CELEBRATING MAINE’S BICENTENNIAL A PORTRAIT OF LIFE AT THE TIME OF STATEHOOD
GETTING FIT IN THE NEW YEAR • SKATING & DATING • 7 FOODS THAT MADE MAINE
MAINE IN 1820
An intimate portrait of life at the time of statehood
50 7 FOODS THAT MADE MAINE If you are what you eat, Mainers are pretty tasty
Visit historic Augusta
MAINE IN 1820
7 FOODS THAT MADE MAINE
IN EVERY ISSUE 08
Local news & sightings
What we can’t get enough of this month
TO BE 17 AGAIN
Tales from a high school English teacher
ON THE COVER Celebrating Maine’s 200th birthday. Art by Amy Allen
2 / BANGOR METRO January/February 2020
PHOTOS: (MAP) BY MOSES GREENLEAF; BRENT HOFACKER/ADOBE STOCK
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
FOOD & DRINK
HEALTH & FITNESS
14 Q&A: THE REAL GRAVEYARD SHIFT
We’re sweet on stuffed sweet potatoes. Discover two tasty recipes for this winter treat.
24 WHAT’S THE RIGHT EXERCISE FOR YOU?
Meet the team helping to preserve Maine’s oldest cemeteries
IN SEASON NOW
Find 6 exercises to jumpstart your new year fitness journey
PHOTOS: (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT) PAOLO GALLO MODENA 2012/ADOBE STOCK: SARAH WALKER CARON; AISLINN SARNACKI; KATIE SMITH; AMY ALLEN; AARON D. PRIEST/ADOBE STOCK
Take an adventure date on the ice
HOME & FAMILY
FROM BEACHY TO COZY
Transform your home’s coastal decor to winter warmth
CRAFTING WITH KIDS
Show your love with a funky rock family portrait
WOODS & WATERS
Travel through 200 years in Maine woods
CREATE A WINTER MANTLE
Design an outdoor-inspired mantle www.bangormetro.com BANGOR METRO / 3
WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE 200 YEARS AGO HERE IN MAINE?
That’s a question I posed to my writers as we began working on this issue. It was hard work and required much research, writing and rewriting but my writers did something amazing — creating some very insightful looks at the history and development of Maine (read them beginning on page 42). I hope you enjoy the fruits of their labor. While we were working on this issue, I headed south to Augusta for a day in the capital. I hiked and ate, shopped and explored (read more about getting out in Maine on page 56). And I made sure to fit in a stop at the Maine State Museum, which I’d been to only once before. As I walked through the museum, I kept stopping to read signs and snap photos. The museum is a wonderful place to explore what life was like before the internet and social media changed how we live fundamentally. By far though, my favorite exhibits showed life in the 1800s — when clothes were washed by hand, rooms were lit by candle and a day’s work never seemed to be done. It really put into perspective how far we’ve come as a people — and how progress, while scary, can improve lives. It’s progress, afterall, that’s freed us up to enjoy the great outdoors (see Aislinn Sarnacki’s column Hike ME on page 28), decorate our homes for fun (see stories on page 34-39) and even find joy in workouts (see page 24 to find the perfect one for you). So although I have no intention of embracing handy dandy reorder buttons all over my house or loading my credit card numbers into my phone, I do see the value in how, for instance, Facetime allows my kids to talk to their grandparents face to face even when we’re far apart geographically. And I appreciate how I can have a slow-cooked dish (see In Season Now on page 20) without having to be home while it cooks all day long. So it’s not all bad. And on that note, I wish you a very happy new year. I do hope you love this issue as much as we loved creating it! XOXO,
SARAH WALKER CARON, EDITOR
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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS & PHOTOGRAPHERS Katie Smith, Bob Duchesne, Emily Morrison, Sam Schipani, Aimee Thibodeau, Karen Tietjen www.bangormetro.com BANGOR METRO / 5
6 / BANGOR METRO January/February 2020
MEET OUR CONTRIBUTORS
Bangor Metro Magazine. January/February 2020, Vol. 16, No. 1. Copyright © Bangor Publishing Company. Bangor Metro is published 10 times annually by Bangor Publishing Company. All rights reserved. This magazine may not be reproduced in whole or part in any form without the written permission of the Publisher. Bangor Metro is mailed at standard rates from Portland, Maine. Opinions expressed in either the editorial or advertisements do not represent the opinions of the staff or publisher of Bangor Metro magazine. Advertisers and event sponsors or their agents are responsible for copyrights and accuracy of all material they submit. Bangor Metro magazine to the best of its ability ensures the acuracy of information printed in the publication. Inquiries and suggestions are welcome and encouraged. Letters to the editor, story suggestions, and other reader input will be subject to Bangor Metro’s unrestricted right to edit and publish in the magazine both in print and online. Editorial: Queries should be sent to Sarah Walker Caron at email@example.com. Advertising: For advertising questions, please call the Sales Director Todd Johnston at 207-990-8129. Subscriptions/Address Change: The one year subscription cost is $15.95. Address changes: to ensure delivery, subscribers must notify the magazine of address changes one month in advance of the cover date. Please contact Fred Stewart at 207-990-8075. Accounts Payable/Receivable: For information about your account please contact Todd Johnston at 207-990-8129.
COVER DESIGN: Amy Allen
AWARDS SHOW? GOLDEN GLOBES! CRITICS CHOICE AWARDS! SAG AWARDS! GRAMMYS! ACADEMY AWARDS! JANUARY AND FEBRUARY ARE AWARDS SEASON. DO YOU WATCH — AND, IF SO, WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE AWARDS SHOW?
Though it’s usually in the form of highlight clips from stand-out musical numbers on YouTube, I always find a way to watch the Tony Awards. Once a theater kid, always a theater kid.” — SAM SCHIPANI, STAFF WRITER
“I watch as many as I remember to turn on. I love awards shows — the fashion, the speeches, the moments! But I especially try never to miss the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards. My family loves movies and we love to see which ones end up being selected for awards. For the Academy Awards, in particular, we also all do our own home-voting, which is always silly fun.” — SARAH WALKER CARON, EDITOR
“Viewership of award shows is dwindling, and understandably the shows receive backlash for the lack of diversity, but I continue to be a dedicated viewer. I am a lover of all things celebrity and awards shows. Even if I haven’t seen a movie or a TV show that has been nominated, I will watch the awards with bated breath. And the pre-show red carpet. My favorite ones are the Golden Globes, SAG Awards and the Academy Awards, but I will watch the others if I have the time. The only downside is how late they stay on! I will gather some wine and snacks and sit myself down on the couch, screaming if an actor or a movie I have actually seen wins an award. I love picking up the People magazine issue the following week with the highlight of all the red carpet fashions.” — ROSEMARY LAUSIER, CONTRIBUTOR
“To be honest, I have never understood the excitement of awards season and rarely watch any of the events. Then again, much of that could just be my longstanding bitterness that no one ever calls to ask MY opinion. #sourgrapes.” — JULIA BAYLY, STAFF WRITER www.bangormetro.com BANGOR METRO / 7
JANUARY/FEBRUARY MONDAY, JAN. 15 STAR WARS TRIVIA Do you know Star Wars? Like really know it? Test your intergalactic knowledge at the Star Wars Trivia Night planned for the Sea Dog Brewing Company on Monday, Jan. 15 beginning at 6pm. Bragging rights — and prizes — are up for grabs.
JAN. 18-19 SNOWCON GAMING CONVENTION On the dark, cold and often snowy days of winter, a bright spot appears in mid-January as the SnowCon gaming convention takes place at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Tabletop game lovers come from near and far to 8 / BANGOR METRO January/February 2020
play old favorites, try new games and partake in tournaments. And if you love playing games, this is where you want to be too. Visit www.snowconmaine.com for more details.
SATURDAY, JAN. 25 2020 WISHING UNDER THE STARS GALA Join the Brewer Kiwanis for the 2020 Wishing Under the Stars Gala, a fun-filled evening in support of Maine-A-Wish Maine. The evening will include a dinner, an all-you-can-eat candy buffet, music, dancing, an auction and side-splitting entertainment. Tickets are $50/person and can be purchased by contacting Brewer Kiwanis on Facebook, calling Lordina at Marsh Property 207-974-6606, or asking any Brewer Kiwanian.
FEBRUARY 8-10 2020 US TOBOGGAN CHAMPIONSHIPS The U.S. National Toboggan Championships is a perfect combination of competition, costumes and tailgating in Maine’s great outdoors in February! The annual competition draws tobogganers of all levels for races. Join in the fun while everyone strives to stay warm and win a trophy! www.camdensnowbowl.com.
FEB. 7-9 FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL Celebrate all things Grateful Dead at the second annual Fire on the Mountain Festival at Sugarloaf Mountain this
PHOTO: (TOP) ADOBE STOCK; (RIGHT) BDN FILE
Schoodic Lake Ice Fishing Derby
February! The music of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead will be performed by some of New Englandâ€™s most talented bands; each with their own take on arguably the most enduring catalog of American rock and roll music. Tickets start at $20. For more information: sugarloaf.com/events-calendar/ fire-on-the-mountain.
FEB. 15-16 58TH ANNUAL SCHOODIC LAKE ICE FISHING DERBY Are you a champion ice fisher? Head to Schoodic Lake and find out by entering the big, annual ice fishing derby! The event draws hundreds of ice fishers and takes place on several lakes. Plus, $1 from each ticket will be donated to Honor Flight Maine.
FEB. 8-10 2020 US Toboggan Championships
www.bangormetro.com BANGOR METRO / 9
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WHAT’S HAPPENING FEB 29- MAR. 1 CABIN FEVER RELIEVER Join the Penobscot Fly Fishers for the annual two-day celebration of the Maine outdoors from archery and fly-fishing to hunting and land conservation. Plus! Bangor Metro columnist and author Aislinn Sarnacki and Bangor Daily News columnist and author John Holyoke will be on hand to meet fans all weekend. The event is held at the Joseph L. Ferris Community Center (formerly known as the world-famous Brewer Auditorium) at 318 Wilson St. in Brewer. It opens at 10am each day. Free entry.
FEB. 29 — MARCH 1 PHOTO: BDN FILE
Cabin Fever Reliever
STILL STUMPED? Here are the answers to last month’s Pop Quiz.
Answers to this month’s Pop Quiz on page 13: Question 1: B; Q2: C; Q3: A; Q4: A; Q5: B. www.bangormetro.com BANGOR METRO / 11
HERE’S A LOOK AT JUST A FEW SPECIAL EVENTS FROM THE PAST MONTH... 2
1: The Greater Bangor Association of REALTORS held their annual Spirit of Giving Celebration, sponsored by Maine Savings and CUSO Home Lending. Casey Deanne, Boyd Kronholm, Amanda Cost and Elizabeth Tilton posed for a photo. 2: The Robinson Ballet performed The Nutcracker at theatres throughout the state beginning in November. This shot, taken backstage at The Grand in Ellsworth, captures the dancers in the iconic freeze scene when Drosselmeyer makes his entrance. 3: Bangor High School Visual & Performing Arts recently presented “The Wizard of Oz.” The production was directed by Deborah Elz-Hammond, assisted by student director Claire Thompson, technical director Samantha Hall and musical director George Redman.
