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The food that defines your state is?
July 8, 2009 6:36 PM   Subscribe

What is the one dish that is quintessential to your state? When I say [North Dakoda, New York...] you say?
posted by bigmusic to Food & Drink (158 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
 
Cheesesteaks, but those in Pittsburgh may take exception.
posted by Pax at 6:39 PM on July 8, 2009


I can think of a few city-related foods, but not much in the way of states, other than the obvious cliches (Wisconsin=cheese, for example).

City examples:

Philadelphia: Soft pretzels or cheesesteaks
St. Louis: Gooey butter cake or toasted ravioli
New York: Hot dog or bagel
Chicago: Hot dog or deep dish pizza
posted by kdern at 6:39 PM on July 8, 2009


New York screams "pizza" to me.

Texas chili, btw.
posted by Precision at 6:42 PM on July 8, 2009


rhode island: stuffed quahogs, clamcakes and chowder (rhode island style = clear broth, not cream or tomato), with coffee milk and del's lemonade to wash it all down
posted by fancyoats at 6:43 PM on July 8, 2009


North Carolina -- pulled pork BBQ -- yum!!
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 6:48 PM on July 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Alabama
Breakfast: cheese grits
Lunch: pulled pork sandwich
Dinner: fried catfish
posted by ocherdraco at 6:49 PM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nothing says Maryland to me like a plastic tablecloth covered with soft shell crabs, Old Bay, and cheap beer.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:49 PM on July 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


In Texas, it's chili and barbecue.
posted by pineapple at 6:51 PM on July 8, 2009


Michigan: Coney dogs and Vernors (or Faygo)
posted by brandman at 6:53 PM on July 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


For Pennsylvania, in addition to Philly cheesesteaks, perhaps shoo-fly pie?
posted by midatlanticwanderer at 6:55 PM on July 8, 2009


For Maine, forget lobsters, go for the lobster rolls.
posted by nikkorizz at 6:55 PM on July 8, 2009


Quebec: Poutine
posted by Simon Barclay at 6:56 PM on July 8, 2009


Tennessee: Country ham, biscuits and gravy. And Goo-Goo Clusters.
posted by kimdog at 6:57 PM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


For Florida, Key Lime Pie is what sticks out to me.
posted by kro at 6:58 PM on July 8, 2009


Vermont: Maple syrup and all the things you put it on.

There's a really good book called The Food of a Younger Land by Mark Kurlansky which is a great read about regional dishes in the US that you might enjoy.
posted by jessamyn at 7:02 PM on July 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Louisiana: crawdad boil.
New Mexico: an entire style an Mexican-ish food.
Texas: barbecue
Tennessee: a different kind of barbecue
The Carolinas: yet another barbecue
posted by Netzapper at 7:05 PM on July 8, 2009


I would have said hard shell for Md.
posted by Pax at 7:06 PM on July 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Michigan: pasty, Vernors ginger ale
New Jersey: water ice
posted by ellenaim at 7:06 PM on July 8, 2009


Perhaps useful.

You could also make a case for Moravian cookies and Scuppernong grapes in North Carolina.
posted by mediareport at 7:07 PM on July 8, 2009


West Virginia — ramps
posted by netbros at 7:09 PM on July 8, 2009


Colorado: green chile. Colorado green chile, unlike its more famous New Mexico equivalent, usually has pork. New Mexico-style green chile is ordered in Colorado as "vegetarian green chile." (Green and red chile are not the same as "chili," they are thinner, have no beans, and except for pork in Colorado green chile, no meat. Just a sauce made from chili peppers.)

Bonus rounds:

New Jersey: Pizza, subs, zeppolis (boardwalk only, also that's the boardwalk spelling of the plural, not zeppole)

Philly/Delaware valley: Cheesesteak, Tastykakes, hoagies, Frank's Black Cherry Wishniak.
posted by yesno at 7:09 PM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Massachusetts: baked beans, codfish cakes, scrod, Boston cream pie (which is actually a cake, just to mess with ya head).

South Dakota seems to be all about the bison to me, but that's just the tourist's-eye view.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:10 PM on July 8, 2009


@ellenaim

Most of New Jersey, except for maybe the area immediately around Philadelphia, calls it "Italian ice" and not "water ice." The term probably follows usage of the term "hoagie." My school cafeteria on the Jersey shore (Brick) used "hoagie," while the pizza shops used "sub," and nobody used "water ice."
posted by yesno at 7:12 PM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


I disagree with the other Texans, our state dish is chicken fried steak.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:12 PM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh god, not soft shell crabs for Maryland (though we eat those, too) - its brown butcher's paper or newsprint covering a laminate-top kitchen table, wooden mallets, pony bottles of cheap beer, corn on the cob, and steamed hard-shell blue crabs.
posted by peachfuzz at 7:16 PM on July 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I agree with Lyn Never. From growing up in Texas, chicken fried steak says "home" to me, and I don't even like it.

Central Illinois: sweet corn

Chicago: Chicago dog (yes, even more emblematic than deep dish pizza, in my opinion)
posted by MsMolly at 7:18 PM on July 8, 2009


It's not quite "quintessential" but there's a lot of overlap with Official State Foods as enacted by various State Senates...
Georgia: Official State Food: Grits
Maryland: State Dessert: Smith Island Cake
Massachusetts: State Muffin: Corn Muffin (1986); State Dessert: Boston Cream Pie (1996); State Cookie: Chocolate Chip (1997)
Minnesota: State Muffin: Blueberry muffin
New Mexico: State Cookie: Biscochito
New York: State Muffin: Apple Muffin (1987)
Ohio: Official State beverage: tomato juice
Oklahoma: Official State Meal (!): Fried okra, squash, cornbread, barbecue pork, biscuits, sausage and gravy, grits, corn, strawberries, chicken fried steak, pecan pie and blackeyed peas. (per H.C.R. 1083)
Rhode Island: State Drink: Coffee Milk
South Dakota: Official State Desert: Kuchen
Vermont: Official State Pie: Apple Pie
How sweet is it that our legislators are spending time choosing official muffins?

Also, Oklahoma makes me hungry.
posted by rokusan at 7:19 PM on July 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


I would have said hard shell for Md.

Could go either way (or w/peelers) - but I'd prefer the soft-shells w/a dash of Old Bay and an ice cold Clipper City!
posted by ryanshepard at 7:19 PM on July 8, 2009


Ohio: Buckeyes (the candy), Cincinnati chili, pierogies from Cleveland.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:21 PM on July 8, 2009


New Jersey is clearly pork roll, at least according to my husband. I'd say Italian food.
posted by booksherpa at 7:22 PM on July 8, 2009


Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh) = pierogies. And/or halupki, aka cabbage rolls.

I really think you have to split Pennsylvania between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, though.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 7:27 PM on July 8, 2009


Wisconsin:
Sheboygan Brats
Colby Cheese
Booyah
Beeeer.
posted by Floydd at 7:27 PM on July 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


New Mexican here.

New Mexico: green chile. Green chile rellenos are pretty popular - green chiles stuffed with cheese and fried in batter. They can be eaten by themselves or put into a burrito. In general, New Mexican-style Mexican food has a heavier emphasis on green chile and uses much more cheese than south-of-the-border Mexican food. Generally NM-style Mexican food feels much more Americanized and closer to Tex-Mex, although New Mexicans will never admit this.

Another classic dish is enchiladas - made with either green or red chile. Las Cruces, my hometown, has an annual event where a local restaurant owner makes a huge enchilada.

Green chile hamburgers, or really the practice of putting green chile on everything and anything, is something I strongly associate with New Mexico.
posted by pravit at 7:29 PM on July 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh, and cranberries.
posted by Floydd at 7:30 PM on July 8, 2009


Iowa: corndogs, jello salads
Indiana: giant fried pork tenderloin, morel mushrooms
Michigan: pasty
Utah: funeral potatoes, jello salads
Minnesota: fried cheese curds
Kentucky: Hot Brown, transparent pie, chess pie, derby pie
posted by BlooPen at 7:31 PM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


For California, well, there's California cuisine, but when I moved to North Carolina the thing I missed most was the San Francisco burrito.
posted by lore at 7:31 PM on July 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


California: Tritip
posted by Iron Rat at 7:32 PM on July 8, 2009


Nebraska: Runzas
Kansas: Bierocks

Essentially the same thing: a bread pocket filled with meat, cabbage or sauerkraut, onions, and seasonings. Probably German-Russian in origin. The Nebraska version has it's own fast food chain
posted by weathergal at 7:35 PM on July 8, 2009


Yep, California is probably California Cuisine. It's far too big and varied a state to have a single dish. But I'm going to pick one anyway and go with the DOUBLE-DOUBLE WITH GRILLED ONIONS from IN-N-OUT Burger.

