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Maine: Pine Tree State

CAPITAL: Augusta
JOINED UNION: March 15, 1820
STATE BIRD: Chickadee
STATE FLOWER: White Pine Cone
MEANING OF STATE NAME: Assumed to be a reference to the state region being a mainland,different from its many surrounding islands
1992 POPULATION: 1,235,396
LAND AREA: 30,865 square miles
ECONOMY: Lumber and pulp paper production (almost 90 percent of the state is forest), lobster fishing, sardine cans, shoes, blueberries
HISTORY: Micmac and Penobscot Indians probably fished Maine's coastal waters before white settlers discovered its bounties. Englishman John Cabot explored this area in the 1490s. Permanent English settlements began here in 1623 and the area became part of Massachusetts in 1691, becoming a separate state in 1820. The first naval fighting of the Revolutionary War took place in 1775 off the coast of Maine when colonists seized a British ship. Maine residents often call their region "Down East," a reference to sailing jargon for a certain wind direction; the bays off Maine's coast draw lots of sailors.

New England Soup 1993


As capital of this most Yankee of New England states, Portland could be said to rule over the region's coastal cuisine; however, that would be unfair to the other states who share this rich seafood heritage and a famous dish called New England Clam Chowder.

As made by the colonists, chowder differed from other fish soups because it used salt pork and ship's biscuits. Today most chowders don't contain biscuits, but generally have crackers sprinkled on top.

New England Clam Chowder is white and made with a chicken or fish stock that is slightly thickened with cream or milk. It is enriched with butter and onions, potatoes, and fresh clams. Generous dashes of salt and pepper give it zip.

A rival dish is Manhattan Clam Chowder, which has tomatoes added that give it a distinctive red coloring. Whether the practice of adding tomatoes originated in Manhattan is debatable. Chowders are rather easy to make and have warmed New England fishermen and city folk alike during cold winters.

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