SHARE YOUR EVENT PHOTOS! 12 / BANGOR METRO January/February 2020
Email your photos and captions to
PHOTOS: (1, 3, 4, 6) JEFF KIRLIN / THE THING OF THE MOMENT; (2) SADIE WEBB FOR ROBINSON BALLET ; (5) GIBRAN VOGUE GRAHAM
Happy Birthday Maine! Test your Maine-iac knowledge and play Pop Quiz!
4: Kris Doody of Cary Medical Center and Sam Collins of S.W. Collins Company were welcomed to the Junior Achievement Maine Business Hall of Fame recently. 5: Maine author Tess Gerritsen poses with a fan at the Bangor Public Library on Dec. 4 following a book talk and signing. 6: Bangor Federal Credit Union held their annual holiday party recently at Morgan Hill Event Center.
FIND ANSWERS TO LAST MONTHâ€™S POP QUIZ ON PAGE 11!
Find answers on Page 11! www.bangormetro.com BANGOR METRO / 13
PHOTO: PAOLO GALLO MODENA/ADOBE STOCK
ARTS & CULTURE
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GRAVEYARD SHIFT BY AIMEE THIBODEAU
WE’VE ALL SEEN them … the old cemetery on the side of a winding country road. Faded and sometimes crumbling headstones tilted or fallen over. Iron fences or stone walls overgrown with vegetation. There is some old New England charm to the way they can appear out of nowhere, but the history they hold is valuable to learning about our state’s past and preserving it for the future. One group, the Maine Old Cemetery Association, has taken on the seemingly never ending task of finding and documenting these 7,000-plus sites, educating others how to care for aging gravestones, and recording this important piece of our state’s story. We recently talked with the group’s president, Jessica Couture, to learn more about MOCA. NAME: Jessica Couture AGE: Younger than a marble gravestone RESIDENCE: Waterville WHAT IS THE MAINE OLD CEMETERY ASSOCIATION? Jessica Couture: We are a statewide nonprofit group dedicated to the preservation of Maine’s neglected cemeteries. Last year, we celebrated 50 years of our founding in 1968 by Dr. Hilda Fife. WHY IS THIS ORGANIZATION IMPORTANT TO OUR STATE'S HISTORY? JC: We have a boundless project called Maine Inscription Project. From the early days of MOCA, volunteers have recorded the information on gravestones all over the state. Roland Jordan, a longtime MOCA
member, created the database and pulled together what is now over a million records of gravestones all over the state of Maine. The records of the graves are important to our state’s history because they are the connection with those who were here when our state began. The woods and fields are overtaking many of these often tiny cemeteries or single gravestones all over our state, which is a loss of history. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEMETERY OR GRAVESTONE DISCOVERY? WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL? JC: That is a nearly impossible question! I have an affinity for slate gravestones. They amaze me in how they are often 200 years old and can look like they were just carved and placed. Cast iron fences, gates and ornamentation are also an area of interest for me. I would say I like the many small discoveries. I enjoy doing the detective work and have spent a lot of time in many cemeteries, at workshops or otherwise, to find missing bases and pieces to stones or to study how things happened. Reuniting gravestones with their original site or getting the pieces back with one another is very satisfying. WHO BELONGS TO THE MAINE OLD CEMETERY ASSOCIATION? JC: Anyone and everyone — genealogists, photographers, historians, writers, teachers. People join for the networking, presentations and cemetery tours at our spring, summer and fall program days around the state. Some like to photograph the artwork on the stones and everything related to old cemeteries. Others have specific searches and work to
find connections for their missing family graves. Historians and those with military backgrounds work to make sure our veterans graves are known and cared for. Some study specific gravestone carvers and the origins of the stones. Others research the stories of those interred and retell their histories that had been forgotten. IF PEOPLE ARE INTERESTED IN THE ORGANIZATION, HOW CAN THEY GET INVOLVED? JC: Become a member and support Maine’s old cemeteries! Attend one of our gravestone preservation workshops and learn how to properly clean and/or repair gravestones. We will be in Lubec next July 10 to 13 for a beginner’s four-day workshop. We try to offer these at least every two years in different parts of Maine. They are an excellent way for people to attend and learn skills they can bring back to help their local cemeteries. People can also help with the always ongoing cemetery transcriptions, both data entry and cemetery visits — some just need updating with GPS locations, modern directions and additional information such as epitaphs, which were often not recorded decades ago. We are always interested in cemeteryrelated articles for our website and quarterly newsletter. Make your voice heard with our Legislators, your city or town councils and select boards. Let your elected officials know the preservation of our old cemeteries is very important to you. For more information about MOCA, visit moca-me.org or find them on Facebook. www.bangormetro.com BANGOR METRO / 15
OBSESSIONS WHAT WE CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF THIS MONTH.
READ Every month, many new books cross my desk. I purchase even more. These are a few that I particularly enjoyed and recommend.
“THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE,” BY KRISTIN HARMEL — It’s 1940 in the Champagne region of France when Ines is a newlywed living with her husband Michel on the grounds of the famed champagne house Maison Chauveau, which he owns. As the book opens, it’s the beginning of a dark time for Europe — Germans invade France. Danger mounts. Michel is doing what he can to help the Résistance, including hiding munitions in the champagne houses’ cellars. This moving novel exposes the dangers, fears, missteps and betrayals of not just Ines and Michael, but their winemaker and his wife too. And it’s all set against the story of Liv Kent, a young woman in New York in 2019, whose eccentric French grandmother whisks her off to Europe just as the ink dries on Liv’s divorce papers. How do these stories connect? This book will have you guessing right until the very end. (HISTORICAL FICTION)
“THE ULTIMATE COMPANION TO MEAT,” BY ANTHONY PUHARICH AND LIBBY TRAVERS — Oh, cookbooks, how do I love thee? This cookbook in particular has found a special place on my shelf. It’s a comprehensive guide to buying and cooking meat of so many different kinds. This is perfect for the home cook who wants to not just make good food but really understand why it’s good too. (COOKBOOK) —SARAH WALKER CARON
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PHOTOS: ©PATPITCHAYA, ©BILLIONPHOTOS.COM/ADOBE STOCK
“COG,” BY GREG VAN EEKHOUT — Sure, Cog looks like a normal 12-year-boy. But beneath the surface, he’s electronic — a robot built to learn. And that’s what he does until he’s hit by a car one day when he decides to save a dog from the road. When he wakes up, he’s in a lab far from the home he shared with Gina, the scientist who created and cared for him. There, things go haywire and Cog sees a different side to the company that spawned him. When other scientists plan to take out Cog’s brain, he teams up with a trio of other robots, escapes and heads out on a quest to find and save Gina. Along the way, there’s a lot of learning — and some pretty human moments for the band of robots too. This was a great book to read with my kids — fun, imaginative and thought-provoking. (MIDDLE GRADE FICTION)
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OBSESSIONS WHAT WE CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF THIS MONTH.
DRINK WEST MARKET SQUARE ARTISAN COFFEE HOUSE WHY DO WE LOVE IT? Do not get between me and a source of coffee in the morning and, for the sake of all mankind, make damn sure that coffee is strong, hot and black. At West Market Square Artisan Coffee House, the caffeinated brew is all of the above. Whenever I go in, it feels like walking into my best friend’s kitchen where the vibe is relaxed, the people smiling and the coffee is always on. Equal parts coffee shop and community gathering place, in the summer there are tables and bright red rocking chairs set up out front in which to sip your brew. Inside all year long the set up is one that encourages conversation and relaxing with fellow coffee
aficionados. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve ended up sitting with complete strangers and by the time we were down to our last sip of coffee, it felt like we’d all known each other for years. There’s a variety of hot and cold coffee drinks along with herbal teas and a selection of sweet and savory baked goods made by local bakers using local ingredients. And for people like me who can’t face reality in the morning before that all-important cup of Joe? From 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Monday through Friday it’s “Grumpy Hour” and a 16-ounce coffee is just $2. West Market Square Artisan Coffee House is located at 24 Broad St. in Bangor. For more info, visit westmarketsquareartisancoffeehouse.com. — JULIA BAYLY
EAT SIMPLY MACARONS BY JAELIN WHY DO WE LOVE IT? My boyfriend and I are obsessed with macarons: airy, varicolored French sandwich cookies with a meringue shell and creamy filling (not to be confused with macaroons, a coconut treat that is delicious in its own right but doesn’t come with the allure of seemingly infinite flavors and colors). They are extremely difficult to make, so we are on a quest to find the best macarons in Maine. So far, our favorites are Simply Macarons by Jaelin. The cookies are a perfect balance of crispy and chewy (that first bite into the meringue shell is make-or-break it, in my opinion), and they come in a wide variety of fun, delicious flavors. My favorites right now are lemon and pistachio, but I haven’t tried the winter seasonal flavors, so that might change. You can buy them at Tea and Tarts in Downtown Bangor on “Macaron Mondays,” or on Saturday mornings at Bangor’s European Market on Buck Street. I had been buying them religiously for weeks before I realized that Jaelin Roberts, the eponymous master baker herself, is still a teenager and a student at John Bapst Memorial High School. Now, I think of my weekly macaron indulgence as a donation to whatever higher education she eventually wishes to pursue, and let me tell you: I have been very generous to the cause. — SAM SCHIPANI
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WATCH "MODERN LOVE" ON AMAZON PRIME WHY DO WE LOVE IT? I recently watched the new Amazon Prime original show “Modern Love.” I saw the previews for it all over the place and recognized many big name actors such as Dev Patel, Anne Hathaway and Tina Fey. Based on stories from a weekly New York Times column, I binged all eight episodes over the course of a weekend. Each episode revolves around a different type of love: the one between a young woman and her doorman, a married gay couple and the woman who is pregnant with the baby they want to adopt, a married couple who find themselves in a slump, desperate to reconnect. I love anthologies and you can jump in whenever you want. But I definitely encourage to watch every episode. You will go through all the emotions with this one.
PHOTOS: ©NATALIA ZIMNEVA, ©DIANA VYSHNIAKOVA/ADOBE STOCK
— ROSEMARY LAUSIER
Your ad could be on this page. Advertise in Bangor Metro’s Food & Drink section. Call 990-8000.
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in season now FOOD & DRINK
POTATOES STORY & PHOTOS BY SARAH WALKER CARON
SHOPPING FARMERS markets is comparatively easy in the summer months. It’s warm and inviting outside, and shopping from vendors at markets is a fun, social thing to do. In the winter though, it’s more of a commitment. Shopping outdoor markets all bundled up is a different experience — one driven by the want for local food overriding the desire to be warm. Indoor markets are still a different experience too, and can feel less social than summer ones. And still, for those of us who love eating locally grown foods, it’s worth it. At this time of year, markets are flush with storage crops like onions, carrots, parsnips and potatoes. And, if you’re lucky, you might just find some sweet potatoes there too. I hope you do. Baked sweet potatoes make a wonderful canvas for so many dishes. Here are two ways in which I like to serve them — one with slow cooker chicken and one with a pancetta veggie topping. Both are delightful for cold-weather dinners.