All else need not apply. +1 favorite.
posted by Justinian at 7:35 PM on July 8, 2009 [7 favorites]


Ohio: also, pies from Amish country, and corn.
posted by archofatlas at 7:37 PM on July 8, 2009


Chicagoland: Italian beef.

The best Chicago pizza I've had is Giordano's.

As for Chicago's legendary loaded hot dogs, I've never partaken.

I'm too close to Chicago (and so influenced by Chicago) to know much about more rural areas of Indiana's food. (Wow, that sounded awkward, but you know what I mean.) However, here in NW Indiana, we have TONS of Greek restaurants. My favorite thing there is always the chicken-lemon-rice soup. Even Rachael Ray made a comment on how it's always available at Greek restaurants.
posted by IndigoRain at 7:37 PM on July 8, 2009


Massachusetts:

a Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee and a Fenway frank.
posted by emd3737 at 7:37 PM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


California: fish tacos, barbecue chicken pizza, Alice Waters, wine.
posted by box at 7:38 PM on July 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Minnesota: Hotdish and dessert bars.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:39 PM on July 8, 2009


Minnesota: hotdish.
posted by box at 7:40 PM on July 8, 2009


Nevada: the buffet.
posted by box at 7:41 PM on July 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


New Jersey: Taylor Ham (a/k/a Pork Roll). Even Wikipedia says so.
posted by dancinglamb at 7:43 PM on July 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


New Mexico , the state where the official state question is 'Red or green' lives on chile for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sometimes its made with pork, sometimes with other random meats. Served sometimes with beans, enchiladas, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, or any other food sold in New Mexico.
posted by answergrape at 7:44 PM on July 8, 2009


And New York would definitely not be New York without bagels.
posted by dancinglamb at 7:45 PM on July 8, 2009


How sweet is it that our legislators are spending time choosing official muffins?

At least in Massachusetts, these things are usually elementary-school projects--the kids research the possible candidates, pick one, present the case to their local representative, and he or she presents it to the legislature. Total use of legislator time: 10 minutes for 1 legislator, 30 seconds for everyone else, because who's going to vote against the really cute PowerPoint presentation about cookies?
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:49 PM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Virginia: Pulled pork barbeque, ham sandwiches, or maybe peanut soup?
posted by armage at 7:51 PM on July 8, 2009


Agreeing with BBQ and chili for Texas. Apparently breakfast tacos/breakfast burritos are a Texas thing (I thought they were popular everywhere until Googling just now).
Tacos/burritos are one of the most popular foods among pretty much everyone I know here in Texas, but I know that's true in many border states. I'd say most people I know eat tacos/burritos at least 3 meals out of any given week, usually more.
posted by ishotjr at 7:55 PM on July 8, 2009


Florida: Key lime pie (as previously mentioned), as well as Cuban sandwiches in Miami, citrus ANYTHING (probably orange juice), and a large mouth bass.
posted by seandq at 7:57 PM on July 8, 2009


For Tennessee, I've got to go with the meat and three. One of the three is cornbread.
posted by Benjy at 7:58 PM on July 8, 2009


Not that I like it, but Oregon is probably defined by cedar smoked salmon. Maybe also something related to huckleberries?
posted by Bibliogeek at 8:05 PM on July 8, 2009


West Virginia not only loves ramps, but they love hot dogs (made with the ubiquitous 'hot dog sauce', steamed bun, for the love of god no ketchup).

As well, pepperoni rolls are claimed to have been invented in West Virginia and are one of the most popular lunches in the state.*

*Statistical information proven by the number of times I ate a pepperoni roll for lunch throughout my W.Va. public school career. Which was, uh, at least once a week.
posted by kerning at 8:09 PM on July 8, 2009


Wyoming would have to mean rodeos. We love our rodeos, especially in what passes for summer here. Yee haw!
posted by elder18 at 8:18 PM on July 8, 2009


Wisconsin: deep fried cheese curds
posted by cosmicbandito at 8:19 PM on July 8, 2009


Washington: Salmon, Apples, Coffee
New York : I immediately thought Buffalo Wings and New York Steak
posted by billyfleetwood at 8:20 PM on July 8, 2009


Arkansas: I say beans and butter pie (slang for cornbread), but the better half says either fried okra or fried green tomatoes.
posted by Ugh at 8:21 PM on July 8, 2009


Minnesota: walleye, wild rice.
Wisconsin: cheese curds.
posted by anderjen at 8:22 PM on July 8, 2009


South Dakota: Chislic

I was absolutely astonished to find out that this doesn't exist anywhere but here. I thought it was as common as french fries.
posted by bristolcat at 8:23 PM on July 8, 2009


Iowa: sweet corn / pork chop ("Iowa Chop")
Minnesota: Hotdish / Lutefisk
Washington: Fresh Salmon
posted by ArgentCorvid at 8:27 PM on July 8, 2009


Coastal South Carolina (think Charleston): Shrimp & Grits
posted by ijoyner at 8:27 PM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Alaska: wild salmon, grilled on the BBQ ... ahhhh, with a cold Alaska Amber beer!
posted by northernlightgardener at 8:34 PM on July 8, 2009


Agreeing with the hotdish and bars for Minnesota. Walleye maybe; not an everyday thing for most of us. And we joke about lutefisk more than we eat it. (Lefse, I could see.) But this?

Minnesota: fried cheese curds

I have to disagree; that's Wisconsin all the way.
posted by lakeroon at 8:37 PM on July 8, 2009


Lyn Never said: "I disagree with the other Texans, our state dish is chicken fried steak."

The Legislature disagrees with you. But we know that's a big bunch of yahoos, so.

I would definitely put the CFS (WITH GRAVY, NATCH) on the list for Texas.

Can we have three?
posted by pineapple at 8:39 PM on July 8, 2009


North Dakota: knoephla soup (basically basically cream of potate soup with dumplings)
fleischkuechle (seasoned ground beef wrapped in dough and deep fried)
kuchen (similar to a custard pie made with dried fruit)

Minnesota: fried cheese curds

Arizona: any meat grilled over a smoky mesquite fire
posted by TungstenChef at 8:50 PM on July 8, 2009


Mississippi: Black-eyed peas, "collards" (collard greens) and sweet tea. All three of which I hate, making this Southern girl damn near a Yankee in the eyes of my family and friends. You have not had sweet tea until you have had a glass of my grandmother's, which is about half and half sugar and water with some tea in it for color.
posted by thebrokedown at 8:51 PM on July 8, 2009


Wisconsin:
Sheboygan Brats
Colby Cheese
Booyah
Beeeer
Cranberries


Sheboygan brats? Look at Mr. Fancy Pants over here. Gimme the supermarket brand and I'll leave the expensive stuff to moneybags.

Cheese? Ya! I'm not sure I'd limit it to Colby though. Brick is kind of a local specialty. Also, Wisconsin makes some great Cheddar (but everyone makes Cheddar).
posted by Bonzai at 8:54 PM on July 8, 2009


I grew up in Miami, so my view of "florida food" is skewed, but:

Medianoche
Pastelitos
cafe cubano
tres leches
Pollo Tropical or anything marinated in mojo crillio and biter orange
NY Deli style food

I'm a vegetarian so I didn't eat any of the above, save for potato pancakes @ delis, but cuban and jewish food pretty much dominated the food scene when I was growing up.
posted by necessitas at 9:01 PM on July 8, 2009


New Hampshire: Fried Dough.
posted by jeremias at 9:04 PM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Washington: Salmon (and coffee)

Minnesota: Wild rice (and hot dish)
posted by GaelFC at 9:06 PM on July 8, 2009


Utah: funeral potatoes, jello salads

Specifically, green jello
posted by necessitas at 9:06 PM on July 8, 2009


Minnesota: pasties.
posted by flod logic at 9:14 PM on July 8, 2009


Personal experience:

California - Mexican food
Texas - barbecue
Washington - seafood
posted by deborah at 9:19 PM on July 8, 2009


Nebraska (ie: The Butcher Block State):
Corn on the cob with lots of butter
Jell-O Salad with a combination of canned fruit and Kool Whip
Chili and cinnamon rolls served together
Wonderbread, ham, Velveeta and Miracle Whip sandwiches
Breaded and fried Carp, dipped in a sauce made of Miracle Whip and catsup
"Shit on a Shingle," ie: canned Tuna & cream of mushroom soup served over shredded toast
"Tater Tot Casserole," ie: Hot Dish
Steak
Hamburgers
Ham
Miracle Whip as a surprise ingredient in deserts
Hamburger Helper
Instant mashed potatoes and gravy out of a can or jar
Burger King
posted by pluckysparrow at 9:26 PM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


I agree that you have to split Pennsylvania in half when answering this question. For Pittsburgh, in addition to the previously-mentioned pierogie, I'd suggest the Primanti Bros. sandwich. It's a sandwich topped with french fries and coleslaw (with vinegar, not mayo). Seriously, Primanti's is 100% Yinzer.
posted by rebel_rebel at 9:29 PM on July 8, 2009


