Everyone in Maine Is Obsessed With These Chips

Growing up in rural Connecticut, Maine was always kind of a mystery to me. My family had spent ample time driving up and down the tree-lined highways in New England, visiting college towns like Northampton, Massachusetts, and Burlington, Vermont, and w…

Growing up in rural Connecticut, Maine was always kind of a mystery to me. My family had spent ample time driving up and down the tree-lined highways in New England, visiting college towns like Northampton, Massachusetts, and Burlington, Vermont, and we'd been all over New Hampshire to ski. Maine was just too far away. So when my wife, daughter, and I moved here from Brooklyn during the pandemic, I worried we’d feel alienated despite being home in New England.

I quickly learned that Maine shared more in common with my childhood haunts—and less in common with the insanity of New York City—than I ever could have imagined. Hell, you could find a dozen telltale New England things walking into a gas station: a 10-pack of mini Fireball bottles, Moxie soda, Red Snapper dogs, and my favorite: Humpty Dumpty All Dressed Potato Chips.

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An Ode to Coffee Milk, New England’s Sweetest Sip

I wasn’t born in New England, but I did grow up here, and still call it home. I distinctly remember the first time I came across coffee milk. I was maybe 10 or so, in the school cafeteria, reaching for a carton of what I thought was chocolate milk. I s…

I wasn’t born in New England, but I did grow up here, and still call it home. I distinctly remember the first time I came across coffee milk. I was maybe 10 or so, in the school cafeteria, reaching for a carton of what I thought was chocolate milk. I sat down with my friends, excited to dig in (well, as excited as you could be to eat a school lunch in the ’90s). The first sip was startling, and I’m sure I reacted with all the grace and dignity you might expect from a 10-year-old.

Closer inspection of the carton revealed that it wasn’t chocolate milk at all—the label was a lighter shade of brown, for one, and sure enough, it said “coffee milk.” Huh. I’d lived in Chicago, Miami, and Cancún before moving to Maine, and I’d never heard of it. Chocolate milk, strawberry milk, sure. But this was new to me, a young transplant.

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