Photo: Jack Amick, Flickr
Few cities can claim foodie credentials of Boston's caliber – after all, its go-to nickname is a nod to one of its staple foodstuffs: Beantown. And those no-nonsense baked beans are a tip off to the matter-of-fact approach to menus that most locals take. "It comes from the whole Yankee Puritan side, taking pleasure in making do, not wasting, using up – it has permeated a lot of our food traditions here," explains Georgia Orcutt, who works for Oldways a Boston-based organization that promotes traditional, non-processed food. She cites scrod as a key example: on fish menus, it will be listed alongside salmon or cod. But scrod is simply "whatever fish anyone can get their hands on as catch of the day" – no Bostonian fisherman would waste any fish once caught. "It's a combination of needing to be frugal for survival, for the Pilgrims, and that Puritan work ethic," agrees food writer Susan Nye, "That thriftiness has existed in Boston for centuries – my dad has a funny story about how his friends would come back from Christmas to university with bags filled with their grandmothers' leftovers." That Yankee frugality continues to ricochet round the restaurants here – and it's never been more timely, as Orcutt notes. "The Boston way of cooking – how can you use up something rather than waste it? It's coming back big time in this economy."