Everyone is good at something. In Massachusetts, we’re good at a lot of things. Especially food. Bay Staters knock certain dishes out of the park, and we’re proud of what we put on the table. Check out this list of the foods that Massachusetts is absolutely amazing at cooking, serving and enjoying.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
The frappe vs. milkshake confusion must date back to the time of the ancients, but we here in Massachusetts know two things for sure: 1. A frappe has ice cream in it, while a milkshake does not. 2. Frappes rule.
2. Everything cranberry
They’re our official state fruit, and we know how to treat them right. There’s nothing like fresh, local cranberry sauce on the table at Thanksgiving. Seeing as you need a bog to grow them, and not every state can boast those kinds of natural resources.
3. Fried clams
Woodman’s of Essex literally invented the fried clam strip (according to them, and most locals) so you know Massachusetts brings a strong fried clam game. The Clam Box in Ipswich can also dish up a mind-blowing box of crispy clammy goodness.
4. Clam bakes
We like clams, okay? In all shapes, sizes and presentations.
5. Okay, basically all seafood.
Maine may beg to differ on the lobster front, but the seafood here is pretty much the best you can get. You actually don’t realize how good it is until you travel out of state. Massachusetts is home to some of the oldest working harbors in the country, and we love serving up the catch of the day in the tastiest ways possible.
Fluffernutters taste like childhood. This lunchbox staple of peanut butter and marshmallow fluff was born and perfected here, and we’re pretty proud.
7. Potato chips
You know the ones. Cape Cod Potato Chips somehow find their way onto the plate of almost every cookout attendee during the summer. They’re ubiquitous, so it’s a good thing they’re also delicious.
8. Apple cider
No Massachusetts fall would be complete without a steaming, fragrant mug of sweet and spiced apple cider. We’re up to our eyeballs in orchards, and the results are delicious.
9. Ditto apple cider donuts.
For the ultimate autumn combo move, dip the donut in the cider.
10. Lobster rolls
Tender and sweet lobster chunks served in a buttered and toasted hot dog bun. Life (and lunch) doesn’t get any better than that.
11. Ice cream
There are basically a billion places across the state to get freshly-churned, creamy, life-changing ice cream. When summertime hits, Massachusetts might as well be one huge dairy. Everyone has a favorite shop and fiercely defends their choice.
12. Drive-thru doughnuts
They may not be culinary masterpieces, but Dunkin’ Donuts is the best at churning out tasty, sticky rings of pastry whenever and wherever (emphasis on wherever – you’re probably next to one right now) we want.
Whether it’s homemade or the Del’s frozen variety, this classic summer treat is best sipped in front of the snack bar at the beach or out of a paper cup handed to you by enterprising kids on the corner.
14. Boston Creme Pie
Boston creme pie is really the people’s dessert. It was invented at the ritzy Omni Parker House in Boston, and has made its way all the way to the inside of Dunkin’ Donuts pastries.
15. Baked beans
When your capital city is literally called "Bean Town" (by tourists, of course), chances are good that the local baked beans are something to write home about.
For those not in the know, a johnnycake is a cornmeal flatbread. Sort of like a pancake, but denser and more deliciously…corny. Rhode Island make have the corner on the classic johnnycake market, but top one with a little cranberry sauce and butter, and you’ve got an unrivaled Massachusetts breakfast win.
17. Grape Nut pudding
So, we may be the best at this simply because no one else has ever heard of it. But Grape Nut pudding is the sleeper hit of Massachusetts desserts. Try it at old-school diners, or at the Scargo Cafe in Dennis.
18. And of course, clam chowder.
There are three main clam chowder camps: thick and creamy, thin and brothy, and full of tomatoes. We here in Massachusetts know that the best clam chowder is full of fresh clam chunks in a rich, creamy broth, and doused in those little oyster crackers that are so addictive.
Did we miss any foods you think Massachusetts is the best at? Have any suggestions for the best places to sample this stuff? Let us know!