SLOW COOKER PULLED BARBECUE CHICKEN ON SWEET POTATOES Serves: 4
INGREDIENTS 1 sweet Vidalia onion, quartered and thinly sliced 1½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, visible fat trimmed 8 oz bag frozen mixed pepper strips ½ cup barbecue sauce 4 sweet potatoes
INSTRUCTIONS Layer the onions, chicken thighs, pepper strips and barbecue sauce in the bowl of a slow cooker.
PHOTO: (THIS PHOTO) ADOBE STOCK
Cook on low for 8 hours. About hour before the chicken is done, prick the sweet potatoes a few times on top with a fork and cook at 400 degrees for about 50-60 minutes. Play a tray under them for easy clenaup (they will bubble). Using 2 forks, shred the chicken. Mix together with the veggies and sauce. Serve.
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FOOD & DRINK
BAKED SWEET POTATOES WITH CRISPY PANCETTA VEGGIE TOPPING Serves: 4
INGREDIENTS 4 medium sweet potatoes 4 oz diced pancetta 4 shallots, peeled, halved and sliced (a scant ½ cup) 2 small carrots, small diced (a scant 2⁄3 cup) ¼ cup small diced green pepper 1 clove garlic salt and pepper, to taste
INSTRUCTIONS Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Wash and scrub the sweet potatoes. Prick each four times with a fork. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until tender. Remove from the oven and let cool. Cut a cross in the top of each potato. Squeeze to open. Use a fork to mash the flesh. Season with salt and pepper and mix. In a large skillet, cook the pancetta until browned. Remove the crisp pancetta to a mixing bowl, and drain the rendered fat from the pan, reserving 2 tablespoons in the pan. Add the shallots, carrots and green peppers to the pan and saute until crisp and browned, about 8-10 minutes. Drain and add the veggies to the pancetta. Mix well. Divide the topping evenly among the sweet potatoes. Enjoy.
SARAH WALKER CARON is the editor of Bangor Metro magazine and the author of several cookbooks including “One-Pot Pasta,” “The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook,” and “Grains as Mains.” Her latest cookbook, “The Easy Appetizer Cookbook,” is out now from Rockridge Press. She is also the creator of the popular food blog Sarah’s Cucina Bella (www.sarahscucinabella.com).
www.bangormetro.com BANGOR METRO / 23
HEALTH & FITNESS
6 EXERCISES TO JUMPSTART YOUR NEW YEAR FITNESS JOURNEY BY ROSEMARY LAUSIER
THE SUMMER after my freshman year of college, I was in the worst shape of my 19 years so far. I grew up dancing, but once that stopped, I went down a dark hole of unhealthy habits which included a complete lack of exercise, poor food choices and a lack of confidence. It wasn’t until I started going to a trainer that I learned how much better I would feel, and how much fun exercising would be! Six years later, I am in the best shape — although it naturally fluctuates — and I love so many forms of exercising and trying new ones. I am a huge lover of yoga, but it’s time to let the other exercise practices shine. Here are some exercises that can take you into the new year and your new lifestyle goals, whatever those may be.
People either love or hate running — nothing in between. Running is an intense cardiovascular and weight bearing exercise that you can do indoors on the treadmill or outside in nature. It’s an accessible, non-expensive (even free) exercise. The main muscles that running targets are the glutes, quads, hip flexors, hamstrings, calves and the muscles in your core. But it’s important to keep in mind to start
Barre classes are all level with non-impact movements that are great for those with injuries. Classes are a balance of strength training and muscle toning and and the barre is used as a balance point as you hold your body still while targeting specific muscles. You work on your triceps (lighter weights are used for curls), glutes and calves (from plies and leg raises), chest, abs and back, in addition to smaller muscles you may not have heard of. Kara Cyr, trainer at LA Training and BarSculpt instructor at Om Land Yoga, said barre also targets the psoas muscles that run through your hips and lower back, the transverse abs that act as your “corset” muscles, your obliques along
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off slow and then build your way up when you’re first beginning. Don’t run two miles on your very first day with no preparation. Always warm up before and cool down afterwards. WHERE YOU CAN DO IT: Trails in Bangor (a list can be found on bangormaine.gov); Planet Fitness; YMCA; at home.
your side and your rhomboids in your upper back. Cyr said a barre class is great for the elderly because you create bone density with light weights and your own body weight. Athletes such as runners and skiiers benefit from the class because it helps build muscles slowly without putting too much stress on the knee, and builds those small muscles in the ankles and legs. There are different forms of barre like BarSculpt which vary in structure and tempo, but are all based on the same movements. WHERE YOU CAN DO IT: LA Training; Om Land Yoga (Brewer location); Gold’s Gym.
PHOTO: Â©ND3000/ADOBE STOCK
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HEALTH & FITNESS
According to Amy Pozzy, certified Stott pilates instructor and owner of Beyond Movement with Pilates, Pilates works your whole body “in every plane of motion.” Pozzy said Pilates works your core and stabilizing muscles, helping you stay upright and improve your posture. Similar to yoga, Pilates requires you to be mindful of your body’s movements and increases focus and awareness. As I wrote in our March issue, mindfulness can help induce relaxation and reduce stress. Different forms of Pilates are done with reformer machines or chairs to increase resistance to strengthen muscles and work on your balance. WHERE YOU CAN DO IT: Beyond Movement with Pilates; Body Wise Pilates; LA Training; Bangor Region YMCA.
Zumba is an aerobic interval exercise inspired by various types of Latin American dance. Zumba combines cardio, muscle conditioning, balance and flexibility through a series of choreographed steps and twists, according to Zumba Fitness. Classes are a mix of low-intensity and high-intensity slow and fast rhythmic moves with result in a total workout for the body. An alternative to Zumba is STRONG by Zumba which combines body weight, muscle conditioning and cardio moves. Each move goes to the beat of the music. According to the STRONG by Zumba official
CIRCUIT AND INTERVAL TRAINING
Circuit training is targeted toward getting more of a full body workout. Usually a circuit training session consists of 10 to 12 exercises with eight rounds each with cardio usually at the end. Miles Gagnon, performance and movement coach at Hybrid Wellness and Fitness, said most people can do circuit training and most exercises can be modified as needed. Some exercises he suggests are goblet squats (quads), chest press (chest muscles), biking (quads, hamstrings), side plants (obliques, shoulders and upper back) and rows (biceps, middle back and shoulders). Gagnon said interval training is more high intensity and there is usually cardio involved. You
I can’t make a list without adding some yoga. What’s so wonderful about yoga is that it’s easily accessible to everyone at every age. Some yoga classes are higher intensity, but then you have restorative and yin which really help you stretch out and get centered after a stressful week. Holly Twining, founder of Maine Yoga Adventures and teacher at Om Land Yoga, said beginners should start with gentle classes and work
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site, polymetric moves such as high knees, burpees and jumping jacks are interchanged with isometric moves such as lunges, squats and kickboxing. Although it can be a more intensive workout than a regular Zumba class, both are equally rewarding.
PHOTOS: ©BOJAN, LEV DOLGACHOV, ©JACKF, NAIZNANKU.COM, WEERAYUT/ADOBE STOCK
WHERE YOU CAN DO IT: Sunshine’s Fitness Studio & Wellness Center; Bangor Region YMCA.
will typically do 10 seconds of intense exercise such as sprinting, jumping rope and aggressive bicycling followed by a rest that’s at least 20 seconds or more. It’s more about the exercise being short and intense and doing as many as you can and requires more demand on the cardiovascular system. Interval training
is geared more toward athletes or those preparing for a fitness competition.
their way up to more challenging classes over time. She said for older yogis who have trouble getting on and off the floor, chair yoga is a great alternative, but the most important piece is to just start. Aerial yoga is another great type of yoga practice because you are working with a hammock and gravity will help with stretches that you can’t get on the mat. The same applies to partner yoga which helps expand muscles that you can’t
normally do yourself. Some poses Twining suggests are figure four laying on your back or bringing our knees towards your chest to open up your hips. Practicing cat and cow (which you do on all fours and requires you to round then arch your spine) helps with taking tightness out of the back (as long as you cushion your knees). Forward fold is also great (and one of my personal favorites) for releasing your hamstrings and
WHERE YOU CAN DO IT: Hybrid Health & Performance; Wilcox Wellness & Fitness; Bangor Region YMCA; Union Street Athletics; LA Training.
torso. Also, yoga is great for doing at home as well as outdoors. Twining — who does many of her adventures outdoors — said it helps you to connect with nature as well as aids your deep breathing, mind clearing and balance challenges. WHERE YOU CAN DO IT: Outside in a park; at home; Gold’s Gym; LA Training; Om Land Yoga; Bangor Region YMCA.
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z LOVE ON THE ICE
ICE SKATING ADVENTURES ARE A FUN WINTER DATE BY AISLINN SARNACKI
PUSHING OFF from the snowy shore, she glides out onto the frozen pond. The sun glistens off the ice, and a cold breeze carries sparkling snow crystals across its smooth surface. As she takes in the beauty of the winter landscape, her cheeks turn a rosy pink and her body starts to warm up from the exertion of ice skating. With a tilt of her skates, she moves in a wide arc, turning back to shore. There her date is lacing up his skates. He hands her a backpack, which contains some safety gear, extra layers of clothing and a thermos of hot chocolate. Then they’re off to explore the pond, hand in hand. Doing something active outside can be an excellent way to spend quality time with someone and get to know them better. And more specifically, ice skating is an activity that has a unique carefree quality to it — maybe because there’s often no real objective. The only goal is to glide and twirl and have fun. In addition, ice skating is often nostalgic. In Maine, many people learn this activity when they’re young, and like riding a bike, it’s easy to pick back up again, even if it’s been years since you last tried it. Skating dredges up good memories, and that adds to the fun of it. So as Valentine’s Day approaches and you’re looking for something to do with a loved one — or a potential loved one — consider seeking out an ice rink or frozen pond. Pack a picnic, bundle up and take them somewhere new. Here are a few ice skating destinations in and near Bangor that you may want to visit.
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Aislinn Sarnacki on the ice on Hermon Pond.
PHOTO: AISLINN SARNACKI
Just outside Bangor, this 461-acre pond is a great place to skate on “wild ice” or naturally-forming ice. A public boat launch and park called Jackson Beach lies on the west end of the pond with plenty of parking. Hermon Pond is also a popular spot for ice fishing, which explains the many colorful ice shacks that are scattered across the ice each winter. These small buildings can serve as reference points while skating, helping you map a course. Just watch out for ice fishing holes; they can easily trip you up. When skating on natural bodies of water, check to make sure that the ice is thick and solid enough to hold your weight. The Maine Warden Service offers online ice thickness guidelines which state that if the ice is clear, new and solid, it should be at least 4 inches thick for safe skating. To check ice thickness and quality, you can drill a hole with an auger or consult local residents or ice fishermen. Common safety equipment for skating on wild ice includes a rope, whistle and ice picks, which are simple devices that you can use to pull yourself back onto the ice if you fall through. It’s also safer to skate with a companion than it is to skate alone. That way, if you fall through the ice or get injured, someone is there to help right away. DIRECTIONS: A public boat launch on Hermon Pond is located at Jackson Beach at the end of Jackson Beach Road in Hermon, at the west end of the pond. To get there, take I-95 Exit 174 and head west (you’ll technically be going north) on Route 69 (Hampden Road) about 1 mile, then turn right onto Hinckley Hill Road. Drive 1.2 miles, then turn left onto Newburg Road. Drive about 0.8 miles and turn right onto Jackson Beach Road, which is marked with a large sign for Jackson Beach. Drive to the end of the road, following the signs to the boat launch and parking area.
