Food in the Field gives a sneak peek into what CNN's team is eating, and the food culture they encounter as they travel the globe. Jeremy Harlan is a CNN photojournalist currently covering the New Hampshire primary. He has a hungry baby and he loves Vienna sausage.
"His name must be Mikey, because I think he likes it."
First, my name isn't Mikey. Second, I ate Life cereal almost every morning of my childhood and this particular "it" tasted nothing like Life. Third, I wanted to tell my fellow Nashua, New Hampshire diner patron that I wasn't ready to proclaim my fondness for this new taste.
I have found myself in the Granite State for my third Presidential campaign cycle. I think I've been in at least half the state's diners - most while shooting candidates pressing the flesh, posing for photos, and pleading for votes. For me, these events usually involve side-stepping pie displays, barging in on folk's breakfasts, and generally being a pain in the sides of hard-working cooks and waitresses.
But a couple days ago, I actually had a little down time to visit a diner sans camera and enjoy some breakfast. I headed back to Jackie's Diner in Nashua, recalling a tasty visit last Friday with John King, producer Laura Bernardini, and fellow photographer Jerry Simonson.
The small corner restaurant prides itself on its French-Canadian dishes. Leave it to me to order the "All-American" plate: pancakes, bacon, eggs, sausages, home fries, and toast. Okay, I ordered a side of steak tips, too. It seems that's a popular dish up here.
While I ate, I enjoyed listening to locals around me discuss the Patriots, unseasonably warm weather, and goofy media types chasing candidates. If they had known what my job is, I probably wouldn't have heard that last morsel.
By my second cup of coffee, my attention turned to the "Best of New Hampshire" awards adorning the wall. One, in particular, caught my eye. Apparently Jackie's has the best gorton. Qu'est-ce que c'est?
John had noticed gorton on the menu the morning before. The waitress gave him a somewhat vague answer I didn't pay attention to. So I was going to make sure I got a true taste of this stuff on my return visit.
Just before Barbara (the lovely and colorful lady behind the counter) handed me my bill, I asked her if I could try some of this gorton. I could barely get my flubbed pronunciation out before I was corrected by that native sitting next to me.
"It's pronounced gah-ton," she said in a perfect French accent. Wait, twenty seconds ago she was saying “chowdah” and “Red Sawx.”
Barbara, on the other hand, wanted to make sure I knew what I was getting into.
"Do you know what it is?" she asked. I told her I thought it was some sort of pork product, maybe a kind of spread. She asked if I like that kind of stuff.
"I like scrapple," I said.
"What's scrapple?" the other patron inquired. Well, if they hadn't heard about scrapple – a loaf of pork scraps and cornmeal that is sliced and fried as a breakfast meat, and popular in the Delaware Valley and eastern Pennsylvania - I didn't feel bad about not knowing gorton.
I tried to explain, but the looks on their faces told me I wasn't doing a good job. Eventually, both ladies began to dissect their gorton recipe. It's made up of pork butt, onion, cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices. The spread, also called cretons or corton, is popular in Quebec and this part of New England. It often draws comparisons to French rillettes, though it’s usually cooked in milk or water, rather than in fat.
Barbara told me most folks eat it cold with mustard on toast or crackers. She dropped a small cup of gorton in front of me. All eyes at the counter turned my direction. I spread it on some sourdough toast. It was - interesting.
My initial impression was it tasted like cold Cincinnati chili, if you got rid of the chili powder and tomato base. It probably did need some mustard to give it a little kick. But, I must have hid my apathy for the spread fairly well because the woman next to me thought I liked it enough to call me Mikey.
I hit up the grocery store the next day to buy a small tub with crackers and mustard. This version tasted much better. In fact, it tasted exactly like braunschweiger. In my world, that's a very good thing.
So, my advice to any candidates looking to impress the locals: instead of a cliche Dunkin' Donuts French cruller, share some of this French-Canadian spread with the locals. You only Live Free or Die once.
Previously - At a Des Moines diner, voters get to the meat of the matter and Maid-Rite loose meat sandwiches – an Iowa tradition and Pancakes and politics – the finer points of the diner meet and greet
great blog :)!