California - Big steamed artichoke!
posted by Mr.Me at 9:36 PM on July 8, 2009


Marylander here: obviously the answer is "crab" in some form, but to me it's the crab cake that's quintessentially Maryland.
posted by escabeche at 9:39 PM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


rokusan got it right on for Oklahoma - but I'd also add, Chicken and Dumplings *drool*
posted by Kloryne at 9:41 PM on July 8, 2009


Every southern U.S. state (and quite a few misguided northern ones) will claim superior BBQ. All I know is the best damn BBQ in world is mere blocks from my parent's house in my hometown. McClard's BBQ. Bill Clinton's favorite!
posted by zardoz at 9:43 PM on July 8, 2009


Iowa: corn on the cob, fried pork tenderloin sandwich
posted by fan_of_all_things_small at 9:44 PM on July 8, 2009


Washington, DC: The Half-Smoke.
We're not a state, though. :'(
posted by brownpau at 9:46 PM on July 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Indiana
- pork tenderloin sandwich with ketchup
- penny-an-ear corn, grilled
- goat on a spit
- a roast beef/turkey manhattan - open faced meat and mashed potato sandwich made with un-toasted white bread
- Tomato and mayonnaise on white bread
Arizona
- Carne seca (essentially air-dried beef jerky, shredded and sauteed with onions and other goodies)
- Seconding the meats grilled over mesquite
- Fry bread from trailers, either "taco style" or with honey and powdered sugar
posted by lizjohn at 9:53 PM on July 8, 2009


We're not going with ketchup for Oklahoma?

Coulda fooled me every time I went out for supper.
posted by Netzapper at 9:55 PM on July 8, 2009


North Dakota:...

Hm. I spent ages 3-18 in Grand Forks and i've never eaten any of those. I'd say lefsa before those.

Or lutefisk, though I don't know anyone that LIKED lutefisk.

And actually "casserole" occurred to me first.
posted by flaterik at 9:56 PM on July 8, 2009


And actually "casserole" occurred to me first.

Yeah I'd have to second 'casserole' or 'hotdish' depending on where you're at in the state.
posted by nathan_teske at 10:00 PM on July 8, 2009


Maryland: Blue Crab. And while soft shell is grand. The quintessential crab is steamed, with lots of old bay. A ear of sweet corn from the easter shore, lovenly called the shit house side of maryland. And a cold beer.
posted by ihadapony at 10:07 PM on July 8, 2009


Vermont:
maple syrup, of course
cheddar cheese
a combo of the following: apples, cheddar, cranberry, turkey/ham.. on a sandwich
posted by pintapicasso at 10:08 PM on July 8, 2009


I think you may have to split NY up as well... Those of us in the western part of the state are more likely to think of chicken wings or beef on weck than hot dogs.
posted by Kellydamnit at 10:09 PM on July 8, 2009


eastern shore.
posted by ihadapony at 10:11 PM on July 8, 2009


California... the DOUBLE-DOUBLE WITH GRILLED ONIONS from IN-N-OUT Burger.

Dude, please. Animal-style or go home.
posted by rokusan at 10:28 PM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Come to think of it, in my part of the state at least Brunswick stew defines Virginia.

I could sure go for some Mrs. Fearnow's right about now...
posted by armage at 10:36 PM on July 8, 2009


Ohio might need to be split as well - Cincinnati might as well be in Kentucky, culinarily. In Northeast Ohio (Cleveland and environs), I'd suggest pierogies and perhaps some lake-caught walleye pike (but only once a week, or month, or whatever the safe interval is these days.)

I've always heard that Boston (or perhaps MA or New England in general) has the highest per capita ice cream consumption. Googling suggests that there is some disagreement over that, but delicious locally made ice cream is everywhere around Boston. I'm not sure if that applies to Western MA too...
posted by ubersturm at 10:37 PM on July 8, 2009


Yes, definitely on the chile (though I prefer green) for New Mexico. Here's how I explain it to people who have never been: when you go to McDonald's, they offer you green chile on your cheeseburger.
posted by sugarfish at 10:54 PM on July 8, 2009


Washington:

Yes to Salmon, particularly Copper River and also hard smoked Salmon Jerky. Yummy, fishy, salty, smokey goodness.

Geoducks (pronounced gooey ducks) a clam and the most phallic looking food on the planet.

Cherries and berries of all sorts which are all over the market right now.

And not that I condone this by any means, but hot dogs with cream cheese.
posted by brookeb at 11:05 PM on July 8, 2009


Georgia - Fried chicken with sweet iced tea and pecan pie for dessert
posted by hazyjane at 11:07 PM on July 8, 2009


Utah: Fry Sauce
posted by polexxia at 11:07 PM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maryland: crabs (steamed or soft), Silver Queen corn;
Minnesota: hot dish, lutefisk, wild rice, lefse, cream cheese wontons, honeycrisp apples;
Washington: ranier cherries, salmon;
Alaska: moose, salmon, fiddlehead ferns, snow crab, caribou;
Wisconsin: brats, cheesecurds
posted by jadepearl at 11:53 PM on July 8, 2009


I think pasties are more of a northern Michigan staple. The only pasties I see here in SE Michigan are frozen ones in the supermarket.
Definitely coney dogs and Vernors, though. Maybe Sanders Hot Fudge cream puff sundaes, too.
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:44 AM on July 9, 2009


Oregon: My grandmother had a farm in Oregon and the two things I uniquely associate with it are marionberries (pie or cobbler) and filberts/hazelnuts.
posted by milkrate at 1:00 AM on July 9, 2009


California:
Prime ribs, all things Mexican (particularly burritos, fish tacos, margaritas and guacamole), granola and tofu, napa valley wine, In N Out burgers, smoothies (ie Jamba juice), and the California Roll.
posted by like_neon at 2:31 AM on July 9, 2009


Nevada: gin
posted by spasm at 3:06 AM on July 9, 2009


Montana: Huckleberries or Rocky Mountain Oysters and Steak.
posted by Unred at 4:15 AM on July 9, 2009


Manitoba: A fat boy with chili, made in a tiny kitchen by an old, grouchy Greek guy.
posted by pocams at 4:39 AM on July 9, 2009


Indiana: Pork tenderloin sandwich (the meat must be much larger than the bun); and for southern Indiana, fried biscuits with apple butter.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:14 AM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


West Virginia represents a couple bits of awesomeness.

The Pepperoni Roll, known nowhere but the mountain state and southern Pennsylvania...
The West Virginia Chili/Hot Dog...
and in the southern part of the state it would have to be Fried Bologna.
posted by TomMelee at 5:19 AM on July 9, 2009


Rhode Island: Hot Weiners
posted by chiefthe at 5:34 AM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


This definitely needs to be regional and not by state. Oriole Adams already brought up the example I was coming in to mention: pasties are allegedly the Traditional Michigan Food, but they're from up north. The majority of Michiganders live in cities in the southeastern part of the state and never actually eat the damn things. Coney dogs and Vernors, on the other hand, are Detroit things. You don't really see them as much up north. (I'd add paczkis to the list for Detroit. I swear you can't find 'em anywhere else. Oh, and we had gyros back before they were cool.)

Lord only knows what they eat in southwestern Michigan. Cherry pie, cheap wine and corn flakes, I guess.

There's this funny thing that happens in the US, though, where rural culture is capital-F-Folklore that we need to Study and Preserve, and urban culture is just this irritating shit that city dwellers do. The pasty shows up on every single list of traditional Michigan foods. We learn about the fuckers in school. I think in fact the only time I ever ate one growing up in SW Michigan was when my grade school teacher brought in a bunch of the soggy frozen ones so that we could Learn About Our Heritage — which was hilarious, because none of us had any roots in the part of the state where they're eaten and we were all completely bored by the whole thing. On the other hand, she coulda done a fantastic history lesson on Greek immigration, brought in gyros and chili fries, and we'd have been all ears — but it wouldn't have occurred to her, because Detroit doesn't have real culture, culture's what they have out in the sticks.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:42 AM on July 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


northern michigan: pasty.

holy shit i miss those.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 6:09 AM on July 9, 2009


Lord only knows what they eat in southwestern Michigan. Cherry pie, cheap wine and corn flakes, I guess.

also bell's beer.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 6:10 AM on July 9, 2009


As a life-long (40 year) Oregon resident, I've been trying to think of what would qualify from this state. The smoked salmon isn't a bad suggestion, but I think milkrate is closer to the mark: marionberries and filberts are very much Oregon foods. But it's not like you're going to walk into a restaurant and see marionberry or filbert items on the menu all the time. If I were hard-pressed, my answer would simply be fresh blackberries (or marionberries), I guess.
posted by jdroth at 6:27 AM on July 9, 2009


hot damn!
where are all you fine maine folks at?

fine, lobster, blueberries, potatoes. fine. all fine and representative of the great state o'maine.

but what about delicious moxie (caveat: i find this soft drink revolting)? whoopie pies? brown bread and baked beans by b&m? fiddleheads? various quebecois treats?

mmmmm maine
posted by chickadee at 6:30 AM on July 9, 2009


North Dakota
Both people above are right. Lots of Scandinavian and German foods. Mmmmm.

