I suspect that this is less an Eastern US coastal thing, per se than a very old Christian heritage thing. There was, once upon a time, a religious proscription against eating meat on fast days. Some versions of Christianity still maintain this, with varying numbers of fast days (I know that Roman Catholicism still does; it's just that the fast days have dwindled to Ash Wednesday and Fridays during Lent). On these fast days, "meat", as in "the flesh and offal of terrestrial animals" is forbidden. "Non-meat" flesh, as in the meat and offal of aquatic animals ("aquatic animals" was occasionally defined to include or exclude animals such as muskrats or waterfowl) was allowed. Some more rigorous dietary limitations of the past (this is specifically for Roman Catholics; I don't know whether these ever applied to Orthodox, Coptic, Syriac, etc, Christians) went so far as to include dairy and eggs in the foods forbidden upon fast days.
At that time  the chief engineer was almost always the chief test pilot as well. That had the fortunate result of eliminating poor engineering early in aviation.
—Igor Sikorsky, reported in AOPA Pilot
magazine February 2003.