An interesting discussion is worth comment. I do believe that you need to write more on this subject matter, it may not be a taboo subject but generally folks don't discuss such subjects. To the next! Kind regards!!
I have one better from Northern B C, got the recipe from my Alasken friends.
After you have prepared a river pig (Salmon) for baking or what ever, take the head, tail & guts that you have left put through a meat grinder with the following spices to tast dill & basil mixe them into mayonise, relish & a real lemon, mix all together with the salmon remains. no heat, the lemon dose the cooking, best ever spead on sourdough toast. Realy gets in your mouth! Enjoy
I'm shocked how good this blog is. test1 http://testdomain.com
I was born and raised in Nashua and my mother made it all the time. It is passed down from my Memere. It was even served in the cold lunch lines of Fairgrounds Jr High and Nashua High as asandwhich on white bread. This picture is not what it looked like. It looks more like a cross betwee a rilette and a pate. And yes, We spelled it gorton and pronouced it gahton. I moved to California back in the eighties and i was looking for the recipe so I could make it for my friends. What a funny bunch of comments!
I'm also a Nashua native and remember my Gram making gorton every once in a while. We would eat it on toast with mustard. Her pork stuffing recipe that she would make every year for the holidays was similar to gorton, also, so we would eat the leftover stuffing the same way.
I'm a native of NH and never heard of Gorton. It's not a NH delicacy, it's a French Canadian delicacy. There's a difference!!!
If you grew up in Nashua and missed the French Canadian food you must be blind. I remember some of the pizza shops on Main Street having neon "Poutine" signs.
I grew up in Manchester and my mother used to make 5 or 10 pounds of homemade gorton all of the time for her brothers and sisters...they all grew up eating it. A fresh batch, nice and warm, on toast with mustard.... good stuff. I haven't thought about it for 20 years, but now I'm craving it.
This is a true French Canadian delight.
i grew up on it and enjoy it to this day.
C'est ci bon!
MMMMM...c'est bon. I too grew up with this and look forward to this treat on thick crusty toast.
If you are in MA, Peabody is pronounced Pee-bidy. Lived there for 3 years and refused to pronounce it Pee-bidy, which got me corrected every single time. There is a restaurant that serves the best roast beef sandwich (3-way), I have ever had in my entire life in Peabody, MA... down by the railroad tracks. When I say "the best," I truly mean it. The second best is not anywhere near as good. I had a summer internship in that town for one summer, and I now live in Maryland... I will never forget that roast beef sandwich. I am not exaggerating how good it is.
lol... this was supposed to be in response to another comment below that referenced this disgusting looking pork spread being available in Peabody, MA. Teh interwebs is too tricky.
I'll skip it. Looks like dog puke!
Am I the only one who found this article annoying? This writer needs to learn how to get to the point.
Yup, you are the only one.
I eat the he ll out of some scrapple so I know I would try this, as god awful as it looks.
I dunno....from the looks of that stuff, I'll stick w/ finnanhaddy or maybe even Spam. Then again, there's always chitlins!
Gorton.....isn't he the guy, dressed up in the rain slicker and hat, on the box of fish sticks??
No, that would be Bozo the clown.
Yup. The Gloucester Fisherman, 'e is!
This was a treat for us when we went to Maine and Canada growing up. We still get it today. It's great as a sandwich spread. It tastes better then it looks.
born in nashua in 1945 and have eaten cretons my whole life. live in florida now have it shipped to me from lewiston, me
Aaaaaaaaaaand here we found the ONE person who eats this stuff. Bravo! :)
Still, we're talking about 'Nashua'. Most of us consider Nashua (and anyplace Manchester or south) to be a part of Massachusetts.
You have the power to move state lines? Most impressive.
Rednecks in North Florida want to rename everything South of Ocala, Cuba. Even more impressive.
Not true... my grandpa has made this forever (born Brunswick, Maine) and his whole family grew up eating it... in SoCal!
