Statewide — Once a staple of Maine households, boiled dinners have suffered a tremendous falling out as more of the meal’s biggest fans die of old age.
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Boiled dinners, in which a ham, potatoes, cabbage and other greens are boiled to remove toughness and flavor, aren’t exciting Maine’s young people, who are used to tasting things other than salt.
“We used to eat it at my great-grandmother’s house,” Cherryfield native Travis Smith said.
“I remember when we’d walk in, the house smelled like feet. But the food tasted like nothing,” Smith said.
Boiled dinners have many variations, from the type of meat to the vegetables accompanying it. But no matter what foods are added to the pot, they all share a similar lack of flavor and unpleasant consistency.
“I remember getting a piece of fat and it was like just the worst texture,” Smith said.
“Halfway between chewy and liquid.”
Smith remembers in the spring, part of dinner was dandelion greens, which he recalls fondly.
“Those were the best,” he said.
“You got to douse them in vinegar so then there was at least some kind of flavor.”