Plymouth Rock, they were at once confronted with the problem of provisions.
The reported codfish were more difficult to catch than anticipated, and the other seafood set poorly on the stomachs of the travelers after such a long time at sea. The local natives taught the new immigrants how to survive and thrive.
In the very earliest period, the mainstay of the settlers was corn, beans, fish, and game. From this time, come baked beans, succotash, corn puddings, johnnycakes and fish chowders.
For sweetening, they relied upon the sugar maple. Winter supplies were stored in the cellar-root vegetables, pumpkins and winter squash, and apples. There, too, were also stored jellies, preserved fruits and berries, and barrels of sauerkraut and salt pork.
There is still a definite English influence in many New England dishes. The influence is most noticeable in the meat and fish potpies and steamed puddings; these dishes, however, also reflect the touch of New England master cooks.