Yes folks, this stuff is real. Real AND nasty that is. It's French-Canadian cuisine, which is why you're only going to encounter this stuff around Nashua, Manchester and down through the rest of the Merrimack Valley. In the mill towns where the French Canadian influence was strong. You're not going to see it widespread (no pun intended).
What about chipped beef on toast? Now THAT'S eatin'!
Grew up north of Boston, with a french-canadian grandmother who used to make Creton all of the time. Absolutely delish on toast. There's also a diner in Peabody, MA that has it on their menu. Don't knock it until you try it.
There's a Diner in Peabody, MA that serves it? Okay...then we will call it a Massachusetts Delicacy!!
There are also plenty of diners and stores and bakeries in Nashua, NH that sell it, so I think it's just fine also being called a New Hampshire delicacy.
I've lived in NH my whole life, always in the Merrimack Valley, and it is mostly prevalent here. Nashua, Manchester and such.
The saddest thing is when Gorton's stopped making canned cod fish cakes many years ago. My family grew up on them on most Fridays since we did not eat meat on Friday. I still bought and made them for my family even when the ruling in the Catholic church did not require a non-meat meal on Friday. I still miss that meal and I'm over 70 years old. They were great with a little catsup to dip on top. Makes my mouth water even now. Do America a favor and you folks up north should demand a return of the canned cod fish!!!
Fishcakes! My mom usedta make 'em. She used to buy boxed salt cod (Portuguese and Italians refer to it as 'bacalau').
You rehydrate it, mix w/ onions and spuds, and fry 'em! Chipped beef on toast or asparagus on toast was another fave.
I used to buy Gorton's clams (if I didn't have fresh clams or mussels handy) and make linguine aglia olio..lots o garlic, lemon juice, black pepper. Delish!
Gotta pile on here. I spent half my life and virtually all of my childhood in NH. Grew up near some of the most heavily French-Canadian towns in the state and had a French-Canadian grandmother. I have never heard of this stuff. I have never heard any one from NH ever mention it. I have never seen it on a restaurant menu or in a store. This article is the first time I learned of its existence. I think someone played a little trick on the author of this article.
Petey, you may want to check out Jeannotte's or Crosby's Bakery or Jackie's Diner, all in Nashua, NH who sell gorton/cretons. Or you could go for the store-bought Mailhout's, but I prefer my Gram's homemade gorton the best. Born and raised in Nashua, NH and this is very much a real food made by real people in New Hampshire. Sorry you never had the opportunity to appreciate it, but now that you've learned about it why not give it a try? It's very tasty!
Whatever is on those crackers, it sure doesn't look like people food. More like cat food pate. But to each his own.
I sincerely doubt Romney or the rest of the Stooges are having anything like that. Probably fine-dining on caviar and crackers. Steaks and lobster. Whatever meal a person with a $100 wastebasket and $4000 desk would be able to afford.
Certainly not – this stuff is poor people's fare. Think mill workers living on pennies a day in the 1800s and early 1900s.
That's exactly right. People would make rabbit and squirrel stew or pie, too.
how in the heck do you get Greton from Creton?? where i am from it is pronounced more like Kreton. hard C. and the ton is not said as such, more like tone but silent e and soft n. french mother,husband and family,none of whom have ever heard it pronounced with a G sound.
Anyone who pronounces it "Gah-ton" is not pronouncing it with a "perfect French accent."
– From, A French Canadian
"Trust the Gorton's fisherman."
The Gorton's Fisherman is a liar, a cheat and a liberal stooge. Until he gets his head right on abortion and taxes, nobody should trust him.
That slop fits in with the rest of the surreal atmosphere in a state where the people really believe the rest of the country cares what they think. How out of touch can a group of people get? The archaic practice of having a primary is so medieval.
Get with it people. Enjoy you gorton and your primary, but don't believe anyone else really cares anymore.
I'm see that you at least cared enough to fix the horrible spelling in your original post.
I mean "I see". It's contagious! Lol!
Got a taste of my own medicine there! Deserved.....
That slop fits in with the rest of the surreal atmosphere in a state where the people really believe the rest of teh ciuntry cares what they think. How out of touch can a group of people get? The archaic practice of having a primary is so medieval.