Arizona
In-N-Out burger? Mexican food? Arizona doesn't really have any culture, just backfilled population from everyone rushing to California decades before.
posted by jgunsch at 6:40 AM on July 9, 2009


Texas: as Cooper's says, "Its all about the meat" and Lone Star Beer

and Zardoz... I will see you one president and raise you a second one.
(Cooper's was a fav of Bush II and LBJ).
posted by nimsey lou at 6:48 AM on July 9, 2009


For New Mexico, definitely chile, as others have said above. In late summer, grocery stores have chile roasters -- big cylindrical wire mesh tumblers with propane burners underneath -- outside the front door, so you can buy a sack of chile and have it roasted on the spot. The whole town smells good.

For me the dish that includes chile would be a red enchilada. Flat, not rolled. A fried egg on top. No tomato in the enchilada sauce. If you have a sweet tooth, you can have a sopaipilla for dessert, or you can just sit back with a cold beer or two until your mouth cools off.

But a green chile cheeseburger is a fine thing. There's a restaurant here in Las Cruces that serves them with queso fries, so you can get green chile with your fries as well. Yum.
posted by Killick at 6:55 AM on July 9, 2009


New York: billyfleetwood mentioned the chicken wing, and I have to agree. The eastern side of the state may claim pizza and bagels, but and on the western end, it's all about the Buffalo wings!
posted by yawper at 6:56 AM on July 9, 2009


Hawaii? Spam musubi. No really, a plate lunch: teriyaki chicken with a scoops of macaroni salad and potato salad served on styrofoam.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:04 AM on July 9, 2009


I think in fact the only time I ever ate one growing up in SW Michigan...

Bleh. SE, of course. No cheap wine on my cornflakes.

posted by nebulawindphone at 7:40 AM on July 9, 2009


California really is too big to have a single defining food, but for San Francisco its gotta be the mission burrito and sourdough bread. Those are two foods that I've never seen done right outside of the area.
posted by oozy rat in a sanitary zoo at 7:42 AM on July 9, 2009


Can we have three?

Yes! All the things people have mentioned: Texas-style BBQ, chili (no beans, you heathens!), chicken fried steak, and breakfast tacos, are things I missed when I was living in New Jersey and characterized home to me. Also, there's a Gulf Coast specific way of frying shrimp that I found people in the Northeast didn't get, and in general, the closest thing to Tex-Mex you're getting up there is a Chili's.

(Native Texan, did not come home for the food, but it was, seriously, a consideration. Texans spice their food differently and NJ/NY/Philly food tasted bland and somewhat wrong to me.)
posted by immlass at 8:30 AM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Boo, only two Virginia comments? There's nothing more Virginia than peanuts or ham. Not pork in general, but specifically ham. As far as specific dishes, I'd say either peanut soup or Brunswick stew (as mentioned above). Or maybe ham steaks. I grew up in "fake" Virginia, though, so what do I know. I did once go to the Pork, Peanut, and Pine Festival.

Texas, where I live now, is surprisingly tough. Chili seems to be the official, but Texas BBQ (of course, meaning beef), Chicken-Fried Steak, and breakfast tacos (which I swear to God I will miss so much when I leave) are very strong competitors and seem to be much more popular, at least here in Central Texas. Maybe each region of Texas should have its own? Or maybe it should just be queso.
posted by malthas at 9:11 AM on July 9, 2009


Idaho:
-Finger Steaks
-Fry Sauce


Oddly enough, I don't think I've had a potato here that wasn't in a french fry.
posted by nameless.k at 9:31 AM on July 9, 2009


Pinto beans boiled with salt pork and topped with diced onions, with a big piece of cornbread and real butter. That's the lunch that makes everyone in the office jealous.
posted by workerant at 10:05 AM on July 9, 2009


... I got so wistful about it, I forgot to mention that I'm in East Tennessee, but I know pintos & cornbread are common throughout the South.
posted by workerant at 10:05 AM on July 9, 2009


Jersey Tomatos!

And everything yesno said too (I'm a NJ Philly suburb transplanted to central NJ now and I get made fun of for wanting "wudder ice, a hoagie and a phoone call hoome")
posted by WeekendJen at 10:53 AM on July 9, 2009


Not a dish per se, but for California, I'd say avocados.

Any type of food qualified by a "California" in front of it usually has avocados or guac. The sole exception I've seen is the California burrito, strangely enough.
posted by natabat at 10:57 AM on July 9, 2009


Maryland - yes, steamed blue crabs with Old Bay
Natty Boh (aka National Bohemian) would be your cheap beer.
posted by citron at 12:28 PM on July 9, 2009


I'm also pretty sure that sushi is the official meal of los angeles.

That and tacos from trucks.
posted by flaterik at 12:33 PM on July 9, 2009


More New York:

While NYC has pizza and bagels, the state as a whole is a huge apple producer, and there's a lot of appley goodness here in the fall.

Plus, those chicken wings from Buffalo have gotten rather popular. Although, most of the good stuff in the Western NY area is very regional (beef on weck, Loganberry drink), and doesn't appear much further east than Rochester. And, no one can figure out how to make a decent pizza anywhere north of Westchester and Rockland counties.

It sure would be nice if there was one statewide awesome food, but we're pretty culturally fragmented in the Empire State.
posted by Citrus at 12:49 PM on July 9, 2009


Hawaii: Spam musubi and plate lunches as already mentioned for sure. In addition: poke (raw fish like big eye tuna cut up into small pieces mixed (usually) with onions and marinated with shoyu), poi (mashed up taro root), and plain sticky white rice (maybe with some furikake on top).
posted by lazywhinerkid at 12:59 PM on July 9, 2009


New York: Black & White cookie
posted by kathrineg at 1:39 PM on July 9, 2009


Oh and as Citrus says,

New York: APPLES!
posted by kathrineg at 1:40 PM on July 9, 2009


Colorado: Its version of green chile, I'd agree with that.

I miss the hell out of it and the closest I've had to it outside of CO was from an Indian restaurant in Queens.
posted by kathrineg at 1:42 PM on July 9, 2009


OH how did I forget

Colorado: Rocky Mountain Oysters
posted by kathrineg at 1:47 PM on July 9, 2009


flaterik - I think that has a lot to do with where various ethnic groups settled. Those three foods I named are all German-Russian, and I think they settled predominately in the central and western parts of the state. I've had them at many a family gathering and many a small town diner from Valley City to Dickinson. Even my Norwegian relatives have fallen under their influence and make a mean bowl of knoefla...with warm sugared lefse for dessert. Now I'm getting really hungry!
posted by TungstenChef at 2:18 PM on July 9, 2009


That makes sense. I spend the vast, vast majority of my time actually in Grand Forks, so I'm not all that familiar with the rest of the state.
posted by flaterik at 2:50 PM on July 9, 2009


Kentucky: Derby pie (a chocolate-chip nut pie with bourbon), Kentucky silk pie (creamy chocolate pie, served cold), bourbon balls, fried chicken, Benedictine (a cucumber cream cheese spread), Hot Browns (open-faced sandwich with turkey & bacon, covered in Mornay sauce), burgoo (a rich meat & vegetable stew), country ham, stack cake (a layered cake with apple jam or spread between layers)
posted by pecanpies at 3:49 PM on July 9, 2009


where are all you fine maine folks at?

Actually, today I was at Old Orchard Beach, sharing some poutine with my son.

4th of July, we had some Pier Fries (video) and fried dough from the stands set up overlooking Casco Bay. The line was so long for fried dough that I almost missed the start of the fireworks.

If you like hot dogs, you have to try the red snappers next time you visit Maine.

Amato's claims to have invented the "real Italian" sandwich. Having grown up partly in Mass., not sure if anyone's mentioned grinders yet, but those were the best.

Also, some whoopie pie history for you. In Pennsylvania, they are called gobs.

Lobster and clam bake, not just in Maine but throughout New England. I had a lobster boil consisting of a whole lobster, corn on the cob, potatoes, clam steamers, a couple of weeks ago in Ellsworth at the Union River Lobster Pot.

Re: Pasties. I have had homemade pasties made by my sister-in-law in N. Wisconsin, very close to UP Michigan. They are delicious. Basically, it's any combo of root veggies & meat you have, baked into a pie crust turnover. Easy for miners to carry. N. Michigan has mines and they had a lot of miners who emigrated from Cornwall and they brought the recipes with them.

If you really want regional, buy up those local cook books with recipes by all the grandmas. Those are recipe/food gold.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:50 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh! Also! German/Czech parts of Texas: sausage kolaches. These are different from the fruit kind. Do they even have them in other parts of the country? I never saw anything like them in NY/NJ.
posted by immlass at 4:25 PM on July 9, 2009


I'll take a go at Connecticut, since no one else has, though I don't know it as well as Ohio.

