Known for cozy bed-and-breakfast establishments, its no wonder New England has earned a reputation for delivering some of the best breakfasts in the country. A traditional New England breakfast consists of a healthy smattering of breakfast meats, eggs, cakes and sides, bringing tourists and locals out to taste a bit of early American history on their plates. The true melting-pot that brought settlers to this country from across the Atlantic Ocean has greatly influenced the culture and the cuisine.
What’s in a name? A corn cake by any other name – such as “jonny cake,” “journey cake” or even “hoecake” – tastes just as sweet. The generally agreed upon spelling on the Cape is “johnnycake,” but these sweet little breakfast treats are served all up and down the eastern seaboard and go by a variety of different names. It was also mentioned as a staple food by classic writers Washington Irving and Joel Barlow, which helped it to carve out a unique place in American history.
Today’s modern interpretation of the johnnycake that is served in New England, claims its origin in Rhode Island. In short, it is a fried cake of gruel made from cornmeal, salt, hot water or milk and, in some cases, a sweetener. The term hoecake is now primarily used in the American South to describe a southern version of the breakfast corncake.
Another traditional food would be fish cakes, which can be served up anytime of day for lunch or dinner, and yes – even for breakfast. Classic New England fish cakes will be typically made of cod or another local flaky white fish, which is then breaded and pan fried for a delicate, crispy crust.
A traditional breakfast enjoyed by both Yankee and British commercial fishermen, fish cakes may seem like an odd choice to folks outside the New England area, but they make a delightful morning meal. It is still served today at restaurants like Persy’s Place, which features 9 locations throughout Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and Eastern Rhode Island. Persy’s has included traditional fish cakes served with eggs on their breakfast menu for over 30 years.
Boston Baked Beans
You might be surprised to see this popular lunch and dinner side dish served for breakfast if you come from anywhere other than the New England area. The truth is, Boston Baked Beans have been traditionally served at breakfast all throughout the region for generations. One ingredient and a cooking method are what separate Boston Baked Beans from other types of baked beans.
The Pilgrims learned how to make baked beans at Plymouth Colony in the early 1620s from the Native Americans. Boston became an exporter of rum in the 1700s via the Triangular Trade, which utilized molasses in the distilling process, making it a popular local ingredient. Eventually the molasses was added to the baked beans recipe, creating what is now known as Boston Baked Beans.
In colonial days, the beans were traditionally cooked on overnight on Saturdays in a beanpot on the hearth of a brick oven and then served as a hot meal on Sunday mornings. A traditional beanpot is still used today, albeit in a modern oven, to re-create that slow-cooked flavor that is preferred over other methods.
Corned Beef Hash
Another classic American dish that has its roots planted firmly in New England, this dish was based upon leftovers provided by traditional boiled dinners that consisted of corned beef, onions, potatoes and cabbage. With origins that come from our country’s founders via Northern England, this truly American version of the dish is frequently attributed to cooks in the northeastern states.
Midwestern and southern versions of the recipe have also become popular over the years, but sadly most Americans have only ever had the canned version that is oddly sweet and strangely textured. Persy’s Place serves up a classic “4 hour hash” for over 30 years, making it an official house specialty. Persy’s corned beef hash is different from anything you’ll find anywhere else in the country and miles away from anything you could ever find in a can.
Persy’s Place: Home of New England’s Largest Breakfast & Lunch Menu
When Persy’s claims to have “New England’s Largest Breakfast & Lunch Menu” – they aren’t exaggerating. You’ll find tons of items on their breakfast and lunch menus that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Traditional New England breakfast menu items are also available featuring recipes for johnnycakes, corned beef hash, Boston Baked Beans, fish cakes and other regional delicacies that have been handed down for generations and enjoyed by diners for over 30 years.
Persy’s Place has locations in North Dartmouth, Kingston, Mashpee, Middleboro, Falmouth, Hyannis, Plymouth, East Wareham and a new diner that just opened in East Providence, Rhode Island. Visit one of their restaurants for an authentic taste of traditional New England breakfast and lunch cuisine.