New Hampshire native here. The point you might be missing, Oubie, is that no one in NH cares what you and your backwards, illiterate ilk rate as "thinking".
Great! Now the "Fisherman" is pissed! LOL
You may trust him, btu he no longer trust this journalist.
another long-time NH resident. nope – never heard of it – ever.
Nope- agreed. Never, ever heard of it. Never seen it on a menu. Maybe CNN should research their research before making such claims. Perhaps this is huge in Quebec or New Brunswick, but I'm born and raised smack-dab in the middle of NH and this stuff simply does not exist on *any* menu I've ever seen! Typical though. Nobody actually knows what makes us tick up here anyway.
It's a pretty narrow worldview if you think that just because you haven't seen it, it doesn't exist.
Side Of Gorton $0.85
1/2 Pint Of Gorton $2.99
There's a whole delicious world out there. Sink your teeth in.
I grew up in the Merrimack Valley and have always seen gorton sold in small grocery stores especially in city neighborhoods where there has been a historically french-canadian population. My mother-in-law used something not very different to stuff her turkeys, but she made it herself. I love it.
Yes MixBee! That's my experience, too. I can count at least on two hands the number of places I can find in my hometown Nashua that still make and sell gorton. My Gram's is still the best (in my opinion, of course). And my Gram also makes a pork stuffing similar to gorton that we still enjoy, only now my mom makes it.
I love gorton, and no it does not smell. It is great on toast well, but usually it is eaten as the writer descibes it with mustard on saltines. My father who is 1st generation American with his parents moving from Quebec makes a tasty recipe of it. If you like pork pie, you will like gorton.
Okayyyyyyyy. Just have to chime in here with the rest of the NHites. I've lived in the Dover/Portsmouth area or NH for nearly my whole life and even had French-Canadian great-grandparents. That said, no one in my family has ever eaten this, cooked this or ever even mentioned it - nor can you find it most of the surrounding diners, restaurants, etc. No one I know has ever heard of it. This "delicacy" is no more a NH local favorite (at least in OUR part of the state) than French Toast is "French." (For the record, "French" toast has existed all over the world for hundreds of years as a way to save stale and not unique to France.). It's a poorly written comparison to decide this food is a NH-thing when it just happens to be a French-Canadian-thing (travel North enough and you’re bound to hit some Canadian foods); just cause there’s a Taco Bell in Iowa doesn’t make nachos a local delicacy. Come on!
I have to agree with a lot of people. The author ot this article got it all wrong. Even though there are a lot Frenchies in New Hampshire (myself being one) it is not at all common in NH restaurants. When I have vacationed on the sea coast of Maine I ran into a lot of places that offered Gorton. Up in Wells, Ongunquit, Old Orchard Beach etc. It's more heard of in Maine than New Hampshire.
I've lived in NH for most of my life (Monadnock region and Upper Valley) and have never heard of or encountered this food product. There is a lot more to NH than just one food item.
Heck, I'm French Canadian and though I've lived in beautiful Woonsocket, RI my whole life, my summers and ski weekends have been spent up in the Granite State my entire life, and my lovely girlfriend of nine years has family in the Nashua and Manchester area. I also go back to Montreal at least twice a year. I've only HEARD of this stuff, and this article is the first time I've ever seen it. It's one thing to find something odd and call it a local thing, but it would seem like this reporter could just as well gone into a tattoo parlor and noted that "New Hampshire residents just LOVE themselves some body piercings". How many locals were actually eating it? Seems to me like they keep it behind the counter for outsiders like this guy, hence "All eyes at the counter turned my direction." Sucker!
Why on earth would you call it Gorton, especially since it even says CRETONS on the package! This is absolutely ridiculous! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cretons
Now, I recognize that New Englanders have their own way of referring to CRETONS (gorton or corton), but to not include the proper name of the dish is just lazy.
"Cretons" is in the article, indeed!
"The spread, also called cretons or corton, is popular in Quebec and this part of New England. It often draws comparisons to French rillettes, though it’s usually cooked in milk or water, rather than in fat."
