What Kinds of Food Did People Eat in the New England Colonies?

Colonists in New England relied heavily on the natural resources around them for food, which means that their diets were typically rich in seafood, including fish such as cod and shellfish such as lobster and oysters. The cultural influence of Puritans also influenced the early Colonial cuisine of this region, resulting in a typically bland and efficient culinary tradition.

Though the New England colonies are closely associated with one of the most famous traditional American meals, Thanksgiving, early colonists in this area weren’t chowing down on giant roast turkeys with wine, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes. However, apple pie was not an uncommon dish, though the original Pilgrims likely didn’t have ingredients to make this dish at the time of the first Thanksgiving. Alcohol was rarely consumed in this part of the colonies, though even children may have consumed a lot of it at funerals.

New England’s soil is rather rocky, so farming didn’t really take off in this area. Crops were limited, and corn was a very popular vegetable for colonists in the region. Corn may have been mixed with other ingredients to create new dishes, such as a maize and rye porridge known by the unfortunate name of “rye ‘n’ injun.” Dishes such as baked beans and boiled meat and vegetables were also common.