Monday, October 10, 2011

Learning about Geography through Food - Maine

During this school year, Sophia and Olivia will be learning about 13 of the 50 states in the United States. (Over the balance of the next two school years, they will study about the remaining 37 states.)

Using the multi-disciplinary Cantering the Country curriculum, one of the ways the girls are learning about each state is through making and trying food representative of each state.

The first state they focused on was Maine. The recipes provided in Eat Your Way Through the U.S.A. included: Lobster Casserole with Water Chestnut and Bacon; Roasted Asparagus; and Blueberry Pie.

The latter two recipes were delicious while the first one we knew as we were making it that it wouldn't be one we would enjoy eating. So, we'll start from the least favorite recipe and end with the favorite one from Maine.


Apparently early settlers in Maine actually got tired of eating lobster, according to the recipe book. It also stated that 90% of the lobster consumed in the U.S. is supplied by Maine.

Lobster Casserole with Water Chestnuts and Bacon.
None of us could eat this recipe.
Even while making it, it did not smell appetizing.

Thankfully, this recipe did not require cooking a lobster at home. In fact, the meat used for the recipe had a tiny bit of lobster mixed with white fish. (It's amazing how expensive lobster is - whether we were in Maine or Minnesota.)


Things turned around with the asparagus. We oven-roasted the asparagus with olive oil and then sprinkled a combination of salt, pepper, and sugar over it. It was an interesting sweet-salty topping which gave the asparagus a different flavor (we normally use only salt and pepper).

Roasted Asparagus was something that Sophia and I enjoyed.
Olivia tried it, but didn't care for it.

Asparagus is a puzzling vegetable choice for Maine, though. It's not one of the top vegetables that Maine produces. In fact, Michigan and California are the top U.S. producers for asparagus. 

A better vegetable choice could have been fall potatoes since Maine is eighth producer in the nation. Nonetheless, it was a treat to have the roasted asparagus.


Maine is the largest grower of wild blueberries in the world.  It has over 60,000 acres of wild blueberries that "grow naturally in fields and barrens that stretch along the Downeast coast to the state’s southwest corner" according to the University of Maine.

According to the University of Maine, "Wild blueberries hold a special place in Maine’s agricultural history — one that goes back centuries to Maine’s Native Americans. Native Americans were the first to use the tiny blue berries, both fresh and dried, for their flavor, nutrition and healing qualities but it was not until the 1840′s that wild blueberries were first harvested commercially."

Using the recipe in the Eat Your Way Through the U.S.A. cookbook, we made Blueberry Pie. The pie crust was made from my grandma's recipe (she was a baker).

 The Blueberry Pie was, by far, the favorite recipe for Maine.
We used recipes that we picked during the summer.

1 comment:

Dawn said...

What fun! I love using food as a tool.