All posts by Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.

Fourth of July and Picnic Bug Juice

My parents didn’t believe in soda for children. When my sister and I were thirsty we drank water out of a Dixie cup assigned to us, lined up on the window sill just above the kitchen sink, one for each family member. ZaRex, a sweet flavored syrup that dissolved into water was termed belly-slop at […]

Fennel Salad

Thinly sliced, dressed with a little olive oil and lemon zest and salt and pepper lightly added, fennel salad is just the ticket for cool summer dinners, or something light after hearty braised winter dishes. Not everyone likes a vegetable that tastes like licorice though they might really enjoy a slight burst of that flavor […]

More Coconut Cookies

Another coconut cookie recipe never hurt anyone. This one came from Jan Varnum in Bar Harbor. Her mother, Ruth H. Witt, used to make them when Jan was a child, and Jan still does, too. I liked them very much because their flavor comes from brown sugar, coconut and butter; there is no spicing or […]

Honky Tonk-ish

When BDN reader Beth Chamberlin read about Cooking Maine Style, the compilation of Marjorie Standish recipes I recently put together for DownEast Books, she wrote me right away to say, “I received my first cookbook when I was in 6th grade from a family friend and it was Cooking Down East,” by Marge Standish. “What […]

Chicken Alfredo at Last

  How a person can cook for nearly fifty years and not wittingly make Fettucini Alfredo or its sibling dish, Chicken Alfredo, I can’t explain, but apparently somehow, I seem to have skipped it. I think I must have eaten some along the way, because I have the distinct impression that it is delicious and […]

The Rhubarb Advocate’s Time of Year

You love it or you hate it. Rhubarb advocates are delighted to see those red stems reach out and the dark green leaves unfurl. Others wince and clamp their jaws shut. Thirty years ago, when we moved to this house, one of the first things I noticed growing here was a rhubarb plant which I […]

Comfortingly Soft Molasses Drop Cookies

A little four-inch square piece of paper floated out of the Recipes to Try file folder, and on one side was a recipe, probably Xeroxed from a newspaper for Old Fashioned Drop Molasses Cookies, with handwritten note in black ink, “These were good.” On the other side was written in my hand, “Richard McLaughlin, Machias.” […]