Lobster roll and fried clams along the shoreline. New Haven Pizza is a famous "must try."
posted by Solon and Thanks at 4:55 PM on July 9, 2009


North Dakota (grew up there):

knoephla soup & fleischkuechle

I DREAM about those two items, man. You CANNOT find them out of state. Anywhere.
posted by Windigo at 7:21 PM on July 9, 2009


If you're politically minded, you might consider shad as Virginia's representative food.
posted by armage at 7:24 PM on July 9, 2009


I grew up in central New Jersey and never had a pork roll. The only foods that come to mind from that area are Indian food and grease trucks.
posted by lsemel at 8:16 PM on July 9, 2009


Oregon: Dungeness motherfucking crab, served hot with lemon and butter or served cold with cocktail sauce. Best eaten after a long day on the coast, freezing your feet in the ocean and coating your toes in sand. Nothing tastes better.

Barring that, salmon, smoked on a cedar plank and served with fresh vegetables.

Marionberry pie, marionberry jam, marionberry cobbler...marionberry ANYTHING.
posted by nonmerci at 12:43 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Southern Maryland: stuffed ham (you drill it and stuff with greens)

Upstate New York (rural Central and Eastern): apple pie or apple dumplings, covered dish, basic Yankee farmer food (much of which is the same or similar to what is considered Southern: biscuits with gravy, greens, cornbread), venison, pancakes for dinner, boiled dinner if you are close to the New England border, pizza, and lasagna (your friends whose family came from "the city." Stove-popped popcorn.
posted by jgirl at 5:17 PM on July 11, 2009


Also, some whoopie pie history for you. In Pennsylvania, they are called gobs.

I lived in PA for 4 years. I had never heard of a whoopie pie before moving there. There were whoopie pies everywhere you turned, never once heard them called gobs. Perhaps it's a regional thing?

What I did find weird was that green peppers were called mangos.
posted by necessitas at 8:46 PM on July 11, 2009


Granted, I've only been in Colorado for just going on two years, but I've not once encountered green chile here. When I lived in New Mexico I couldn't avoid it.

If beer can be considered a food... that's what I would say defines Colorado.
posted by FlamingBore at 9:34 PM on July 11, 2009


I grew up in central New Jersey and never had a pork roll. The only foods that come to mind from that area are Indian food and grease trucks.


Funny, whenever we saw one we called it a "Roach Coach".
posted by dancinglamb at 7:52 AM on July 12, 2009


Idaho: "Bite Sized". Sirloin, cut small, marinated, floured, and then fried.
posted by okbye at 12:10 PM on July 12, 2009


Oregon = Tillamook cheese, esp. cheddar

Tucson = Eegees (a frozen fruit drink, much like an ice, but drunk with a straw)
posted by QuakerMel at 1:49 PM on July 12, 2009


I lived in PA for 4 years. I had never heard of a whoopie pie before moving there. There were whoopie pies everywhere you turned, never once heard them called gobs. Perhaps it's a regional thing?

They're called gobs in the southwestern part of PA. I've never heard them called whoopie pies, and I've lived here for... longer than I care to mention.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 2:39 PM on July 12, 2009


PA: Teaberry ice cream.
posted by jgirl at 10:14 AM on July 14, 2009


Well, this seems to be all wrapped up, so with a little grep magic, here's the compiled MeFi state foods list:

ALABAMA
Breakfast: cheese grits Lunch: pulled pork sandwich Dinner: fried catfish

ALASKA
Alaska: wild salmon, grilled on the BBQ ... ahhhh, with a cold Alaska Amber beer!
Alaska: moose, salmon, fiddlehead ferns, snow crab, caribou;

ARIZONA
Arizona: any meat grilled over a smoky mesquite fire
Arizona- Carne seca (essentially air-dried beef jerky, shredded and sauteed with onions and other goodies)- Seconding the meats grilled over mesquite- Fry bread from trailers, either "taco style" or with honey and powdered sugar
Arizona In-N-Out burger? Mexican food? Arizona doesn't really have any culture, just backfilled population from everyone rushing to California decades before.
Tucson = Eegees (a frozen fruit drink, much like an ice, but drunk with a straw)

ARKANSAS
Arkansas: I say beans and butter pie (slang for cornbread), but the better half says either fried okra or fried green tomatoes.

CALIFORNIA
For California, well, there's California cuisine, but when I moved to North Carolina the thing I missed most was the San Francisco burrito.
California: Tritip
Yep, California is probably California Cuisine. It's far too big and varied a state to have a single dish. But I'm going to pick one anyway and go with the DOUBLE-DOUBLE WITH GRILLED ONIONS from IN-N-OUT Burger.All else need not apply. +1 favorite.
California: fish tacos, barbecue chicken pizza, Alice Waters, wine.
Personal experience:California - Mexican food
California - Big steamed artichoke!
California... the DOUBLE-DOUBLE WITH GRILLED ONIONS from IN-N-OUT Burger.Dude, please. Animal-style or go home.
California:Prime ribs, all things Mexican (particularly burritos, fish tacos, margaritas and guacamole), granola and tofu, napa valley wine, In N Out burgers, smoothies (ie Jamba juice), and the California Roll.
California really is too big to have a single defining food, but for San Francisco its gotta be the mission burrito and sourdough bread. Those are two foods that I've never seen done right outside of the area.
Not a dish per se, but for California, I'd say avocados.Any type of food qualified by a "California" in front of it usually has avocados or guac. The sole exception I've seen is the California burrito, strangely enough.
I'm also pretty sure that sushi is the official meal of los angeles.That and tacos from trucks.

COLORADO
Colorado: green chile. Colorado green chile, unlike its more famous New Mexico equivalent, usually has pork. New Mexico-style green chile is ordered in Colorado as "vegetarian green chile." (Green and red chile are not the same as "chili," they are thinner, have no beans, and except for pork in Colorado green chile, no meat. Just a sauce made from chili peppers.)
Colorado: Its version of green chile, I'd agree with that.I miss the hell out of it and the closest I've had to it outside of CO was from an Indian restaurant in Queens.
Colorado: Rocky Mountain Oysters
Granted, I've only been in Colorado for just going on two years, but I've not once encountered green chile here. When I lived in New Mexico I couldn't avoid it. If beer can be considered a food... that's what I would say defines Colorado.

CONNECTICUT
I'll take a go at Connecticut, since no one else has, though I don't know it as well as Ohio. Lobster roll and fried clams along the shoreline. New Haven Pizza is a famous "must try."

DELAWARE

FLORIDA
For Florida, Key Lime Pie is what sticks out to me.
Florida: Key lime pie (as previously mentioned), as well as Cuban sandwiches in Miami, citrus ANYTHING (probably orange juice), and a large mouth bass.
I grew up in Miami, so my view of "florida food" is skewed, but:Medianoche Pastelitos cafe cubano tres leches Pollo Tropical or anything marinated in mojo crillio and biter orange NY Deli style food I'm a vegetarian so I didn't eat any of the above, save for potato pancakes @ delis, but cuban and jewish food pretty much dominated the food scene when I was growing up.

GEORGIA
Georgia: Official State Food: Grits
Georgia - Fried chicken with sweet iced tea and pecan pie for dessert

HAWAII
Hawaii? Spam musubi. No really, a plate lunch: teriyaki chicken with a scoops of macaroni salad and potato salad served on styrofoam.
Hawaii: Spam musubi and plate lunches as already mentioned for sure. In addition: poke (raw fish like big eye tuna cut up into small pieces mixed (usually) with onions and marinated with shoyu), poi (mashed up taro root), and plain sticky white rice (maybe with some furikake on top).

IDAHO
Idaho:-Finger Steaks-Fry SauceOddly enough, I don't think I've had a potato here that wasn't in a french fry.
Idaho: "Bite Sized". Sirloin, cut small, marinated, floured, and then fried.

ILLINOIS
Chicago: Hot dog or deep dish pizza
Central Illinois: sweet corn
Chicago: Chicago dog (yes, even more emblematic than deep dish pizza, in my opinion)

INDIANA
Indiana: giant fried pork tenderloin, morel mushrooms
Chicagoland: Italian beef.The best Chicago pizza I've had is Giordano's.As for Chicago's legendary loaded hot dogs, I've never partaken.I'm too close to Chicago (and so influenced by Chicago) to know much about more rural areas of Indiana's food. (Wow, that sounded awkward, but you know what I mean.) However, here in NW Indiana, we have TONS of Greek restaurants. My favorite thing there is always the chicken-lemon-rice soup. Even Rachael Ray made a comment on how it's always available at Greek restaurants.
Indiana- pork tenderloin sandwich with ketchup- penny-an-ear corn, grilled- goat on a spit- a roast beef/turkey manhattan - open faced meat and mashed potato sandwich made with un-toasted white bread- Tomato and mayonnaise on white bread
Indiana: Pork tenderloin sandwich (the meat must be much larger than the bun); and for southern Indiana, fried biscuits with apple butter.

