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8 Inspirational Cape Ann Cookbooks

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The days are getting colder, the winter holidays are approaching and it's during these times that food becomes a hot topic everywhere we go. What's going to be served for holiday dinner parties, what to feed a houseful of Patriots fans on a Sunday and what to cook on frosty nights when you just can't fathom having a cold salad...culinary dilemmas abound. Fortunately, those of us on Cape Ann don't have to look further than our kitchen bookshelves (or Google!) for inspiration.  

All of the people that came to this area over the centuries to work the sea or in the granite quarries brought their culinary traditions with them and today's regional cuisine is heavily influenced by Portuguese, Sicilian and Scandinavian flavors. The abundance of local fish and other sea-edibles is the other half of the equation. To really understand Cape Ann, you have to get to know the food, and this collection of fantastic local recipes and lore makes it easy. Mangiamo!  (Let's eat!).


The Taste of Gloucester: A Fisherman’s Wife Cooks

The Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association (GFWA) is a non-profit organization promoting the New England fishing industry, helping to preserve the Atlantic Ocean as a food supply for the world, and assisting active and retired fishermen and their families to live better lives.

First published in 1976, this Gloucester classic is filled with recipes and information about how to prepare and cook many North Atlantic species of seafood. Simple and homey recipes for halibut, sole, scrod, flounder, clams, lobsters, scallops, perch and more are laid out in an easy-to-follow manner.  Where to buy.


Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Cookbook: Stories and Recipes

Susan Pollack, award-winning journalist who specializes in writing about the fishing industry, wrote this next cookbook based on the Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association. Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Cookbook: Stories and Recipes is filled with beautiful photos to go with the recipes. It also contains biographical and historical stories of many of Gloucester’s fishing families.  Where to buy.



Gifts of Gold in a Sicilian Kitchen with Sista Felicia

Felicia Ciaramitaro Mohan, a.k.a. "Sista Felicia," is a Gloucester native who has documented her family’s traditional Sicilian recipes in video form on the Good Morning Gloucester blog as well as in this recent cookbook. Where to buy.







The Legacy of Three Melissas: Authentic and Original Cape Ann Recipes

Melissa Smith Abbott comes from a long line of local restaurateurs and innkeepers who built their businesses on Cape Ann and handed down a legacy as well as a name. This book details Abbott's family history and their recipes, starting with her great-grandmother, Melissa McMeekin Collins, who opened The Blacksmith Shop Restaurant in Rockport in 1929. Where to buy.





In Cod We Trust: From Sea to Shore, the Celebrated Cuisine of Coastal Massachusetts

In this glossy tome, Rockport food writer/blogger Heather Atwood explores the local cuisine through the lens of its cultural history. In it, she says that "The Massachusetts seacoast is as varied as the coast of France," and she celebrates that variety with her thoughtful prose in addition to the carefully curated and beautifully photographed recipes. This book covers the entire Massachusetts coast, not just Cape Ann, but the North Shore is strongly represented. Where to buy.





Woodman’s of Essex: Five Generations of Stories, 100 Years of Recipes

Woodman's of Essex is famous for their fried clams for a good reason -- they invented them! Woodman’s has been owned and operated by the same family since its opening in 1914, and they have many years’ worth of local and personal lore to share. Where to buy.





"A Circle of Recipes" by the Annisquam Sewing Circle: Our 175th Anniversary Cookbook

According to its website, the Annisquam Sewing Circle is thought to be the oldest women's organization of its kind on Cape Ann. Founded in was begun in 1837, the society’s mission is "for the performance of acts of benevolence." In 2012, the organization published this book of over 400 recipes gathered from members, in celebration of 175 years of benevolent community service. Where to buy.







Turtle, Truffle, Bark: Simple and Indulgent Chocolates to Make at Home

We saved dessert for last! Turtle Alley Chocolates is a popular Gloucester chocolatier whose proprietor, Hallie Baker, has put together a collection of fantastic make-at-home candies and confections. If you aren't up to the challenge of trying these out in your own kitchen, you can always head to Turtle Alley's Gloucester or Salem locations or have something shipped from their online store.

 Where to buy.






Atlantic Vacation Homes (AVH) is the premier real estate rental company on Boston's North Shore, with over 30 years of creating dream vacations for our guests. Situated a little more than a half-hour’s drive from downtown Boston, the North Shore is the ideal spot for an east coast beach vacation. We specialize in vacation rental accommodations for families & large groups and anyone else who wants to vacation near the shore.