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HEALTH & FITNESS
BANGOR PARKS If you’re looking for an ice skating adventure that’s closer to civilization and doesn’t require checking ice thickness, you may want to visit one of Bangor’s many parks. Each winter, the Bangor Parks and Recreation Department creates and maintains outdoor ice rinks at Bangor Gardens Park, Broadway Park, Chapin Park, Fairmount Park and Stillwater Park — if conditions are right. In order to create these rinks, the department needs a frozen ground and consistently cold weather. However, once the rinks have been established, they’re cleared of snow after storms, which means that they might be open to ice skating when ponds and lakes are not. And after you’re done skating, you can warm up in one of Bangor’s many restaurants. DIRECTIONS: Bangor Gardens Park is at the intersection of Knox Avenue and Sherman Avenue. Broadway Park is bisected by Broadway where it intersects with Stillwater Avenue. Chapin Park is beside Abraham Lincoln School and is bordered by Forest Avenue, Coombs Street and Parkview Avenue. Fairmount Park is bordered by Norway Road, Royal Road and two small residential streets called Fairmont Park W and Fairmont Park E. Stillwater Park is circled by Howard Street and Juniper Street. For all of these parks, there are parking spots along the streets that surround them.
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Amy Jones of Bangor ice skates in Broadway Park, one of several free public skating rinks made and maintained by Bangor Parks and Recreation Department. PHOTO: LINDA COAN Oâ€™KRESIK | BDN
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HEALTH & FITNESS
IN DEDHAM & ELLSWORTH
Covering about 3,000 acres in Dedham and Ellsworth, Green Lake is so large that you could ice skate on it for hours and not explore it all. The lake’s major inlet is on its west end, with its outlet on its east end. If you start your adventure at the public boat launch on Nicolin Road, you’re right in the middle. The lake features a few islands, which can serve as reference points or destinations as you skate. Just be careful while navigating around boulders or rocky shores; rock absorbs heat from the sun and can cause ice around it to melt. It’s also important to stay away from inlets and outlets, where flowing water may result in thinner ice. Skating on lakes and ponds isn’t always smooth sailing. Wind can blow snow into tiny ridges that can catch your blades, and snowmobiles can create ruts in slush that then hardens into dangerous ripples. Keep your eyes on the ice in front of you to select the smoothest path. Also, it may be helpful to seek out sheltered coves, where the water has frozen without much disturbance from wind. It’s easy to get lost on a large lake. To prevent this, consider carrying a GPS device and compass and map — or not wandering far from where you accessed the body of water. It’s also helpful to identify landmarks on the shoreline near the access point. DIRECTIONS: From Route 1A in Ellsworth, between Branch and Green lakes, turn onto Nicolin Road and drive about 2.5 miles to the public boat launch, which will be on your right. Along the way, veer left at 1.6 mile to stay on Nicolin Road.
Aislinn Sarnacki skates along a frozen Green Lake. PHOTO: COURTESY OF DEREK RUNNELLS
AISLINN SARNACKI is a staff writer for Bangor Metro and the editor of Act Out, a section of the Bangor Daily News. An expert on the Maine outdoors, she is author of the guidebooks “Dog-Friendly Hikes in Maine,” “Maine Hikes Off the Beaten Path” and “Family Friendly Hikes in Maine.” Follow her adventures at bangordailynews.com/act-out.
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HOME & FAMILY
Beachy FROM TO
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HOW TO TURN COASTAL DECOR FROM BEACHY TO COZY FOR MAINE’S COLDEST SEASON BY KAREN TIETJEN
PHOTO: ©ARTJAFARA/ADOBE STOCK
MAINERS ARE PROUD of their seafaring heritage, so it’s no wonder that coastal decor is popular in the homes of those who live here. But inherent to the oceanside aesthetic are visions of balmy beach days, taunting us come the dead of winter (unbeknownst to the beachcombing tourists who have long since left). When your home decor is inspired by the sea, there’s a fine line between “ocean chic” and “perpetual beach cottage.” To keep your style seasonless, Deb Dall, of Deb Dall Designs, Inc., and owner and president of Mainely Interiors based in the greater Bangor area, said that balance is key. Dall loves incorporating antique accents into her nautical designs. She said that her go-to palette includes “colors representing elements of sand (tan), sky (blues), [and] sea (greens), combined with basic neutrals, soft whites and light greys,” plus a sprinkling of soft floral and striped patterns throughout. “Winters [in Maine] can seem long — actually, winters are long — so having a bit of summer in our surroundings can go a long way to alleviating the blues,” she said. Coastal decor can be timeless and just nostalgic enough to keep you warm through the coldest months, if you know a few tricks of the trade. OPT FOR WEATHERED FINISHES To capture a nautical vibe that’s relevant year-round, Dall suggests gravitating toward warm-toned wooden furniture that’s “aged and on the heavy side — [pieces] that remind us of a time when things were less disposable and used for practicality.” As opposed to opting for airier materials like wicker or rattan, the driftwood-like texture “will add a comfortable, well-worn feel and help balance out what may otherwise seem too light [for the winter] season.”
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HOME & FAMILY
COZY UP WITH NATURAL TEXTURES “Accessories are the easiest and least expensive way to shift a look from one season to the next,” Dall said. When the weather outside gets frightful, there’s nothing better than hunkering down and wrapping up in a blanket, so try cozying up your space with accent pillows and throws. Both stylish and practical, Dall said the key to keeping materials cohesive (and coastal) is to stick with natural fibers. “Organic materials such as cotton, hemp, wool, [and] rayon feel comfortable because they breathe and tend to have more texture,” Dall said. STASH BEACH COTTAGE DECOR Cottage-themed decor can be cute in the summer, but tiki lights and flip flop photos look awkward once it snows. “Put away the word signs, like ‘Life is a Beach,’” said Dall, admitting she’s generally not a fan, no matter what time of year. “I tend to stay away from things so kitschy. You see them everywhere, and quite frankly, they are not lasting [as timeless home decor].”
(Above and this photo) The interior of a home designed by Deb Dall Designs, Inc. PHOTOS: DEB DALL DESIGNS, INC.
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INVEST IN ART Speaking of seasonless style, the designer said that changes in art can shift the feeling of a room. “Swapping art out or moving a piece from one location to another can help adapt your decor to the season and can make your place feel fresh and new,” she said. “Another suggestion I make to my clients and family and friends is to buy any form of original art — whatever speaks to them and fits their budget, but be sure to make it real. Visit local art walks, galleries, museums, gift shops [and] don’t be intimidated.” This, she said, is how people learn what art speaks to them. And lucky for us, local talent abounds (and will seamlessly integrate into your sea-inspired style). “In the state of Maine, we are a mecca for some amazing artists and craftsmen and craftswomen,” Dall said.
PHOTOS: (THIS PAGE & OPPOSITE TOP) Â©PHOTOGRAPHEE.EU/ADOBE STOCK
CREATE IT AT HOME
DESIGN A WINTER-THEMED MANTLE WITH OUTDOOR ELEMENTS AND A FEW OF YOUR OWN TREASURES STORY & PHOTOS BY KATIE SMITH
CHANCES ARE you just took your holiday decorations down and things feel a little sparse around the house. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. Winter is a wonderful time to keep things appealing on the inside if you don’t get outdoors as much as you do in the spring and summer. Decorating your home with elements found outside is a great excuse to get out there and breathe in the fresh Maine air, not to mention easy on the wallet. Here’s a simple way to decorate your mantle in no time at all to keep your home looking its best until the days start growing longer.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: • Branches, birch logs, pine cones, and anything else from the Maine woods or your backyard that you find beautiful • Spray paint in color of choice (I used metallic silver) • A strand of lights • Container to hold branches • Other items you already have to enhance your outdoor mantle such as candles, antlers, or dried flowers
TIP: Keep it simple by choosing one or two colors and not overwhelming your mantle — less is more. If you are looking to brighten things up, gold, white, cream and silver are a great way to do that. If you like warmer tones, leave branches natural.
LET’S DECORATE: 1. Spray paint branches in a well-ventilated area and let dry completely before putting them in a vase or container to display. 2. Start with a completely bare mantle, and place your tallest item somewhere in the back. I like to have the tallest item off to one side instead of the center as it makes it easier to layer in other elements without feeling like you have to have it symmetrical. 3. Next, put your horizontal items on your mantle. Play around with it until you like how it looks — don’t forget to stand back a yard or two so you can see the whole area. Remember, it doesn’t have to be symmetrical.
4. Now for the fun part: it’s time to layer in other elements such as candles and lights. I find it’s easier to get the look I want when I’m not trying to place lights or candles perfectly. Drape them over your branches and logs gently making sure there are some lights weaving in back of decorations and front. 5. Stand back and admire your winter-themed mantle with treasures found outside and from your home.
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CRAFTING WITH KIDS
PEBBLE PORTRAITS SHOW YOUR LOVE WITH A FUN AND FUNKY ROCK FAMILY PORTRAIT. STORY & PHOTOS BY AMY ALLEN
LOOKING FOR A FUN and simple project to do with the kids that’s truly frame-worthy? Create a funky pebble portrait of your family, friends and pets to display on wall or give as a gift this Valentine’s Day. Pebble portraits are easy and inexpensive to make. My kids each took a different approach to collecting stones and natural elements — my son just grabbed handfuls of rocks and sticks to sort through later, while my daughter carefully selected stones to be used for specific body parts and background designs. Flat, smooth stones were the easiest to use and stack as needed, and also ensured that they would adhere well to the cardstock we used for the background. I grabbed a couple of old frames I had kicking around and we simply removed the glass to create our 3D art. A shadow box frame would work equally well. There’s no wrong way to create your pebble family and pets, so have fun playing with different designs and elements. 40 / BANGOR METRO January/February 2020
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
• Rocks of varying sizes. Small, flat rocks work best for glueing and stacking • Natural elements like small twigs, greenery, leaves, bark and more • Frame or shadow box • White cardstock for background • Hot glue gun
DIRECTIONS & TIPS 1. Collect your stones and natural elements, like sticks, leaves, moss and bark. Decide if you want a more whimsical portrait with various colors and sizes, or if you want to keep each rock person in a similar tone and shape. 2. Decide if you’re going to use a regular frame without the glass or a shadow box, and determine the size of your picture. We used a mat in the frame to give it a more polished look and taped those together to help define the space as we planned our pictures. 3. Arrange (and rearrange) your portrait until you’re ready to hot glue the stones in place. We found that hot glue dries very quickly on rocks, so be ready to stick as soon as you apply the glue. For any extra elements like the cat’s tail and ears, a fine point marker works well. Frame your final design and display!
with KIDS Don’t forget the family pets!