IOWA
Iowa: corndogs, jello salads
Iowa: sweet corn / pork chop ("Iowa Chop")
Iowa: corn on the cob, fried pork tenderloin sandwich

KANSAS
Kansas: BierocksEssentially the same thing: a bread pocket filled with meat, cabbage or sauerkraut, onions, and seasonings. Probably German-Russian in origin. The Nebraska version has it's own fast food chain

KENTUCKY
Kentucky: Hot Brown, transparent pie, chess pie, derby pie
Kentucky: Derby pie (a chocolate-chip nut pie with bourbon), Kentucky silk pie (creamy chocolate pie, served cold), bourbon balls, fried chicken, Benedictine (a cucumber cream cheese spread), Hot Browns (open-faced sandwich with turkey & bacon, covered in Mornay sauce), burgoo (a rich meat & vegetable stew), country ham, stack cake (a layered cake with apple jam or spread between layers)

LOUISIANA
Louisiana: crawdad boil.

MAINE
For Maine, forget lobsters, go for the lobster rolls.
hot damn!where are all you fine maine folks at?fine, lobster, blueberries, potatoes. fine. all fine and representative of the great state o'maine.but what about delicious moxie (caveat: i find this soft drink revolting)? whoopie pies? brown bread and baked beans by b&m? fiddleheads? various quebecois treats?mmmmm maine
where are all you fine maine folks at?Actually, today I was at Old Orchard Beach, sharing some poutine with my son.4th of July, we had some Pier Fries (video) and fried dough from the stands set up overlooking Casco Bay. The line was so long for fried dough that I almost missed the start of the fireworks.If you like hot dogs, you have to try the red snappers next time you visit Maine.Amato's claims to have invented the "real Italian" sandwich. Having grown up partly in Mass., not sure if anyone's mentioned grinders yet, but those were the best.Also, some whoopie pie history for you. In Pennsylvania, they are called gobs.Lobster and clam bake, not just in Maine but throughout New England. I had a lobster boil consisting of a whole lobster, corn on the cob, potatoes, clam steamers, a couple of weeks ago in Ellsworth at the Union River Lobster Pot.

MARYLAND
Nothing says Maryland to me like a plastic tablecloth covered with soft shell crabs, Old Bay, and cheap beer.
I would have said hard shell for Md.Could go either way (or w/peelers) - but I'd prefer the soft-shells w/a dash of Old Bay and an ice cold Clipper City!
Oh god, not soft shell crabs for Maryland (though we eat those, too) - its brown butcher's paper or newsprint covering a laminate-top kitchen table, wooden mallets, pony bottles of cheap beer, corn on the cob, and steamed hard-shell blue crabs.
Maryland: State Dessert: Smith Island Cake
Marylander here: obviously the answer is "crab" in some form, but to me it's the crab cake that's quintessentially Maryland.
Maryland: Blue Crab. And while soft shell is grand. The quintessential crab is steamed, with lots of old bay. A ear of sweet corn from the easter shore, lovenly called the shit house side of maryland. And a cold beer.
Maryland: crabs (steamed or soft), Silver Queen corn;
Maryland - yes, steamed blue crabs with Old BayNatty Boh (aka National Bohemian) would be your cheap beer.
I would have said hard shell for Md.
Southern Maryland: stuffed ham (you drill it and stuff with greens)

MASSACHUSETTS
Massachusetts: baked beans, codfish cakes, scrod, Boston cream pie (which is actually a cake, just to mess with ya head).South Dakota seems to be all about the bison to me, but that's just the tourist's-eye view.
Massachusetts: State Muffin: Corn Muffin (1986); State Dessert: Boston Cream Pie (1996); State Cookie: Chocolate Chip (1997)
Massachusetts:a Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee and a Fenway frank.
I've always heard that Boston (or perhaps MA or New England in general) has the highest per capita ice cream consumption. Googling suggests that there is some disagreement over that, but delicious locally made ice cream is everywhere around Boston. I'm not sure if that applies to Western MA too...

MICHIGAN
Michigan: Coney dogs and Vernors (or Faygo)
Michigan: pasty, Vernors ginger aleNew Jersey: water ice
Michigan: pasty
I think pasties are more of a northern Michigan staple. The only pasties I see here in SE Michigan are frozen ones in the supermarket.Definitely coney dogs and Vernors, though. Maybe Sanders Hot Fudge cream puff sundaes, too.
Oriole Adams already brought up the example I was coming in to mention: pasties are allegedly the Traditional Michigan Food, but they're from up north. The majority of Michiganders live in cities in the southeastern part of the state and never actually eat the damn things. Coney dogs and Vernors, on the other hand, are Detroit things. You don't really see them as much up north. (I'd add paczkis to the list for Detroit. I swear you can't find 'em anywhere else. Oh, and we had gyros back before they were cool.)Lord only knows what they eat in southwestern Michigan. Cherry pie, cheap wine and corn flakes, I guess.There's this funny thing that happens in the US, though, where rural culture is capital-F-Folklore that we need to Study and Preserve, and urban culture is just this irritating shit that city dwellers do. The pasty shows up on every single list of traditional Michigan foods. We learn about the fuckers in school. I think in fact the only time I ever ate one growing up in SW Michigan was when my grade school teacher brought in a bunch of the soggy frozen ones so that we could Learn About Our Heritage — which was hilarious, because none of us had any roots in the part of the state where they're eaten and we were all completely bored by the whole thing. On the other hand, she coulda done a fantastic history lesson on Greek immigration, brought in gyros and chili fries, and we'd have been all ears — but it wouldn't have occurred to her, because Detroit doesn't have real culture, culture's what they have out in the sticks.
northern michigan: pasty.holy shit i miss those.
Lord only knows what they eat in southwestern Michigan. Cherry pie, cheap wine and corn flakes, I guess.also bell's beer.
I think in fact the only time I ever ate one growing up in SW Michigan...Bleh. SE, of course. No cheap wine on my cornflakes.
Re: Pasties. I have had homemade pasties made by my sister-in-law in N. Wisconsin, very close to UP Michigan. They are delicious. Basically, it's any combo of root veggies & meat you have, baked into a pie crust turnover. Easy for miners to carry. N. Michigan has mines and they had a lot of miners who emigrated from Cornwall and they brought the recipes with them.If you really want regional, buy up those local cook books with recipes by all the grandmas. Those are recipe/food gold.

MINNESOTA
Minnesota: State Muffin: Blueberry muffin
Minnesota: fried cheese curds
Minnesota: Hotdish and dessert bars.
Minnesota: hotdish.
Minnesota: walleye, wild rice.
Minnesota: Hotdish / Lutefisk
Agreeing with the hotdish and bars for Minnesota. Walleye maybe; not an everyday thing for most of us. And we joke about lutefisk more than we eat it. (Lefse, I could see.) But this?Minnesota: fried cheese curdsI have to disagree; that's Wisconsin all the way.
Minnesota: fried cheese curdsArizona: any meat grilled over a smoky mesquite fire
Minnesota: Wild rice (and hot dish)
Minnesota: pasties.
Minnesota: hot dish, lutefisk, wild rice, lefse, cream cheese wontons, honeycrisp apples;

MISSISSIPPI
Mississippi: Black-eyed peas, "collards" (collard greens) and sweet tea. All three of which I hate, making this Southern girl damn near a Yankee in the eyes of my family and friends. You have not had sweet tea until you have had a glass of my grandmother's, which is about half and half sugar and water with some tea in it for color.

MISSOURI
St. Louis: Gooey butter cake or toasted ravioli

MONTANA
Montana: Huckleberries or Rocky Mountain Oysters and Steak.

NEBRASKA
Nebraska: RunzasKansas: BierocksEssentially the same thing: a bread pocket filled with meat, cabbage or sauerkraut, onions, and seasonings. Probably German-Russian in origin. The Nebraska version has it's own fast food chain
Nebraska (ie: The Butcher Block State):Corn on the cob with lots of butterJell-O Salad with a combination of canned fruit and Kool WhipChili and cinnamon rolls served togetherWonderbread, ham, Velveeta and Miracle Whip sandwichesBreaded and fried Carp, dipped in a sauce made of Miracle Whip and catsup"Shit on a Shingle," ie: canned Tuna & cream of mushroom soup served over shredded toast"Tater Tot Casserole," ie: Hot DishSteakHamburgersHamMiracle Whip as a surprise ingredient in desertsHamburger HelperInstant mashed potatoes and gravy out of a can or jarBurger King

NEVADA
Nevada: the buffet.
Nevada: gin

NEW HAMPSHIRE
New Hampshire: Fried Dough.

