While the origin of Durgin-Park goes back to Revolutionary days, the era of fame for its chowders, Indian puddings, apple pan dowdy, johnny cake, and New England boiled dinners started some 130 years ago when John Durgin, in partnership with Eldridge Park, a livery man, and John G. Chandler, a dry goods merchant, took over. The theme followed to this day was decided upon then by these old Yankees, that the best advertising is plenty of food on the table.
Just a Boy...
Got to understand the lad -
He's not eager to be bad;
If the right he always knew,
He would be as old as you.
Were he now exceeding wise,
He'd be just about your size;
When he does things that annoy,
Don't forget - he's just a boy.
Could he know and understand,
He would need no guiding hand;
But he's young and hans't learned,
How life's corners must be turned.
Doesn't know from day-to-day,
There's more to life than play,
More to face than selfless joy.
Don't forget - he's just a boy.
Begining just a boy he'll do,
Much you will not want him to;
He'll be careless of his ways,
Have his disobedient days.
Willful, Wild and headstrong too,
He'll need guidance kind and true;
Things of value he'll destroy,
But reflect - he's just a boy.
Just a boy who needs a friend,
Patient, kindly to the end;
Needs a father who will show
Him the things he wants to know,
Take him with you when you walk,
Listen when he wants to talk,
His companionship and joy,
Don't forget - he's just a
CORN BREAD 1
Tommy Ryan credits the consistent excellence of Durgin-Park's corn bread to a women called "Cornbread Helen," who had worked in the kitchen for
twenty-five years when he arrived in 1960. "She gave me the recipe, and I didn't change a thing," he says. "Although she used to make it in big stone crocks. Today we put the batter into baking pans to cook it." How does the batter get into the pans from the big vat in which it was made? Baker Martin Gonzales scoops it out with his hands and splashes it straight into the baking pan.
1/4 cup sugar, sifted
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 1/2 cups milk
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a bowl mix the sugar and the beaten eggs. In a separate bowl sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Add the cornmeal, melted butter, and milk. Beat just enough to mix Pour into a 8x12x1/2-inch-deep baking pan. Bake for about 30 minutes. This makes one pan full, which cuts into 20 squares.
Makes 20 servings
"We do not recognize Rhode Island clam chowder," declares chef Tommy Ryan. "They've got tomatoes in it." At this, he shrugs as if there is no
more to say: end discussion, point proved. New England clam chowder as made at Durgin-Park contains no tomatoes; in fact, it contains no vegetables at all except for potatoes. Its character is based on the simple commingling of ocean-sweet clams and dairy-rich half-and-half with a thick ribbon of melted butter to tie the two together.
4 pounds chopped clams
46 ounces clam juice
6 teaspoons celery salt
6 teaspoons white pepper
6 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
4 to 6 whole potatoes
1 pound butter
1 pound flour
1 quart half-and-half
Place the clams and clam juice in a stockpot. Add the celery salt, white pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and Tobasco sauce. Peel and dice the potatoes. Add to the clams. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to simmer, and cook slowly. In a small saucepan melt the butter. Add the flour to make a white roux. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes on low heat. Whisk the roux into the clam mixture, and add the half-and-half. Cook slowly to blend all the
makes 4 to 6 servings
BOSTON BAKED BEANS
If you want to see someone get riled, go to chef Tommy Ryan and mention the food company that came out a while ago with a product called
Boston Style Baked Beans. "Boston Style!" he scoffs. "They had tomatoes and all kinds of spices in there. I say it might have been some kind of
chili, but it was not beans, not baked beans as we know them." He points out that baked beans containing no tomatoes have been named the official state bean by the legislature, not to mention the fact that Boston's semiofficial nickname is Beantown, meaning Boston's own Durgin-Park ought to know how to make them. Although beans baked with salt pork are no longer considered the regular Saturday night supper in local homes, one out of five Durgin-Park customers orders them, and it would be inconceivable to have a plate of fish cakes without them. "The sweetness of the beans is a nice complement to the fish cakes, which we make good and salty," Tommy says.
1 pound (2 cups) dried navy beans
1/2 pound salt pork, cut in half
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup dark molasses
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
soak the beans overnight in cold water. The beans will double in size. Place the beans in a heavy saucepan, fill with water half an inch above the
beans, and boil for 25 to 30 minutes. The beans will be tender; do not over cook. (Place a bean between thumb and forefinger and pinch. The outer shell should slip off.) Drain and rinse, saving the stock. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place half the salt pork in the bottom of a large ovenproof pot. Add beans, sugar, molasses, dry mustard, white pepper, and salt. Top with the remaining half of the salt pork. Bake for 4 to 4 1/2 hours. Let beans rest 30 minutes before serving.
makes 6 to 8 servings
YANKEE POT ROAST
There was a time, not so long ago, when only grandmothers prepared pot roast. In recent years, as American cooks and eaters have come to appreciate the joys of comfort food, the dowdy old dish has earned a new lease on life. Of course, the kitchens of Durgin-Park never stop making it.
4 to 5 pounds pot roast (brisket or cap meat)
Flour for dredging
6 carrots, chopped
2 small onions
6 celery ribs
1 (3-pound) can stewed tomatoes
2 tablespoons celery salt
2 tablespoons white pepper
6 bay leaves
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
5 ounces A-1 sauce
6 ounces beef stock
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Dredge the pot roast in the flour, place the meat in a roasting pan and cook in the oven for 1 hour, browning all sides. Once browned, place the meat in a large stock pot or a Dutch oven. Cover with water. Add carrots, onions, celery, tomatoes, celery salt, white pepper, poultry seasoning, A-1 sauce and beef base. Simmer on top of the stove or in the oven at 325 degree F. Cook for approximately 2 hours or until the meat is tender. Strain the liquid. Make a paste out of equal amounts of flour and water and add to the liquid to make the gravy. Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes.
makes 10 to 12 servings
BAKED INDIAN PUDDING
Durgin-Park's Indian pudding is the best there is. Dark brown with substantial gravity, it smells like roasted corn and tastes like the first
Thanksgiving. The long cooking time is necessary to soften the corn and for the flavors to meld. Although some restaurants add raisins or other
flavorings, the only traditional way to doll it up is with a scoop of vanilla ice cream melting fast atop each hot serving. Tommy Ryan loves telling the
story about the time he was eating in New Hampshire-just a regular customer, unknown to the staff. He asked the waitress if they had any Indian pudding for dessert. "Well, we do," she said reluctantly, but then she bent close and clued him into a secret: "Sir, if you want really good Indian pudding, I suggest you go to Durgin-Park."
Just to keep the record straight: this is not a Native American dish adapted by the colonist cooks. Its name comes from the fact that early
settlers considered virtually anything made with corn to be Indian nature.
1 1/2 plus 1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup black molasses
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. In a bowl mix 1 1/2 cups of the milk with
the molasses, sugar, butter, salt, baking powder, egg and cornmeal. Pour the
mixture into a stone crock that has been well greased and bake until it
boils. Heat and stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk. Lower the oven
temperature to 300 degrees F and bake for 5 to 7 hours. Serve warm with
whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
makes 4 to 6 servings boy.