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AN INTIMATE PORTRAIT OF LIFE AT THE TIME OF STATEHOOD
PHOTO: ©NEGRO ELKHA/ADOBE STOCK
BY JULIA BAYLY
IN 1820, about 300,000 colonists called Maine home. They lived and worked from the larger port cities like Portland to the smaller farm settlements of the St. John River Valley. These were people who had to make a living the best they could from the land, from the sea or from trading goods. Back then, as they are now, Mainers were tough, self-reliant, independent and, despite sometimes grumbling about their neighbors, always ready to lend a hand when needed. They were also sick and tired of being under the rule of a government far to their south. For 35 years — since the end of the Revolutionary War — Mainers had been petitioning for statehood. People who lived and worked in what was then a 30,000-square-mile district governed by Massachusetts wanted to break away as their own, separate entity. In the years leading up to 1820, residents of what would become Maine had amassed a lot of grievances against the politicians down in Boston. They were tired of laws that devalued the Maine district’s timber, tired of paying taxes on land or livestock based on values assessed by politicians who lived hundreds of miles to the south and had never set foot on the land in the Maine district. Things really came to a head during the War of 1812 when the state did little to help or protect the people in the district of Maine against the invading British army and navy. In 1819, voters in the district of Maine approved a referendum for statehood in such overwhelming numbers that the state of Massachusetts could no longer ignore their demands for independence. Soon after that referendum, residents of the Maine district met in Portland in October to craft a state constitution. At the same time, the Massachusetts Legislature reluctantly passed a statehood bill and sent it on to the United States Congress, with the caveat that if Congress and the president did not approve the bill by March 4, 1820, the territory that was Maine would remain part of Massachusetts. Things came down to the wire, but Congress passed the bill in early March 1820. On March 3, it was signed into law by President James Monroe. Politics, issues of statehood, taxation and legal status aside, the people who lived in the Maine district had lives to lead and food to put on tables. Sometimes these lives were exciting and adventurous. But more often than not, they were the mundane, sometimes colorful lives of people doing the best they could to make a living on land they loved. www.bangormetro.com BANGOR METRO / 43
PHOTO: ÂŠJAMIE & JUDY WILD/ DANITA DELIMONT/ADOBE STOCK
LIFE AT HOME The typical home for most people in Maine in 1820 was just large enough to accommodate the family. Things like spare rooms, parlors and separate bedrooms were for the wealthy like ship captains or lumber barons. It was not uncommon for the less affluent to all sleep in the same room. But regardless of status, every home had certain things in common and met certain needs. Shack or mansion, hut or farmhouse, everyone needed light at the end of the day. For the very wealthy, gas-powered lamps were a novelty in 1820 but they also provided steady and reliable light. More often though homes were lit by whale oil lamps or simple candles. Since Maine had virtually no coal reserves and transporting it into the region was very costly, heat was provided by burning wood. And in 1820, Maine had plenty of wood to burn. That was a good thing since the average sized home required at least 20 cords of firewood every winter to stay warm. Fireplaces, wood burning stoves and cookstoves kept homes snug during the winter. But no matter how snug you were inside, sooner or later youâ€™d have to venture out when nature called. Every home had some sort of outdoor bathroom or privy. For some this was the typical one- or two-seater outhouse still seen today in parts of rural Maine. These were small, four-sided structures with a roof and door built over a dug pit. Inside was a dirt or wooden floor and a bench with one or more holes that served as the toilet. Once the pit had filled with human waste, a new outhouse pit was dug and the structure could be moved to that new location. The more affluent could remain indoors to answer calls of nature using ceramic chamber pots or commodes. The less-than-pleasant job of emptying and cleaning those commodes fell to the younger children or paid servants. Without running water, most homes relied on outside wells or streams. Water was carried inside by the bucketload. When the wells and streams froze up in the winter, snow was carried in to be melted down over the fires. For much of Maine in 1820, self-reliance was key. Most homes also had their own vegetable gardens to feed the inhabitants. Many people also planted medicinal herbs and plants, especially those who lived far from the nearest doctors or medical help.
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PHOTO: JULIA BAYLY
Artifacts from Maine’s logging history at the Greenville Maritime Museum.
IN THE LUMBER CAMPS For the men who worked in the deep Maine woods in 1820, a lumber camp was home and his fellow lumberjacks were his family for the five or six dark, cold winter months of the logging season. Camps were a communal setting where the men did everything together. They trudged to the lumber yard in the morning and returned to the camp at dusk as a group. Meals were taken around the single rough-hewn dining table and at night they lay down together in one bed, sharing a single large wool blanket. Bathing and hygiene was not a priority, but there was a communal “sink,” most often a hollowed out log filled with water, in which they could wash up if they wanted. Trees — some many feet in diameter — were felled by a team effort by hand using two-man saws or giant axes. Once a tree was down, the men used their axes to remove its limbs. They next used their brute strength and their peavies or “can’t dogs” — long wooden levers with movable metal hooks on the end — to roll and load logs onto wagons. These wagons were pulled back to the camp at the end of the day by a team of oxen. There was no danger of gaining weight working on a lumber crew, no matter how many gallons of beans, rashers of bacon,
piles of flapjacks, pots of stew or ovenloads of pies the cook turned out in a single day. Overeating was a concern for the land owners or mill managers far away in Bangor or up in Patten — men who spent their days behind a desk tallying up the products of the lumberjacks’ labors. Working at a desk allowed for growing rotund and soft. In the camps, months of sawing trees, swinging axes and wrangling oxen kept a man fit, lean and strong. At day’s end, the lumbermen would trudge inside the camp, pulling off boots, hats, gloves, coats, shirts, trousers and socks as they did so. Every garment was soaking wet from sweat and melting snow — and reeking of body odor. The clothes had been reasonably clean when the men arrived at the camp in the fall, and would be again only when they left five or six months later. Then their wives, mothers or sisters would wash the filthy clothes. In between the only attention given them was to hang everything they could on the “stink pole” suspended high above the fire on two forked sticks driven into the camp’s dirt floor. It didn’t take long for the pungent smell of unwashed clothes to fill the camp’s single room. All conversation came to a halt the moment they got inside and sat down to eat.
That was an unbreakable rule in the camp — the cooks demanded complete silence at meal time. And in the camp, the cook’s word was law. Chatting men, the cooks knew, took longer to eat. The faster they plowed through the morning flapjacks, coffee and ever-present beans and biscuit, the faster they’d be out the door and working. Time was money, afterall. In the evening, the quicker they ate meant the sooner the cook and his helper could clear off the dishes and be done for the day. The hard work not only gave the men that hearty appetite, but made them tired enough to sleep in the single “bed.” Only a man completely worn out and exhausted could sleep sharing a single large rough wool blanket on a “mattress” of balsam fir boughs and shavings. Like their clothes, that blanket was washed only once a year — assuming the camp’s owner remembered to have it done. Settling in their balsam-lined nest, the men drifted off to sleep with their heads resting on their boots for pillows. The air was soon filled with their snoring, sleep-mumbling and the passing of gas compliments of the ubiquitous baked beans. The next day, they’d do it all over again. www.bangormetro.com BANGOR METRO / 45
PHOTO: ©DAVID SAN SEGUNDO/ ADOBE STOCK
ON THE FARM In 1820, there were around 55,000 farmers in Maine. The lucky ones were working land that had long been cleared of trees and brush by previous generations. But for the ones looking to start up new farms on virgin land that had never been cultivated, there was a lot of work to do before a single seed could be planted. The draft animal of choice for the job of preparing the soil for crops was oxen. These massive beasts could “twitch” or haul the cut trees out of the future fields. The downed trees were used to build a home, make fencing for livestock and as firewood for the winter. Once actual farming could begin, the oxen pulled the implements that tilled the ground, plowed the rows and cultivated crops. Farming was a 24-hour-a-day, 365-days-of-the-year job. The new year started with men and the older boys tramping out over the frozen ground and snow to cut trees to get the 20 or so cords of wood an average homestead required for heating. Extra wood could be sold or bartered for the things the farmers could not grow or make themselves like spices, coffee, tea and sugar. By March, things were warming up a bit and the family could start tapping maple trees for sap to boil down for syrup for their own use or to sell. In April or May, assuming it had gotten even warmer and the ground was thawed, it was time to plant the crops. For those who had not yet removed the stumps of the cut trees from the fields, this meant broadcasting their seeds by hand onto the ground. Then they’d hitching the oxen to a triangular shaped harrow that the animals could pull over the ground and around the stumps to cover the seeds with dirt. Summers were spent weeding, hoeing and cultivating those crops as well as shearing sheep and cutting more timber. In late summer, it was time to head back into the fields with the curved bladed scythes to cut, pile and gather the hay for winter feed. Then it was on to other grain harvesting like rye and oats. And harvesting was just getting started. Soon the whole family was out digging potatoes by hand. Next came the picking of corn, squash, pumpkins and cabbage that grew so well throughout Maine and churning milk into butter for the winter. By November, everything that could be harvested and preserved for the winter had been and all that was left was to plow the field under. Unless it was one of those tracts still full of stumps. For those, the farmers would hook the oxen up and pull those stumps out one by one.
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PHOTO: COURTESY OF MAINE MARITIME MUSEUM
Maine-built vessel Roxana off Le Havre, France in 1823.
IN THE SHIPYARD By 1820, craftsmen had been designing and building vessels in Maine for 200 years. It all started with the 51-foot Virginia of Saagadahoc built in the winter of 1608 at Popham Beach. Over the next two centuries Maine’s vast tracts of strong, tall timber, its deep rivers leading to bays and out into the ocean and the numerous deep water coves had established the new state as a center of maritime vessel construction. Dozens of the shipyards were scattered along the coast in 1820. These shipyards fostered a sense of anticipation whenever a new construction project was about to be unveiled. The new ship could be a brig, a massive two-master with four sails and with a solid reputation for speed and maneuverability. Brigs were favored by both the Navy and the merchant seamen who traded with Europe. Or perhaps she’d be one of the smaller and swifter three-masted schooners. Any fisherman or merchant who worked the waters up and down the Atlantic seaboard knew the value of a schooner. Grandest of all, and the one that would require the most work and materials, would be a four-masted barque, those sleek windjammers that sped across the oceans.
As a new day dawned in a shipyard, lamps would already be blazing in the mold loft, a large, wooden building in which the men would fashion the components of the new vessel. Those components would then be transported down to the wharf for assembly. Nearby, but not so close to create a major fire in the event its own furnaces got out of control, the blacksmith’s shop would also be opening for the day. A new ship meant new fittings from hinges to bolts to the large grates that could be opened to allow access below decks. All were made from metal and all would be made right there on site. The Smithy would leave the tending of the fires to his apprentices — he’d want to hear for himself what kind of ship he’d be outfitting. He would join the crowd of men outside the mold loft. Soon, the shipwright would appear and show off a scale model of the proposed ship, or at least half of the ship. If the shipwright turned the model around, the other side would flat and devoid of any detail. Since the ship’s components mirrored each other port and starboard, only one half was needed for the model.
