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Cooking Tips for the Boston Foodie

October 6, 2009 Le Cordon Bleu Boston 0 Comments

In Boston, like so many other “foodie” cities, there are particular tips, tricks, and nuances special to the area. Below you will find five tips to help you create and perfect your Boston recipes.

Tip #1 – Cooking at Sea Level

At 141 feet above sea level, Boston chefs and amateur cooks have little to worry about in terms of modifying recipes for baking and boiling water. This is all thanks to the fact that most recipes are designed for cooking at sea level.

At sea level, water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, while at elevations above 5,000 feet, water boils closer to 175 degrees. Additionally, in higher elevations things take longer to cook. All of this is a result of air pressure, and in Boston there is more air pressure than in other areas because of the low elevation. At higher elevations moisture evaporates quickly so foods can brown or dry out much quicker than at sea level.

Moral of the story: You won’t have to modify recipes to any large degree, but if you do run into to trouble with baking, try weighing your flour and other dry ingredients instead of measuring with a cup.

Tip #2 – Where to Find Fresh Produce

Outside of Boston’s urban metropolis, many farmers grow a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Not all of this produce is shipped away either. Shop at farmer’s markets or look for locally grown produce while at the grocer.

Here is a list of the native New England fruits and vegetables you may find locally: asparagus, snap beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, cantaloupes, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, romaine lettuce, onions, green onions, green peas, bell peppers, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, blueberries, pears, apples, watermelon, tomatoes, sweet corn, squash, spinach, and pumpkins.

Tip #3 – A Fish is Not a Fish

Just because Massachusetts sits on the sandy shores of the Atlantic, does not mean that all sea food here is “fresh.” Choose fish and other sea food that is locally caught and safe to eat according to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife. Many fish and sea creatures are either endangered or not suitable for human consumption so do your homework.

By purchasing local fish and seafood, you not only support local economies, but you are ensured quality freshness. Common fish and sea food in the New England waters include cod, bluefish, bass, flounder, clams, mussels, and of course, lobster.

Tip #4 – Food That Will Heat You Up

Of course, warm drinks and food will help you to feel toasty on the blistery cold Boston winters, but there are a few ingredients you can add to your recipes that will help boost your body’s internal heater too.

Here are just a few fire starting foods:

  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Onion
  • Cumin
  • Almonds
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon
  • Low-fat, high-protein foods like chicken and fish
  • Any fruit or vegetables including dried and canned

Tip #5 – Boston Favorites

When in Boston, cook like the Bostonians. Popular Boston foods include Boston Cream Pie (originally created by the Omni Parker House Hotel), cranberries, baked beans, and corn muffins—Massachusetts official muffin.


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