Colonial foods eaten in Rhode Island include johnnycakes, chowder and cranberry muffins. Johnnycakes were made by mixing together hot water, salt and cornmeal and frying the cakes on an iron griddle. Other colonial Rhode Island foods include rags and tatters or cheese biscuits, clam fritters, pumpkin bread, apple chutney and molasses candy.
Because Rhode Island was such a small colony with little land for farming, the people focused instead on the food they could get from the sea. This was, in part, also influenced by the Portuguese who settled here. Cherrystone clams and quahog were abundant, which the residents then made into chowder. Rhode Islanders even started farming oysters by developing underwater oyster beds.
Cranberries and syrup were also plentiful, not only Rhode Island but in New England as well. Rhode Islanders used this bounty of cranberries to make cranberry muffins. Raisins were a popular imported item in Rhode Island. The sweetness of the fruit made them ideal treats for children and great in recipes. Colonials made cobblestone spice cookies using raisins, vanilla, brown sugar, butter and flour.