The engineers and draftsmen would grab their measuring tools and chalk and head into the model loft where the floor had already been swept clean. After conferring with the shipwright as to the exact scale of the model, they could begin drawing out the patterns for the keel, the ribs and other parts of the ship’s structure on the floor. The carpenters would then get to work with planks of oak, fastening them together with iron spikes as the caulkers used “oakam” — hemp that had been treated with tar — to seal up any cracks between the planks, making the entire hull watertight. In time, as the brig began to take shape, miles of rope would be positioned by the men who worked as riggers. Some of those ropes secured the masts to the deck while other rope controlled the raising, lowering and positioning of the sails. It would take hundreds of craftsmen to complete the project, each working from dawn to dusk for around $1 a day. It didn’t matter if it was the longest day of the summer or the shortest day in the winter — every worker was expected to get the same amount of work done every day all year. www.bangormetro.com BANGOR METRO / 47
Map of the inhabited part of the state of Maine, exhibiting the progress of its settlement since the year 1778, the Representative Districts since the year 1820, and the population and valuation of taxable property in each district at the year 1820 by Moses Greenleaf.
(Right) Broadside signed by residents of Pittston, Maine, arguing for the separation of the District of Maine from Massachusetts. COURTESY OF THE TOWN OF PITTSTON AND DAVID COBB, MAINE BICENTENNIAL
Some of the more valuable workers were the â€œJacks of all trades,â€? the ones who could move from caulking the hull to rigging the sails to the finer work of finish carpentry in fabricating the doors and cabinets. It was work that required skill, dedication and a commitment to excellence. It was also the work that exploded in 1820, taking shipbuilding in Maine from the smaller coves and bays of its peninsulas into the growing towns like Bath and Portland that would become synonymous with Maine shipbuilding around the world and into the next centuries. Statehood certainly was not a panacea for Maine and did not bring instant solutions to every economic, social or political challenge facing its residents. It did, however, bring them the independence to chart their own course and work together to address these issues head on as they saw fit.
MORE INFO Want to learn more about what was going on in Maine in 1820 and Maine history in general? Check out these books, online sites and physical resources in Maine: THE LAND IN BETWEEN: THE UPPER ST. JOHN VALLEY, PREHISTORY TO WORLD WAR I, by Beatrice Craig and Maxime Dagenais. Tilbury House Publishers, Gardner, Maine. 2009. A MIDWIFE’S TALE — THE LIFE OF MARTHA BALLARD, BASED ON HER DIARY, 1785-1812, by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Vintage Books/Random House, Inc., New York. 1990. SHIPS, SWINDLERS, AND SCALDED HOGS: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE CROOKER SHIPYARD IN BATH, MAINE, by Frederic B. Hill. Down East Books. 2016. THE BANGOR HISTORICAL SOCIETY, 159 Union Street. 207-942-1900. www.bangorhistoricalsociety.org. THE MAINE HISTORICAL SOCIETY, 489 Congress Street, Portland, Maine. 207-774-1822. www.mainehistory.org. MAINE MARITIME MUSEUM, 243 Washington Street, Bath, Maine. 207-443-1316. www.mainemaritimemuseum.org. MAINE STATEHOOD AND BICENTENNIAL CONFERENCE, University of Maine, May 30-June 1, 2019. digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/me200. Special thanks to Dr. Liam Riordan, professor of history, University of Maine; Matthew Bishop, curator and operations manager at Bangor Historical Society; and Jamie Kingman Rice, director of library services at the Maine Historical Society who all shared some wonderful and amazing insights and information about life in 1820 Maine for this piece.
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7 FOODS that made
MAINE BY SAM SCHIPANI
THINK ABOUT WHAT it takes to make your favorite food. Not the ingredients, but the farms that produced them, the trade routes that brought them, the recipe to prepare them (was it from Grandma or that diner down the road?) in that just-so way. Food tells a story about the culture, economy, environment and history of a place. “Food is the easiest way to get inside another culture,” said Nancy Harmon Jenkins, a food writer and cookbook author based in Camden. “Trying to parcel out what people are eating and why they’re eating it is a good indication of what’s going on.” We are what we eat — and ate. Though Maine has only recently emerged as a culinary hub, food has been a central (essential, rather) part of life in Maine since the first people stepped foot on the land. “Maine has nourished people for 13,000 years,” said Tilly Laskey, curator at the Maine Historical Society. “It was food that brought people to Maine. They were following the resources.” Even to the casual diner, a few things stand out right away about food in Maine: the use of wild fare from the sea and forest, the stick-to-your-bones heartiness, the Puritanical adherence to simple spicing and the back-to-the-land commitment to farm-fresh ingredients. Certain dishes, though, stand above the rest. These are the foods that were shaped by the industries, the natural resources and the people that made Maine what it is today.
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PHOTO: ©NITO/ADOBE STOCK
BEAN HOLE BEANS
Living up to its moniker as the “Pine Tree State,” Maine has a rich history of logging. English explorers first cut and used trees on Monhegan Island in the early 17th century. Before gaining statehood in 1820, Maine was part of the Massachusetts territory and supplied pines for ships’ masts in England’s navy. By 1830, Bangor was the world’s largest lumber shipping port, and in the winter, when frozen waterways made for easy timber transport, Maine’s woods were filled with logging camps. Loggers needed to eat, and one of the simplest, heartiest meals camp owners could prepare for workers in the woods was bean hole beans, cooked with a cast iron pot over a hot bed of coals in a stone-lined pit covered in soil, often overnight. The logging industry adopted the practice from Native Americans, who prepared beans with bear grease and maple syrup in subterranean, deerskin-covered clay pots. “It was a very common food in lumber,” said Pamela Dean, volunteer coordinator for the bean hole beans demonstration at the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s Common Ground Fair. “There are songs about it. The workers didn’t have to wait for cooks to haul food, they’d just dig up the beans and they’d be hot and ready.”
The main ingredients — dried beans, usually heirlooms like Yellow Eye; molasses (“Maine was very much part of the triangle trade, and molasses was coming from the Caribbean to ports in Maine,” said Don Lindgren, owner of Rabelais Inc., a bookstore in Biddeford with a special focus on food and drink) and salt pork — were portable and did not require refrigeration. Though the golden age of lumber in Maine has passed, bean hole beans are still prepared for fundraisers, camping trips, family reunions and events like the Common Ground Fair. “It’s like barbecue in the South,” Dean said. “It’s been picked up a lot by civic groups and church groups who do it for fundraising. That is a rural tradition.” Over time, industries moved indoors and the classic recipe found a saucy, oven-cooked cousin in baked beans. As industrialization progressed, too, dried beans were soon replaced with their canned, premade counterparts. The B&M Beans canning factory in Portland helped bring Maine’s bean tradition to the masses in the state and beyond. “Maine’s one of the states where [both commercial and domestic] canning and preserving became a big deal,” Lindgren said. “The canning industry is partly responsible for spreading Maine’s bounty.”
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Lobster rolls are arguably the most iconic food in Maine. “You cannot talk about Maine without talking about a lobster roll,” Jenkins laughed. Lobstering has been an enormous industry in Maine for more than a century and a half. Eighty percent of America’s lobsters are hauled in from Maine waters, generating hundreds of millions of dollars for the state economy. Maine also has a long legacy of forward-thinking lobster fishery management. In the late-1800s, lobsters were perilously overfished, as canned lobster meat rose in popularity during the decades before. The first laws protecting breeding females were passed by the state legislature in 1872, and a size restriction to protect juvenile lobsters followed in 1879. The regulations have continued to expand and evolve over the past 120 years. Traditional Maine lobster rolls are prepared cold with tail, knuckle and claw meat and mayonnaise on a split top bun (in contrast to the hot, buttered “Connecticut-style” lobster roll). Sandy Oliver, food historian and recipe columnist for the Bangor Daily News, explained that before trains, planes and modern refrigeration zipped chilled fresh Maine lobsters across the country, owners of lobster pounds (dammed-off salt water coves where lobsters were harvested before traps gained popularity) needed to quickly sell lobsters before they were past their prime. “If it looks like you’re going to lose [your lobsters], you’re going to cook them,” Oliver said. “A lobster roll is one way to move some cooked meat along. If you cook it and wait to turn over the product, it would be cold, so you can’t use butter because it’s going to congeal.” Summer tourists in Maine that stopped at lobster shacks along their road trips made lobster rolls a definitive Maine treat. “People came to visit from all over the world, and it was a driving vacation,” Lindgren said. “It’s a foodstuff that’s tied to motortouristing, and that is a big part of what built Maine’s economy in the 20th century.” Now, lobster rolls are ubiquitous in Maine. Chefs even experiment with the iconic food. McLaughlin’s at the Marina in Hampden serves a lobster BLT in the summer. El El Frijoles in Sargentville has a spicy lobster taco. Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland makes their lobster “rolls” in steamed Chinese buns. “Once something is truly iconic, people want to mess with it around the edges,” Lindgren said.
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PHOTO: (LOBSTER ROLL) NATHANAEL ASARO/ADOBE STOCK
When Britain conquered Canada in the mid-1700s, French-Acadians fled into the forestland of northern Maine along the St. John River Valley. They brought their language, crops and food — including ployes. Ployes are spongy crepes made of buckwheat flour, baking powder, water and a pinch of salt. They are simple, but versatile: they can be sweetened with fruit, cream and maple syrup, dipped in hearty stews, used in lieu of bread for sandwiches or eaten plain. Sometimes, ployes are topped with cretons, a French-Acadian pork spread similar to pâté. Maine was once the breadbasket of America, according to Lindgren, until westward expansion brought grain production to the vast midwest. The stone walls that once surrounded farms still run through thick forests today. The French brought buckwheat — a misnomer, as the grain-like seeds are more closely related to rhubarb — to the St. John River Valley in the 1780s. The crop was popularized among the Madawaska Settlement in the mid-1800s, when pests and blights threatened other grain crops. By 1850, buckwheat represented about 40 percent of all grain production in the Valley and hearty ployes were a staple food for the area’s farmers.