NEW JERSEY
New Jersey: water ice
New Jersey: Pizza, subs, zeppolis (boardwalk only, also that's the boardwalk spelling of the plural, not zeppole)
Most of New Jersey, except for maybe the area immediately around Philadelphia, calls it "Italian ice" and not "water ice." The term probably follows usage of the term "hoagie." My school cafeteria on the Jersey shore (Brick) used "hoagie," while the pizza shops used "sub," and nobody used "water ice."
New Jersey is clearly pork roll, at least according to my husband. I'd say Italian food.
New Jersey: Taylor Ham (a/k/a Pork Roll). Even Wikipedia says so.
I grew up in central New Jersey and never had a pork roll. The only foods that come to mind from that area are Indian food and grease trucks.
Jersey Tomatos!And everything yesno said too (I'm a NJ Philly suburb transplanted to central NJ now and I get made fun of for wanting "wudder ice, a hoagie and a phoone call hoome")

NEW MEXICO
New Mexico: an entire style an Mexican-ish food.
New Mexico: State Cookie: Biscochito
New Mexican here.New Mexico: green chile. Green chile rellenos are pretty popular - green chiles stuffed with cheese and fried in batter. They can be eaten by themselves or put into a burrito. In general, New Mexican-style Mexican food has a heavier emphasis on green chile and uses much more cheese than south-of-the-border Mexican food. Generally NM-style Mexican food feels much more Americanized and closer to Tex-Mex, although New Mexicans will never admit this.Another classic dish is enchiladas - made with either green or red chile. Las Cruces, my hometown, has an annual event where a local restaurant owner makes a huge enchilada.Green chile hamburgers, or really the practice of putting green chile on everything and anything, is something I strongly associate with New Mexico.
New Mexico , the state where the official state question is 'Red or green' lives on chile for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sometimes its made with pork, sometimes with other random meats. Served sometimes with beans, enchiladas, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, or any other food sold in New Mexico.
Yes, definitely on the chile (though I prefer green) for New Mexico. Here's how I explain it to people who have never been: when you go to McDonald's, they offer you green chile on your cheeseburger.
For New Mexico, definitely chile, as others have said above. In late summer, grocery stores have chile roasters -- big cylindrical wire mesh tumblers with propane burners underneath -- outside the front door, so you can buy a sack of chile and have it roasted on the spot. The whole town smells good.For me the dish that includes chile would be a red enchilada. Flat, not rolled. A fried egg on top. No tomato in the enchilada sauce. If you have a sweet tooth, you can have a sopaipilla for dessert, or you can just sit back with a cold beer or two until your mouth cools off.But a green chile cheeseburger is a fine thing. There's a restaurant here in Las Cruces that serves them with queso fries, so you can get green chile with your fries as well. Yum.

NEW YORK
New York: Hot dog or bagel
New York screams "pizza" to me.
New York: State Muffin: Apple Muffin (1987)
And New York would definitely not be New York without bagels.
New York : I immediately thought Buffalo Wings and New York Steak
New York: billyfleetwood mentioned the chicken wing, and I have to agree. The eastern side of the state may claim pizza and bagels, but and on the western end, it's all about the Buffalo wings!
More New York:While NYC has pizza and bagels, the state as a whole is a huge apple producer, and there's a lot of appley goodness here in the fall.Plus, those chicken wings from Buffalo have gotten rather popular. Although, most of the good stuff in the Western NY area is very regional (beef on weck, Loganberry drink), and doesn't appear much further east than Rochester. And, no one can figure out how to make a decent pizza anywhere north of Westchester and Rockland counties.It sure would be nice if there was one statewide awesome food, but we're pretty culturally fragmented in the Empire State.
New York: Black & White cookie
Oh and as Citrus says,New York: APPLES!
I think you may have to split NY up as well... Those of us in the western part of the state are more likely to think of chicken wings or beef on weck than hot dogs.\
Upstate New York (rural Central and Eastern): apple pie or apple dumplings, covered dish, basic Yankee farmer food (much of which is the same or similar to what is considered Southern: biscuits with gravy, greens, cornbread), venison, pancakes for dinner, boiled dinner if you are close to the New England border, pizza, and lasagna (your friends whose family came from "the city." Stove-popped popcorn.

NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina -- pulled pork BBQ -- yum!!
Perhaps useful.You could also make a case for Moravian cookies and Scuppernong grapes in North Carolina.

NORTH DAKOTA
North Dakota: knoephla soup (basically basically cream of potate soup with dumplings)fleischkuechle (seasoned ground beef wrapped in dough and deep fried)kuchen (similar to a custard pie made with dried fruit)
North Dakota:...Hm. I spent ages 3-18 in Grand Forks and i've never eaten any of those. I'd say lefsa before those.Or lutefisk, though I don't know anyone that LIKED lutefisk.And actually "casserole" occurred to me first.
Yeah I'd have to second 'casserole' or 'hotdish' depending on where you're at in the state.
North DakotaBoth people above are right. Lots of Scandinavian and German foods. Mmmmm.
North Dakota (grew up there):knoephla soup & fleischkuechleI DREAM about those two items, man. You CANNOT find them out of state. Anywhere.

OHIO
Ohio: Official State beverage: tomato juice
Ohio: Buckeyes (the candy), Cincinnati chili, pierogies from Cleveland.
Ohio: also, pies from Amish country, and corn.
Ohio might need to be split as well - Cincinnati might as well be in Kentucky, culinarily. In Northeast Ohio (Cleveland and environs), I'd suggest pierogies and perhaps some lake-caught walleye pike (but only once a week, or month, or whatever the safe interval is these days.)

OKLAHOMA
Oklahoma: Official State Meal (!): Fried okra, squash, cornbread, barbecue pork, biscuits, sausage and gravy, grits, corn, strawberries, chicken fried steak, pecan pie and blackeyed peas. (per H.C.R. 1083)
rokusan got it right on for Oklahoma - but I'd also add, Chicken and Dumplings *drool
We're not going with ketchup for Oklahoma?Coulda fooled me every time I went out for supper.

OREGON
Not that I like it, but Oregon is probably defined by cedar smoked salmon. Maybe also something related to huckleberries?
Oregon: My grandmother had a farm in Oregon and the two things I uniquely associate with it are marionberries (pie or cobbler) and filberts/hazelnuts.
As a life-long (40 year) Oregon resident, I've been trying to think of what would qualify from this state. The smoked salmon isn't a bad suggestion, but I think milkrate is closer to the mark: marionberries and filberts are very much Oregon foods. But it's not like you're going to walk into a restaurant and see marionberry or filbert items on the menu all the time. If I were hard-pressed, my answer would simply be fresh blackberries (or marionberries), I guess.
Oregon: Dungeness motherfucking crab, served hot with lemon and butter or served cold with cocktail sauce. Best eaten after a long day on the coast, freezing your feet in the ocean and coating your toes in sand. Nothing tastes better.Barring that, salmon, smoked on a cedar plank and served with fresh vegetables.Marionberry pie, marionberry jam, marionberry cobbler...marionberry ANYTHING.
Oregon = Tillamook cheese, esp. cheddar

PENNSYLVANIA
Cheesesteaks, but those in Pittsburgh may take exception.
Philadelphia: Soft pretzels or cheesesteaks
For Pennsylvania, in addition to Philly cheesesteaks, perhaps shoo-fly pie?
Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh) = pierogies. And/or halupki, aka cabbage rolls.I really think you have to split Pennsylvania between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, though.
I agree that you have to split Pennsylvania in half when answering this question. For Pittsburgh, in addition to the previously-mentioned pierogie, I'd suggest the Primanti Bros. sandwich. It's a sandwich topped with french fries and coleslaw (with vinegar, not mayo). Seriously, Primanti's is 100% Yinzer.
The Pepperoni Roll, known nowhere but the mountain state and southern Pennsylvania...
Also, some whoopie pie history for you. In Pennsylvania, they are called gobs.
I lived in PA for 4 years. I had never heard of a whoopie pie before moving there. There were whoopie pies everywhere you turned, never once heard them called gobs. Perhaps it's a regional thing? What I did find weird was that green peppers were called mangos.
They're called gobs in the southwestern part of PA. I've never heard them called whoopie pies, and I've lived here for... longer than I care to mention.
PA: Teaberry ice cream.

RHODE ISLAND
rhode island: stuffed quahogs, clamcakes and chowder (rhode island style = clear broth, not cream or tomato), with coffee milk and del's lemonade to wash it all down
Rhode Island: State Drink: Coffee Milk
Rhode Island: Hot Weiners

SOUTH CAROLINA
Coastal South Carolina (think Charleston): Shrimp & Grits

SOUTH DAKOTA
South Dakota seems to be all about the bison to me, but that's just the tourist's-eye view.
South Dakota: Official State Desert: Kuchen
South Dakota: Chislic. I was absolutely astonished to find out that this doesn't exist anywhere but here. I thought it was as common as french fries.

