We know that Boston is the capital of Massachusetts, and many of us know that it’s also one of the largest cities in the country. Do you know, however, why it is often called Beantown? The beautiful city of Boston earned this nickname many decades ago.
The early colonial settlers of the city had a hankering for beans that were slow cooked in molasses. This dish was also especially popularized because they found themselves with a rather large surplus of molasses because of the realities of trading in the day. Sadly, there were slaves growing sugar to be shipped to the colonies, and a sort of triangular trade meant that they found themselves with lots of molasses. This ingredient was also easy to store and cook through the difficult winters they encountered.
According to the Massachusetts Travel Journal, the settlers probably acquired their baked beans recipe from Native Americans, but the colonial people swapped out the maple syrup of the original Native American recipe with the molasses that they had readily available.
Tourists may be disappointed to know, however, that baked beans are no longer a specialty of the region. They’re not all that popular, and most restaurants do not specialize in it. You can find a few in the historical areas that will serve the classic dish, and special Boston baked beans are served at Durgin-Park in Faneuil Hall.
In addition to Beantown, other popular nicknames for Boston include the Walking City, the Cradle of Modern America, the Hub of the Universe, and the Athens of America.