PHOTO: ©BEORNBJORN/ADOBE STOCK
You heard it here first, if you hadn’t heard it before: the American “Italian” sandwich — a soft hoagie roll stacked with salty deli meat, American cheese, tomatoes, onions, peppers, pickles and olives, doused in oil and vinegar — was allegedly invented in Portland. Legend has it that in 1903, baker Giovanni Amato was selling bread from his street cart when hungry dockworkers asked him add meat, cheese and vegetables to his rolls. Amato was inspired and opened a sandwich shop in his name. Shops selling similar sandwiches proliferated across the state. Amato was an Italian immigrant, and he was not alone in Portland. Italians came to Maine to work in granite quarries, construction and other working class jobs. In Portland, they settled around India Street (where Amato’s still stands)
The tradition began to die, though. “In the early 1970s, the ploye was a thing of the past,” Janice Bouchard, owner of Bouchard Family Farms, said in a 2009 interview published in the Bangor Daily News. “No one was growing buckwheat anymore.” The revival of ployes is a direct result of efforts in northern Maine to promote awareness and pride in the Acadian way of life. In 2003, Queen Elizabeth II issued a royal proclamation apologizing for the forced deportation of French-Acadians, stirring renewed interest in the culture. Changing diet trends have also sparked the ployes resurgence. “Ployes have come up in the world because they’re gluten-free,” Laskey said. “I see them a lot here in southern Maine where they weren’t before.” Now, the Bouchard Family Farm ployes mix is sold in grocery stores around the state. Every summer for almost two decades, the Greater Fort Kent Chamber of Commerce has held a Ploye Festival alongside other annual celebrations of local culture. Buckwheat, too, is making a comeback are an agricultural product. “Now that different kinds of buckwheat are being grown in Maine, I look forward to seeing ployes more and more,” said Sam Hayward, owner and chef at Fore Street Grill in Portland.
and transformed the strip into Maine’s own “Little Italy.” “Most of the Italians in Portland came from this one town in one region in Italy,” Lindgren said. “There is a connection between a bunch of businesses and Amato’s sandwich shop, which were all run by one of those families. That sandwich is representative of a community of Italians living together.” Perhaps the most begrudged element of the sandwich by today’s culinary connoisseurs is the spongy roll, rendered somewhat structurally unsound by the other tasty toppings. It, too, tells a story of immigration in Maine. The soft white bread used in classic Maine Italians was made by J. J. Nissen, a bakery started by a Danish immigrant named Jurgen “John” Jepsen Nissen. Despite philanthropic
efforts to save the bakery, J. J. Nissen was bought out by Bimbo Bakeries USA and the storefront closed in 1999. The building now holds apartments, offices and street-level stores though the brand lives on in the grocery store bread aisle. Still, the tradition of serving the sandwich on a soft roll remains, despite the haters. Though the city has since transformed and the immigrant communities have changed, Amato’s is still a popular sandwich spot in Portland — and other locations around the state, including Augusta, Lewiston and Bangor — today.
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Chowder is the quintessential dish to warm up working longshoremen: creamy broth, brimming with seafood, flavored with fat and filled with potatoes (never tomatoes — in 1939, the Maine state legislature even considered a bill outlawing tomatoes in chowder). Though chowder’s exact origins are controversial — some claim that it was brought over by the English and French, others say that it has native roots — its role as a mainstay in Maine’s culinary history is indisputable. “Chowder was probably the first cooked dish by Europeans in Maine,” Oliver said. “It would have been prepared by the fishermen who came ashore to dry their cod.” Seafood of all sorts can go into chowder, but cod once reigned supreme. When explorer John Cabot arrived on the Grand Banks in 1498, he saw so many cod that they could be fished “not only with nets but with fishing baskets.” Soon, salt cold was an essential product in the triangular trade between Europe, New England and the Carribean. “If it weren’t for the cod fish and how plentiful they were, you have to wonder how many settlers would have come in the first place,” Lindgren said. Centuries of overfishing led to the collapse of cod populations, though, and they continue to be affected by climate change. Cod like cold water, and the Gulf of Maine water temperatures have risen by over three degrees in the last decade — 99 percent faster than the rest of the oceans. Many fishermen avoid cod altogether because of low profits and strict federal quotas on the species. Now, haddock tends to be the whitefish of choice, in part because of successful fisheries management. Haddock were overfished through the mid-1990s and the stock nearly collapsed. Marine protected areas allowed the populations to rebound and, beginning in 1994, haddock became subject to daily quotas. The limits for haddock were lifted in 2003, but remain in place for cod. Chowder changed in other ways from its original iterations — namely, with the addition of potatoes. In the mid-20th century, Maine produced more potatoes than any other state in the nation, with fertile Aroostook County as its hub. “We grew potatoes because we wanted them,” Oliver said. “We grew potatoes so we could put them in things like chowder.” Over the last few decades, Maine’s role in national potato production has waned — it now ranks 10th amongst the states in potato production — but Aroostook County potato culture persists. Many former farmers and nonfarmers schedule vacation time so they can help harvest, and some schools are still closed for Harvest Break. At least some of that harvest will end up in bowls of chowder. 54 / BANGOR METRO January/February 2020
PHOTOS: (CHOWDER) © 2018 DAVID KADLEC, (CAKE) ©JENIFOTO/ADOBE STOCK
Blueberry pie may be Maine’s state dessert, but blueberry cake is more prevalent throughout the state’s history. “Blueberry pie [is present throughout] southern New England, but I didn’t bump into blueberry cake until I moved here,” Oliver said. “Blueberry cake is more unique to Maine than blueberry pie.” Marjorie Standish, who published a canon of Maine cookbooks and wrote a popular column called “Cooking Down East” in the Portlandbased Maine Sunday Telegram for 25 years, developed what is likely the best-known recipe for “melt-in-your-mouth” blueberry cake (and, she often said, one of her most popular recipes ever published). Blueberry cake appears frequently in Maine’s historical community cookbooks. Standish herself admitted to getting her recipe from a church cookbook. “Community cookbooks were popular in Maine and continue to be popular in Maine,” Lindgren said. “They are a significant portion of the [culinary] historical record.” Of course, the cake must be made with wild, low-bush blueberries, one of Maine’s quirkiest and cash-iest crops. Wild blueberries are harvested every other year beginning the last week of July through Labor Day. Blueberry barrens cover tens of thousands of acres Down East. Wild blueberries bring millions of dollars to Maine’s economy every year. Wild blueberries colonized Maine’s loamy soil after the last Ice Age’s glaciers receded. Native Americans burned over fields to encourage wild blueberry growth and used berries for flavoring food, healing ailments and preserving meat. Wild blueberries were first harvested commercially in the 1840s and popularized during the Civil War, when canned wild blueberries were shipped to Union troops. With freezing and canning, Maine’s wild blueberries started making their way to tables across the country. In the 1950s, Maine was the largest producer of blueberries, both wild and cultivated, in the nation. In the past few decades, though, advances in harvesting and cultivation have decreased the price of wild blueberries, and oversupply of more easily produced and transported cultivated blueberries have eroded their popularity. Even as the agricultural scene shifts, the joy of a fluffy slice of blueberry cake, whether for breakfast at a seaside inn or dessert at a clambake, persists.
For centuries, Wabanaki women in Maine have spent cool mornings in April, May and early June harvesting fiddlehead ferns from the forest floor. The tender, twirled tips of immature ostrich ferns taste like a grassy, chewy asparagus and can only be harvested for a few weeks before they unfurl into woody fronds. European settlers learned to keep an eye out for the fern, which was one of the first edible plants to pop up in spring. “The French-Acadians learned [this foraging technique] from the native people,” Laskey said. “That’s been really part of Acadian culture, too.” The Wabanaki called the fern “mahsus” or “máhsosi,” and the French-Acadians dubbed them “crosiers” in reference a curled bishop’s staff. Eventually, though, English-speaking settlers found the ferns strikingly similar to spiraling scroll of a violin, and began calling them fiddleheads. Not all Mainers grew up fiddleheading with their families — in fact, foraged dandelion greens were likely a more popular dinner table fare — but fiddleheads are uniquely, natively Maine. Roadside stands selling foraged fiddleheads (fresh or pickled — take your pick) have long been set up by pickers, retailers and woodland owners looking to make an extra buck. In some areas, they are as surefire of a sign of spring as the ferns themselves. Traditionally, fiddleheads are cleaned, boiled and served with butter and salt. With the local food movement and rise of foodie culture, Maine chefs are taking fiddlehead ferns to the next level: battered and fried, baked in cheesy calzones or mixed into Thai salads with shrimp and shallots. Still, fiddleheads could become Maine’s next victim of overharvesting. Foragers follow some unwritten rules — only a few fiddleheads should be picked from each cluster, so some may reproduce and there are enough for the next picker — but with the fern’s rising popularity on fine dining tables, some foragers have been bending the rules to the point of breaking. “It’s easy to overharvest wild foods,” Hayward said. “Foragers that are not completely responsible tend to take too much from a particular habitat.” Historically, foraging Mainers have benefitted from the state’s long tradition of “permissive access,” or the assumption of permission to use unimproved private property if landowners haven’t posted otherwise. The state legislature has (so far, unsuccessfully) attempted to clamp down on the free-range culture, in part to help protect natural resources like fiddleheads. “I don’t know what part of Mainers’ diets it will represent in the future,” Hayward said, “[but] foraged foods [like fiddleheads] are going to be important.” www.bangormetro.com BANGOR METRO / 55
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OUT AND ABOUT IN THE STATE CAPITAL STORY & PHOTOS BY SARAH WALKER CARON THE AREA KNOWN today as Augusta, Maine, has been home to generations of people for thousands of years. Long before Europeans landed on the shores of the Kennebec River, the Wabanaki, an Algonquian-speaking tribe, had settled in the area. Europeans arrived in the early 17th century but it was a few more decades before they settled in the area on a more permanent basis. The river proved to be a good port for a trading post. Over the years, it was called many things including Harrington, but the name Augusta was adopted on June 9, 1797. Two years later it became the shiretown for Kennebec County. In 1827, Augusta became Maine’s second state capital (Portland was first). Augusta didn’t become a city until 1849, and though it still remains one, it is a small city by population standards. According to the 2010 Census (the census is done every 10 years — so this is a Census year!), it was home to 19,138 people. Census estimates indicate the population has likely dropped by about 2.4 percent since then. Home to the Augusta Civic Center, the Maine State Capitol and more, and located centrally between Portland and Bangor, you might just find yourself in this city on a river. And when you do, here’s what you should do. DO Located near the Maine State House, the Maine State Museum (230 State Street) is a window into the history of the area that became the 23rd state. It’s one of the oldest statefunded museums in the nation and features displays marking the area’s history dating back 12,000 years, from native history to industrialization to the modern day. Plan to spend at least several hours here exploring the massive array of exhibits. On your way out of the museum, do pause and check out the Maine Labor History Mural in the lobby. The 11-panel mural that once was displayed at the Department of Labor (its removal was a big controversy, but it eventually was installed at the museum) depicts scenes from the history of labor in Maine. Interactive exhibits and activities await at the Children’s Discovery Museum (171 Capitol Street #2), a fun-filled place of learning, perfect for families with younger kids. While only open seasonally, you can peek at Old Fort Western from the outside of the fence in the off-season, taking note of the centuries old architecture. And while you are www.bangormetro.com BANGOR METRO / 57
One of many displays at the Maine State Museum.
Augusta’s Museum in the Streets is worth a visit.
Old Fort Western is part of the Museum in the Streets, showcasing how Augusta once looked.
