Taste and Tales of New York

From New York City to Niagara Falls to Montauk, the State of New York has been influenced in its culinary history by the many groups of immigrants who have made the state their home.  First, it was the native Americans, then the Dutch, Germans, Irish, Italy, Chinese, Russians, Jewish and other Eastern Europeans.  In recent years, hispanics, Brazilians, Asians and people of Middle East ancestry.  Some of our favorite foods were discovered including Buffalo Wings, Jello and Thousand Island dressing.

Gateway to Freedom

Before Ellis Island became known as the main entry point for immigrants entering the United States, it was a hanging site for pirates, a harbor fort, ammunition and ordinance depot named Fort Gibson, and finally into an immigration station. Prior to 1890, the individual states (rather than the Federal government) regulated immigration into the United States. On January 2, 1892, the first immigrant, Annie Moore, a 15 year-old Irish girl and her two brothers were processed through Ellis Island. Over the next 62 years over 12 million came seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Despite the island’s reputation as an “Island of Tears,” the vast majority of immigrants were treated courteously and respectfully. In November of 1954 the last detainee, a Norwegian merchant seaman named Arne Peterssen, was released, and Ellis Island officially closed. Starting in 1984, Ellis Island underwent a major restoration, the largest historic restoration in U.S. history. The main building was reopened to the public on September 10, 1990, as the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Today, the museum receives almost 2 million visitors annually.

Shining Lights of the Hudson

From Albany to Yonkers on the Hudson River sits seven lighthouses that have guided ships since the first was built in 1826. The Stony Point Lighthouse was the first, starting a system of lights that eventually grew to 14 lighthouses of which seven exists today. These are not the tall, elegant coastal lighthouses such as the Cape Hatteras, but are shorter, thinner and harder to locate. Their purpose is the same, to guide ships safely through the river. The goal today of the Hudson River Lighthouse Coalition is to restore, preserve and allow future generations to enjoy these treasures. Esopus Meadows Lighthouse known as the “Maid of the Meadow” is the last wooden lighthouse on the river. After many decades of decline, the Maid is now considered a working navigational aid and restoration continues. The Saugerties Lighthouse has also been restored and besides being a lighthouse it is also a bed and breakfast, but getting a reservation isn’t easy. Once again preservationists are saving the past for the generations of the future. Take time and visit these rays of light.

Official New York State Apple Muffin


The official muffin of New York State, the Apple Muffin, was created by elementary school children in North Syracuse, New York.
½ cup walnuts
½ cup brown sugar
¼ all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon peel
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups flour
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
1½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon nutmeg
3 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups apples, coarsely chopped
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup walnuts
½ cup butter, melted
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces
½ teaspoon vanilla


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray muffin tins with non-stick baking spray.
2. To make topping, combine first six ingredients; set aside.
3. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.
4. Beat eggs and add apples, dried cranberries, walnuts, eggs, butter, cream cheese, and vanilla; mix well.
5. Add dry ingredients, a little at a time, to the apple mixture. Stir until just combined. Do not over-mix.
6. Fill muffin tins ¾ full; sprinkle with topping.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Yields: 24 Muffins

Taste and Tales of NY

This book is currently out of print. It will be available as an e-book in July 2017.


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