TENNESSEE
Tennessee: Country ham, biscuits and gravy. And Goo-Goo Clusters.
Tennessee: a different kind of barbecue
For Tennessee, I've got to go with the meat and three. One of the three is cornbread.
... I got so wistful about it, I forgot to mention that I'm in East Tennessee, but I know pintos & cornbread are common throughout the South.

TEXAS
Texas chili, btw.
In Texas, it's chili and barbecue.
Texas: barbecue
I disagree with the other Texans, our state dish is chicken fried steak.
Yeah, I agree with Lyn Never. From growing up in Texas, chicken fried steak says "home" to me, and I don't even like it.
Agreeing with BBQ and chili for Texas. Apparently breakfast tacos/breakfast burritos are a Texas thing (I thought they were popular everywhere until Googling just now).Tacos/burritos are one of the most popular foods among pretty much everyone I know here in Texas, but I know that's true in many border states. I'd say most people I know eat tacos/burritos at least 3 meals out of any given week, usually more.
Lyn Never said: "I disagree with the other Texans, our state dish is chicken fried steak."The Legislature disagrees with you. But we know that's a big bunch of yahoos, so.I would definitely put the CFS (WITH GRAVY, NATCH) on the list for Texas.Can we have three?
Texas - barbecue
Texas: as Cooper's says, "Its all about the meat" and Lone Star Beer and Zardoz... I will see you one president and raise you a second one.(Cooper's was a fav of Bush II and LBJ).
Can we have three? Yes! All the things people have mentioned: Texas-style BBQ, chili (no beans, you heathens!), chicken fried steak, and breakfast tacos, are things I missed when I was living in New Jersey and characterized home to me. Also, there's a Gulf Coast specific way of frying shrimp that I found people in the Northeast didn't get, and in general, the closest thing to Tex-Mex you're getting up there is a Chili's.(Native Texan, did not come home for the food, but it was, seriously, a consideration. Texans spice their food differently and NJ/NY/Philly food tasted bland and somewhat wrong to me.)
Texas, where I live now, is surprisingly tough. Chili seems to be the official, but Texas BBQ (of course, meaning beef), Chicken-Fried Steak, and breakfast tacos (which I swear to God I will miss so much when I leave) are very strong competitors and seem to be much more popular, at least here in Central Texas. Maybe each region of Texas should have its own? Or maybe it should just be queso.
Oh! Also! German/Czech parts of Texas: sausage kolaches. These are different from the fruit kind. Do they even have them in other parts of the country? I never saw anything like them in NY/NJ.

UTAH
Utah: funeral potatoes, jello salads
Utah: funeral potatoes, jello saladsSpecifically, green jello
Utah: Fry Sauce

VERMONT
Vermont: Maple syrup and all the things you put it on.There's a really good book called The Food of a Younger Land by Mark Kurlansky which is a great read about regional dishes in the US that you might enjoy.
Vermont: Official State Pie: Apple Pie
Vermont:maple syrup, of coursecheddar cheesea combo of the following: apples, cheddar, cranberry, turkey/ham.. on a sandwich

VIRGINIA
West Virginia — ramps
Virginia: Pulled pork barbeque, ham sandwiches, or maybe peanut soup?
West Virginia not only loves ramps, but they love hot dogs (made with the ubiquitous 'hot dog sauce', steamed bun, for the love of god no ketchup).As well, pepperoni rolls are claimed to have been invented in West Virginia and are one of the most popular lunches in the state.**Statistical information proven by the number of times I ate a pepperoni roll for lunch throughout my W.Va. public school career. Which was, uh, at least once a week.
Come to think of it, in my part of the state at least Brunswick stew defines Virginia.I could sure go for some Mrs. Fearnow's right about now...
West Virginia represents a couple bits of awesomeness.The Pepperoni Roll, known nowhere but the mountain state and southern Pennsylvania...The West Virginia Chili/Hot Dog...and in the southern part of the state it would have to be Fried Bologna.
Boo, only two Virginia comments? There's nothing more Virginia than peanuts or ham. Not pork in general, but specifically ham. As far as specific dishes, I'd say either peanut soup or Brunswick stew (as mentioned above). Or maybe ham steaks. I grew up in "fake" Virginia, though, so what do I know. I did once go to the Pork, Peanut, and Pine Festival.
If you're politically minded, you might consider shad as Virginia's representative food.

WASHINGTON
Washington: Salmon, Apples, Coffee
Washington: Fresh Salmon
Washington: Salmon (and coffee)Minnesota: Wild rice (and hot dish)
Washington - seafood
Washington:Yes to Salmon, particularly Copper River and also hard smoked Salmon Jerky. Yummy, fishy, salty, smokey goodness.Geoducks (pronounced gooey ducks) a clam and the most phallic looking food on the planet.Cherries and berries of all sorts which are all over the market right now.And not that I condone this by any means, but hot dogs with cream cheese.
Washington: ranier cherries, salmon;Alaska: moose, salmon, fiddlehead ferns, snow crab, caribou;Wisconsin: brats, cheesecurds

WEST VIRGINIA
West Virginia — ramps
West Virginia not only loves ramps, but they love hot dogs (made with the ubiquitous 'hot dog sauce', steamed bun, for the love of god no ketchup).As well, pepperoni rolls are claimed to have been invented in West Virginia and are one of the most popular lunches in the state.**Statistical information proven by the number of times I ate a pepperoni roll for lunch throughout my W.Va. public school career. Which was, uh, at least once a week.
West Virginia represents a couple bits of awesomeness.The Pepperoni Roll, known nowhere but the mountain state and southern Pennsylvania...The West Virginia Chili/Hot Dog...and in the southern part of the state it would have to be Fried Bologna.

WISCONSIN
Wisconsin:Sheboygan BratsColby CheeseBooyahBeeeer.
Oh, and cranberries.
Wisconsin: deep fried cheese curds
Wisconsin: cheese curds.
fried cheese curds I have to disagree; that's Wisconsin all the way.
Wisconsin: Sheboygan Brats Colby Cheese Booyah Beeeer CranberriesSheboygan brats? Look at Mr. Fancy Pants over here. Gimme the supermarket brand and I'll leave the expensive stuff to moneybags.Cheese? Ya! I'm not sure I'd limit it to Colby though. Brick is kind of a local specialty. Also, Wisconsin makes some great Cheddar (but everyone makes Cheddar).
Wisconsin: brats, cheesecurds
Re: Pasties. I have had homemade pasties made by my sister-in-law in N. Wisconsin, very close to UP Michigan. They are delicious. Basically, it's any combo of root veggies & meat you have, baked into a pie crust turnover. Easy for miners to carry. N. Michigan has mines and they had a lot of miners who emigrated from Cornwall and they brought the recipes with them.If you really want regional, buy up those local cook books with recipes by all the grandmas. Those are recipe/food gold.

WYOMING
Wyoming would have to mean rodeos. We love our rodeos, especially in what passes for summer here. Yee haw!


WASHINGTON, DC
Washington, DC: The Half-Smoke.We're not a state, though. :'(

Canada:
Manitoba: A fat boy with chili, made in a tiny kitchen by an old, grouchy Greek guy.
Quebec: Poutine
posted by zamboni at 1:07 PM on August 7, 2009 [13 favorites]


fried cheese curds I have to disagree; that's Wisconsin all the way.
Wisconsin: Sheboygan Brats Colby Cheese Booyah Beeeer CranberriesSheboygan brats? Look at Mr. Fancy Pants over here. Gimme the supermarket brand and I'll leave the expensive stuff to moneybags.Cheese? Ya! I'm not sure I'd limit it to Colby though. Brick is kind of a local specialty. Also, Wisconsin makes some great Cheddar (but everyone makes Cheddar).
Wisconsin: brats, cheesecurds
Re: Pasties. I have had homemade pasties made by my sister-in-law in N. Wisconsin, very close to UP Michigan. They are delicious. Basically, it's any combo of root veggies & meat you have, baked into a pie crust turnover. Easy for miners to carry. N. Michigan has mines and they had a lot of miners who emigrated from Cornwall and they brought the recipes with them.If you really want regional, buy up those local cook books with recipes by all the grandmas. Those are recipe/food gold.

WYOMING
Wyoming would have to mean rodeos. We love our rodeos, especially in what passes for summer here. Yee haw!


WASHINGTON, DC
Washington, DC: The Half-Smoke.We're not a state, though. :'(

Canada:
Manitoba: A fat boy with chili, made in a tiny kitchen by an old, grouchy Greek guy.
Quebec: Poutine
posted by zamboni at 1:08 PM on August 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Thanks for all the great answers! There's no one best answer here - they are all great!
posted by bigmusic at 4:58 AM on August 24, 2009


NJ: Talyor Ham sammich, Chicken Paramgian
posted by The Whelk at 12:22 PM on July 1, 2010


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