58 / BANGOR METRO January/February 2020
there, take a look at the nearby Museum in the Streets stops including the Cushnoc Trading Post, Gunshots Reverberate on the Kennebec and Sousa the Nonpareil. There’s also one for Old Fort Western. Additional stops around the city reveal the history and heritage of Augusta. Interested in outdoor activities while you are in Augusta this winter? Head to Viles Arboretum (153 Hospital Street) for snowshoeing and cross country skiing on groomed trails. No snow? Then head out for a hike on the many trails traversing the property. Be sure to bundle up though — this is a Maine winter, after all. Another option for outdoor recreation is the 6.1-mile Kennebec River Rail Trail, which links Augusta with surrounding towns. It’s plowed of snow in the winter, but isn’t sanded so be sure that you are prepared for winter conditions. Motorized vehicles are prohibited. EAT/DRINK Start your day with a hearty breakfast. Located in a former shoe store, the Downtown Diner (204 Water Street) is a friendly place serving breakfast and lunch. I like to sit in the window with a steaming cup of coffee, a made-to-order breakfast (try the French toast made with the Downtown Diner’s housemade Texas toast!) and a good book. But the menu includes a variety of diner classics from pancakes and omelets to biscuits and gravy. With both counter service and tables, this inexpensive dining spot is worth a stop. Feeling like something a little simpler (or grab and go)? Then head over to Bagel Mainea (190 Western Avenue) for some sublime New York-style bagels. They serve a variety of cream cheeses, breakfast sandwiches and, yes, they have lox on the menu too. Bagel Mainea also serves sandwiches and soups at lunchtime. And while you’re at it, why not bring some bagels home too? If you are just looking for coffee, try Huiskamer Coffee House (216 Water Street). This Dutch-inspired coffee house specializes in espresso and coffee drinks, but also has snacks and pastries available. They also host open-mic nights and have art shows too. For lunch or dinner, the industrial-chic Cushnoc Brewery (243 Water Street) is a good option in downtown Augusta. This brewery and wood fired pizza pub has a menu that features an array of creative salads, snacks and pizzas. Perhaps my favorite find in this small capital city is one I nearly didn’t even find.
The Cushnoc Archeological Site was the location of a 17th-century trading post operated by English colonists on the Kennebec River. www.bangormetro.com BANGOR METRO / 59
AUGUSTA Red Curry (179 Mt. Vernon Avenue) is an Asian restaurant located in a strip mall — but don’t let that deter you. They serve Thai, Korean and Japanese cuisine. I was happy to find a delightful Bi Bim Bap bowl in a hot stone pot on the menu (and even more delighted to enjoy it so much). Other diners went for the curries and the pho on the menu. It seems there is something for everyone (even sushi!). Try it. It’s pretty darn good. There are many more options in Augusta too. Downtown is also home to Otto’s on the River (pasta, seafood), Riverfront Barbecue & Grill (barbecue) and Lisa’s Legit Burritos, among others. You’ll also find a variety of chain restaurants in Augusta including IHOP, Olive Garden and Panera Bread, all in or nearby the Marketplace at Augusta.
Don’t miss breakfast at the Downtown Diner.
Bi Bim Bap at Red Curry.
SHOP Many national stores — Pier One, Barnes & Noble, Eddie Bauer, The Paper Store and ULTA Beauty, to name just a few, have outposts at the Marketplace at Augusta (197 Civic Center Drive). If you have just a little bit of time for shopping and eating, this can be a good one-stop shop. But there’s much more to Augusta shopping than that. For game enthusiasts, Game On (198 Western Avenue #6) carries an array of tabletop games and supplies. Merkaba Soul (153 Water Street) is a muststop for metaphysics enthusiasts. Plus there are antique stores like Jellison Traders (359 Riverside Drive), full of antiques, collectables and vintage goods. STAY Spending the night? For a luxury option, ideal for one or two people looking for an elegant experience with a chance of pampering, the Senator Inn and Spa (284 Western Avenue) is the place to go. The hotel features a fullservice spa, fitness facilities and more. For family-friendly lodging, there are many, many options conveniently located near the highway, Augusta Civics Center and other locations including the Hampton Inn (388 Western Avenue), Homewood Suites by Hilton Augusta (377 Western Avenue) and Quality Inn & Suites Evergreen (65 Whitten Road). DON'T MISS The food. Augusta’s array of locally owned restaurants and eateries is worth exploring. Red Curry is my top pick, but my little New Yorker heart also adores Bagel Mainea.
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Enjoy the great outdoors at Viles Arboretum, complete with art and trails maintained year-round for hikers or snowshoers.
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WOODS & WATERS
200 Years in the
A LOOK AT MAINE’S WOODS AND WATERS OVER THE LAST 200 YEARS BY BOB DUCHESNE
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MAINE. You’re 200 years old, but you don’t look a day over 170. It was 30 years ago that the Forest Practices Act limited clear-cutting, marking the most recent major change to the appearance of Maine’s forested landscape. What did Maine’s woods and waters really look like two centuries ago? There are no photos. The camera wasn’t perfected until 1851. However, there are drawings and historical accounts — enough to know that our woods and waters today look much the same, yet vastly different from how they appeared in 1820. In some ways the forest hasn’t changed much. Through the 17th Century, European colonies were limited to the coast and navigable rivers. England’s sailing fleet had a need for masts and an unquenchable thirst for tall white pines. Any tree with a girth exceeding 24 inches was declared to be owned by the king. Colonists often ignored the king’s designation, and by the time Maine became a state, most of the mature white pines along the coast were already gone. Prior to Maine becoming a state, chronic hostilities made the interior of the region too dangerous to inhabit. From the Indian conflicts of King Phillip’s War beginning in 1675, through the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, and the War of 1812, shifting alliances between the French, the English, and Native American tribes prevented settlement inland. Maine’s vast forest interior remained largely untouched. Once hostilities ended, it didn’t take long for the logging boom to begin. By 1830, Bangor was the largest lumber-shipping port in the world. Any tree that could be dragged to a river was fair game for the axe. Later, mechanical transport by cable, rail and Lombard haulers extended the reach of logging operations. Today, there are not
OUR WOODS AND
WATERS TODAY LOOK
MUCH THE SAME, YET VASTLY DIFFERENT FROM HOW THEY
APPEARED IN 1820.
PHOTO: (ORIGINAL) © AARON D. PRIEST/ADOBE STOCK
many trees standing that were alive when Maine became a state. Still, the extent of today’s forest is much the same as it was then. Agriculture’s heyday came and went. After the American Civil War, immigration to Maine dried up. Many farmers abandoned Maine’s rocky soil and headed to the Midwest. Settlement in the northern half of the state was planned, but never occurred, and the forest became what it remains today — a wood basket for the forest products industry. In some ways, however, Maine’s forest looks different. At one time, the American chestnut dominated hardwood forests from Maine to Mississippi. Then a blight accidentally introduced from Asia virtually annihilated the species. Its range probably did not extend very far into northern Maine, where cooler, damper conditions were unfavorable. The proportion of hemlocks and spruces is also not what it was two centuries ago. Although pine was always the most soughtafter species, spruce was prized at sawmills. Where spruce stands were cut, balsam fir
often grew back. Hemlock was the third most-important commercial species in the 19th century, because the bark was valued by the tanning industry. Maine still has a lot of beech trees today, but less than it once did. Beech bark disease has been around for about a century, causing an estimated 7 percent decline in this species. On the other hand, tree species that recover quickly after disturbance are doing better. Red maples and aspens are more common now. For the same reason, white birches have increased, while yellow birches have declined. For good reason, white pine is the official Maine State Tree. It matures quickly and reaches towering heights in a relatively short period of time. Thus, many of our tallest pines are younger than Maine. Although they were heavily harvested, the pines bounced back reasonably well. Our waters have also changed since
Maine became a state, primarily due to dams. Over a thousand dams remain on our rivers. Many were constructed to direct water flow toward mills. The course of entire river systems changed. Some that flowed north toward the St. John River were redirected to flow southward toward the mills on the Penobscot. Many of these logging industry dams were later retained to store and release water for hydropower. Today, many dams maintain lake levels for the benefit of property owners and recreational users. The consistent water levels we see in summer would have looked unfamiliar to the tribes who used Maine’s rivers as a highway system. Submerged rocks cause minor concern for canoeists, but they wreak havoc on jet skis. And then, of course, there are roads. Lots of logging roads. “You can’t get there from here” might have been said 200 years ago. You can get almost anywhere now.
BOB DUCHESNE is a local radio personality, Maine guide, and columnist. He lives on Pushaw Lake with his wife, Sandi.
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THE VIEW FROM HERE
To Be 17 AGAIN z BY EMILY MORRISON
WHEN SITTING in a room full of typing teens, universal truths unfold themselves. In fact, relatively few experiences in life are as epiphanic as watching kids write. Every third child has headphones on. They look up. They look down. They bite their pens. The gray, sad sun peeks through the window shades while bodies shift in seats, unconsciously stretching toward the light like plants. Someone says, “Jesus, I hate this,” and I glance up, half-hoping Jesus might intervene for me. Some rest their heads on their hands. Others tap the keys, reading and rereading with eyes that say, “Why, dear God, why do I have to write something?” You can tell who likes this business of making meaning and who doesn’t. Their faces give them away. Currently, I see two smiles, ten blank stares, five frowns and three heads down. Not much meaning to be made today. While the ticking of the wall clock marches on, the minutes parade past in dull monotony. A boy in the corner yawns and looks off at the trees. For a moment, I catch a glimpse of his thoughts. Man, just a few periods left then this crap’s done. Gotta go down to the gas station, pick up a polar pop and hang out with the girlfriend. Gonna hit the drive-thru and order two number twos. Time to tear on out ’n head over to the garage to soup somethin’ up. Got life to live man, and I can’t live it here. What’s all this writin’ gonna change anyway?
PHOTO: ©LSTOCKSTUDIO/ADOBE STOCK
Thinking back to age 17, I couldn’t wait to break out of that eighth period study hall and go watch Brenda and Sonny break up then make up. During commercials, I’d eat a chocolate sugared donut fresh from the freezer. The laundry rumbled in the dryer while my sister sat on the couch beside me, equally riveted by episodic drama. Life felt angsty and awesome simultaneously.
You see, if Brenda and Sonny could make it, if she could find a way to love a gangster from the other side of the tracks, well then, maybe I could get that guy I’d been crushing on for four years to notice me. As long as my parents held hands through the evening news and I kept watching movies with my friends, the universe had my back. True love was a heartbeat away, beauty was in the mirror, and riches were right around the corner. At 17, the world was my oyster, and I was its shining pearl. It took me 20 years to learn that in a three ton haul of oysters, only three or four produce perfect pearls. Isn’t that tragic? After all that yapping about doing anything we wanted to do, being anything we wanted to be, I’ve come to the realization that it’s awfully hard to be a pearl. Every thought isn’t a gem. Every attempt isn’t successful. Every life isn’t invincible. There’s a lot of grit and grime to contend with, and unfortunately, writing the ugly truth doesn’t make it more beautiful, or even make it make sense. Maybe I should tell that smiling girl sitting in the corner tapping away on her laptop, “Sweetheart, life’s harder than you think.” Someone should inform the boy lounging beside her, hiding his cell phone behind his screen, “You may want to put the phone down and think for a second. What’s your plan, Stan? How are you going to make all the things you want to happen actually happen?” What good would it do? Why should I pop the bubble of youth? Isn’t it better that they still believe they were meant to shine? Yes, yes. They extend their arms over their heads now. Some lean in and hover closer to their keypads. Twenty sets of eyes blink, look heavy, squint up at the clock, then back at their words with something like relief. Someone lets a silent yawn out while the chair in the corner creaks. I keep my head bowed as their unspoken question lofts through the air, “Did we do good, teach? Is it time yet? Can we be done writin’ about all this stuff we ain’t never gonna use?” Yes, kids. You can be done.
EMILY MORRISON is a high school English teacher, freelance writer and editor from coastal Maine. She is living happily-ever-after with her handsome husband, three beautiful children and two beloved dogs. And a cat.