Day 38 - Providence, Rhode Island
When we landed in Providence, Rhode Island. Ziggy was beside herself when a band started playing and we were greeted by the Mayor. Mayor David N. Cicilline presented us with a key to the city.
Here's Ziggy with her hat and the key. It didn't have a chain so she held it in her mouth while I snapped the picture.
I told the Mayor that I knew that Rhode Island was the 13th state in the USA and it became a state on May 29, 1790 but that's all I know. "What else can you tell us?" I asked.
As we entered the Capital, Mayor Cicilline told us, "The 1524 voyage of Italian navigator Giovanni Verrazzano stands as the first verifiable visit to Rhode Island by a European adventurer. Verrazzano made his famous trip, searching for an all-water route through North America to China, in the employ of the French king Francis and several Italian promoters. After landfall at Cape Fear, North Carolina, about March 1, 1524, he proceeded up the coast to the present site of New York City to anchor in the Narrows, now spanned by the giant bridge, which bears his name. From there, according to his own account, he sailed in an easterly direction until he "discovered an island in the form of a triangle, distant from the mainland ten leagues, about the bigness of the Island of Rhodes," which he named Luisa after the Queen Mother of France."
He continued, "This was Block Island, but Roger Williams and other early settlers mistakenly thought that Verrazzano had been referring to Aquidneck Island. Thus they changed that Indian name to Rhode Island, and Verrazzano inadvertently and indirectly gave the state its name."
Here's a few more facts about Rhode Island.
Rhode Island is the smallest state in size in the United States. It covers an area of 1,214 square miles. Its distances North to South are 48 miles and East to West 37 miles.
Rhode Island was the last of the original thirteen colonies to become a state.
Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island, established the first practical working model of Democracy after he was banished from Plymouth, Massachusetts because of his "extreme views" concerning freedom of speech and religion.
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams publicly acknowledged Roger Williams, as the originator of the concepts and principles reflected in The First Amendment. Among those principles were freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of public assembly.
At Little Compton is home to the gravesite of the first girl born to colonists in New England. The baby was the daughter of pilgrims John and Priscilla Alden.
The White Horse Tavern was built in 1673 and is the oldest operating tavern in the United States.
George M. Cohan was born in Providence in 1878. He wrote, "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy," "You're a Grand Old Flag," and a wide variety of other musical entertainment.
"Wow, Rhode Island for being the smallest state has so much wonderful history. But all this history has made us hungry. What do you suggest?"
"Well Kieto and Ziggy," he answered, "While you are here in the great state of Rhode Island, you'll have to have some of our famous Rhode Island Clam Chowder."
That was a welcome invitation.
The hard clam has many alternative names in addition to quahog. It is also known as the Northern Quahog, round clam or chowder clam. Furthermore, in fishmarkets there are specialist names for different sizes of hard clam, corresponding to their different culinary uses. The smallest clams are called littlenecks, medium clams are called cherrystones, and the largest are called quahogs or chowder clams. Topnecks are clams that fall between littlenecks and cherrystones, though this designation is seldom used except in markets. Of all these names, the most distinctive is Quahog.
There are many variations to these New England favorites. Here's a great Rhode Island style chowder and clam cakes. For a complete shore dinner, cook with a clam boil including steamers, lobsters and all the fixin's. Serve with a garden salad and your favorite beer or wine and you have a easy meal from the Rhode Island. Here's the recipe.
Rhode Island Clam Chowder
2 to 3 slices bacon
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 bottle (8 ounces) clam juice
2 cans (6 1/2 ounces each) minced clams
2 cups diced potatoes
1 quart water
2 tablespoons butter
1 can (13 ounces) evaporated milk
1 can (approximately 8 ounces) cream-style corn
Brown bacon in a heavy skillet. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon; crumble and set aside. To the hot bacon grease, add onion, clam juice, minced clams, potatoes, and water; simmer until potatoes are tender.
Add butter, milk, cream style corn and salt and pepper to taste; heat almost to boiling point. Sprinkle crumbled bacon over each serving. If thicker soup is desired, make a flour paste by combining 2 tablespoons flour with a little cold water and add to the soup.
Good eating to you.
The Mayor suggested and insisted on paying for a ticket on a train rather than us hopping a railcar. So we accepeted a few tickets to Raleigh, North Carolina and off we went! See ya in Raleigh tomorrow.