Why is Boston called beantown
Boston’s popular name of “beantown” dates back to many years ago and, in fact, does have a reference directly to beans. In fact one of the most popular foods found in the city for many years were beans baked in molasses syrup with the name “Boston baked beans” still being popular throughout America today.
In more specific terms, Boston was once a major port in what was once referred to as the “triangle trade”, wherein slaves in the Caribbean produced molasses from the sugar cane grown there. The molasses would then be shipped up to Boston for processing into rum, which would then be shipped over to Africa for sale in order to support the purchase of more slaves.
This trade cycle contributed to develop a strong local market for molasses as well as an abundance of its availability for local citizens, allowing them to integrate the syrup into a large number of local dishes. Containing large amounts of protein and capable of being a staple food in many people’s diets beans were the basis of many of these, and while sweetened with molasses became a popular dish amongst many individuals.
Once the slave trade aspect of the triangle that helped support Boston’s molasses needs died off the production of rum for both local consumption and export remained, helping to keep Boston’s need for additional supply high. This also allowed the local foods to continue to be produced on a regular basis and establish Boston as a “city of beans” for many people throughout the country. In time this reference simply changed to an easier to remember yet still accurate “beantown”.
Today the actual production of Boston’s famous baked beans that gave it the name amongst the country’s population has died off with no actual production facilities of the iconic baked beans remaining within the city. Nevertheless the famous recipes used for many years for the production of the beans still remain along with its famous name, thus working to continue the legacy of “beantown” into future generations even if the primary local industry has changed significantly in the meantime.