I wouldn't feed this filth to my worst enemy's dog, after it bit me in the ass. It looks like refined evil.
Gorton is actually what they use to torture terrorists into talking. This was put into use after Waterboarding was banned. Feed them Gorton is much more effective...one spoonful and they will spill their guts!!
To all these "I lived in NH for 100 years and never heard of" folks-you probably just didn't live in an area that was heavily French-Canadian. I live in Southern Maine (15 mins from the border w/NH) and you can find this stuff everywhere, even mainstream supermarkets like Shaws & Hannaford. Then again the average high school sports team roster in this town looks like it could be France's parliament...
Exactly: Southern MAINE. NOT NH. :) Again - go NORTH enough and you're bound to run into Canadian food. Doesn't make it native to NH; makes it native to CANADA. That said, Nashua is nowhere near Canada, so I think the locals had the last laugh serving it to him: "What's that you say? Oh, he's a 'journalist'? Sure, just grab that old carton at the back of the fridge and scoop some out. The boys at the legion will LOVE THIS!"... :P
Gorton is prevalent where there are large French Canadian and Acadian populations. I am from central Massachusetts where there is a large population of French and Gorton was made on a regular basis. So many of you who say you never heard of it should get out from under your rock once in a while.
There...you said it yourself, you have to go to an area that is heavily French-Canadian. That makes it a Canadian "GEM"...not a NH GEM!! If this was truly a NH Delicacy...EVERYONE that is a NH native would have heard of this. If it can only be found in area that have a heavy Freench-Canadian population...that makes it a Canadian Delicacy.
AGREED.AAAAAAAnnnnnnndddd why are people so hostile? We're not talking about "where you grew up in Massachusetts..." blah blah blah or where there are heavy this/that populations. We're talking about something called a "NH Delicacy" that's found in MA, ME and CANADA... not NECESSARILY prevalent in NH (where's it's supposedly considered a local dish.). No one's saying it doesn't exist - let's just not label it something it isn't. :)
Scrapple and its close cousin Livermush (from the south, mainly NC) are not particularly indigenous to New Hampshire. These are more well known and eaten in the mid atlantic and the south (NJ and below). How the writer of this article determined this to be a New Hampshire delicacy doesn't make a lot of sense.
Read it again - you just got it wrong
Oh, we know from livermush! http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2011/06/08/liver-mush-a-north-carolina-treat-from-way-back-when/
The author was using scrapple (which we noted was from Del. & PA) as a local foods reference but never claimed it was from NH. And if you are ever in the Cincinnati area, try the local variant, goetta.
Find an Amatos and get an Italian Sandwich.
Sounds like the Writer is a fooled tourist who is either promoting a product or fooled as a practical joke on what is native to NH
that food looks disgusting, I bet it smells disgusting, yuck. Something to be proud of, I guess.
Um, grew up in NH. Lived there until I was 28. Go back every year. NEVER heard of this stuff. I'm wit the others: this is a French-Canadian thing, not a NH thing. Let's talk sugar on snow with a cider donut and a pickle if we want to get real Granite state.
This NH dish sounds about as revolting as Scottish haggis, or scrapple. All are made from ears, snouts, tails, & other parts you don't even want to know about.
An ignorant comment. The stuffing of haggis (the casing is a sheep's derma, much like sausage casing) is mostly oats and onions, with a bit of fat and offal. It' usually served with "bashed" (mashed) turnips (neeps) and potatoes (tatties). Delicious, particularly with a whisky cream sauce.
Actually traditional Haggis is organs with some oats and such cooked in a Sheeps stomach. Don't try and make it sound better than it is.
You rang? :)
What makes one part of a dead thing better than another part of a dead thing? It's all scrap.
I grew up in NH, and have lived here my entire life, and I've never herd of Gorton. I don't live in the far south of the state like Nashua. I live up in ski country, so maybe it is a southern NH thing. Also my father is a chef, so yes I was exposed to many different foods.
Agreed. I live here and never heard of it.
Nate...it's not a Southern NH thing either!!
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