You know how some foods transport you back to childhood the moment you take a bite? They might be the special meals your parents made you, or the seasonal snacks that you couldn’t wait to get your hands on every year. We’ve put together a list of foods that taste like pure Massachusetts, so have your grocery list handy and prepare to make dinner reservations.
1. Frappes and Cabinets
While the nomenclature can get a little confusing, here's what you need to know: 1) A frappe is a made with ice cream, 2) A cabinet is usually a coffee-flavored frappe, 3) Both are classic Massachusetts treats, though cabinets and "coffee milk" also call Rhode Island home.
2. Boston Creme Pie
This is the official dessert of Massachusetts. Developed in 1856 at the Omni Parker House in Boston, this chocolaty, creamy cake is about as Massachusetts as pastries come.
Raise your hand if you ever found one of these in your lunchbox. Actually, don't bother – I know all of you have had more than a few brushes with this classic Bay State combo.
4. Clam Chowder
We're talking New England style, which means no tomatoes and a thick, creamy broth. Yum. Sorry New York and Rhode Island, but ours is just better.
5. Fried Clams
Woodman's in Essex claims to have invented the fried clam. The story goes that Lawrence "Chubby" Woodman tossed a few clam strips in the fryer in 1914, and was so impressed with the result that he started selling boxes of his new creation. With a little squeeze of lemon and some tartar sauce...I'm salivating just typing this.
6. Grapenut Custard
Ah, grapenut custard... The little-known Massachusetts dessert that has been an underground favorite for years. Made with eggs, spices and a layer of grapenut cereal, this custard is great hot or cold. Pictured is the version found at the Scargo Cafe in Dennis, one of the few places this dessert is consistently served. Follow the link under the image for the recipe.
7. Hoodsie Cups
This two-toned chocolate and vanilla ice cream cup is a staple of Massachusetts summers. Do you remember scooping out that delicious ice cream with the little wooden spoon?
8. Dunkin Donuts
You had to see this one coming. The state's most popular coffee and donut chain is a practically its own food group to some residents. I'm not sure anything at Dunk's qualifies as a "dish," but it's all pretty tasty.
9. Marylou's Coffee
A large iced coffee from Marylou's provides some stiff competition to DD's coffee supremacy in Massachusetts.
10. Pizza from Regina Pizzeria
Regina's incredible pies and signature triangular boxes have been making mouths water in Boston's North End and beyond since 1926.
11. Fig Newtons
Your grandmother's favorite cookie was actually born in Newton, Massachusetts. Don't pretend like you haven't polished off a sleeve of these on the sly.
12. Necco Wafers
Your grandfather's favorite candy has been around since 1847. These wafers were actually issued to members of the military during WWII. When they returned home, the former soldiers became loyal customers. Bet you didn't know that "Necco" stands for "New England Confectionery Company."
13. Boston Baked Beans
There's a reason they call Boston "Beantown". And by "they," I mean tourists. Boston baked beans are the perfect marriage of sweet and savory.
14. Cape Cod Potato Chips
Another staple of lunch boxes across Massachusetts, Cape Cod Potato chips are perfectly crispy, salty and savory.
15. Concord Grapes
Go to Concord, eat Concord grapes. A simple recipe for a great day and a great meal.
16. Kelly's Roast Beef
This Revere institution has been serving up absolutely heavenly roast beef sandwiches for over half a century. With five eateries across the state, this family-owned and operated business claims to be the inventor of the original roast beef sandwich.