I've been reading this book called Road Food, about which I have serious doubts as an actual source of recommendations as I have eaten at most of the restaurants it recommends in California and was only really impressed with one (the astonishing taco shack La Super-Rica in Santa Barbara), but it functions excellently as a source of food porn.

I was especially entranced by its sections on such exotic locales and specilties as Maine (lobster rolls; Indian pudding; Grape-nuts pudding), Vermont (salt pork; red flannel hash; New England boiled dinner; maple cream pie), Pennsylvania (shoofly pie; scrapple; grasshopper pie), Kentucky (sugar pie; chess pie; burgoo), and Iowa (loosemeats.)

I am not even sure what many of those are, but they sound delicious. Has anyone ever eaten any of those items? If so, can you describe them to me?

If not... what are your regional specialties? The more regional, the better! Please describe in mouthwatering detail.

I would reciprocate, but I'm not sure what LA's regional specialties actually are. We seem to specialize in other countries' regional specialties.
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From: [identity profile] spectralbovine.livejournal.com


HA! I was just mentioning this to someone because of my imminent trip to Boston and my desire to eat regional cuisine when possible.

I think I've had chess pie before. It's sort of like a pecan pie without the pecans.

L.A.'s regional specialty is Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. Heh.

From: [identity profile] cofax7.livejournal.com


It's sort of like a pecan pie without the pecans.

Nope. It's closer to a custard, but not quite. It has cornmeal in it, and no corn syrup.

Corn syrup: Bah!

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From: [identity profile] amberdulen.livejournal.com


Pennsylvania (shoofly pie; scrapple; grasshopper pie)

Heck yeah!

Shoofly pie is made almost entirely of molasses. It's got a crumbly crust and an exceptionally gooey interior, and if you eat more than a square inch of it at a time you're down for the count. My grandma makes the best. I can totally post the recipe if you want.

My dad makes scrapple for breakfast some days. Apparently it's made from castoff pig parts and I've never been a fan, but I guess if you were in the mood for ham-flavored jelly or rustic Spam, this would be the thing.

AFAIK, grasshopper pie is just a chocolate crust with mint filling.

From: [identity profile] torrilin.livejournal.com


Sounds about right to me. I've never had any of them since they're not any of the *good* regional specialties.

Chicken pot pie, now *there's* a good PA specialty. (if there is pie crust involved, it's not chicken pot pie in PA)

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From: [identity profile] jonquil.livejournal.com


Salt pork is just ordinary corned pork; you use it to flavor any bean dish such as baked beans. (I'm shocked that isn't listed.)

NE Boiled Dinner is corned beef plus a hell of a lot of vegetables, boiled. (Carrots, potatoes, turnips, cabbage, ..)

Red flannel hash is the hash you make from leftover NE Boiled Dinner, usually with a fried egg on top.

Grasshopper pie is based on the drink the Grasshopper (creme de menthe, creme de cacao, and cream); it's a chocolate mint cream pie in a chocolate-cookie crust.

From: [identity profile] jonquil.livejournal.com


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt_pork

They should TOTALLY have mentioned New England baked beans, which are much much MUCH nicer than canned baked beans. Proper baked beans are lightly flavored of maple syrup and salt pork and mustard, cooked 10 hours in a bean pot, and melt in your mouth. Mmmmm, baked beans.

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From: [identity profile] lady-ganesh.livejournal.com - Date: 2008-04-16 12:42 am (UTC) - Expand

From: [identity profile] mroctober.livejournal.com


I find scrapple tasty depsite it being made of hoof and snout.

From: [identity profile] wintersweet.livejournal.com


Some of these things you'd recognize under other names, I think. Chess pie is delicious if you love sweet things.

There's a good Arkansas barbecue place here in Fremont if you ever get up to NorCal.

P.S. Didn't I read last week that LA invented the French Dip?

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


You are correct! Phillipe the Original invented it. I am ashamed to say that I have never been there. That's because it's in the heart of Chinatown, and I am always lured away by the Chinese food.

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From: [identity profile] melissawyatt.livejournal.com


I've eaten more shoofly pie and scrapple than I care to remember (PA Dutch born and bred.)

Shoofly pie is basically a pie with a filling of brown sugar goo and an unsweetened crumb topping. There are two versions: wet bottom and dry bottom, depending on the consistency of the filling. Both are nasty.

Scrapple is a pudding in the English sense of the word (though it's a PA German invention.) You basically take everything that's left over after the butchering of a hog and boil it with cornmeal and then press it into loaf pans and steam it. To serve, you cut it in slices and fry it. While it's frying, it gives off an odor that would be an approximation of pig body odor. The only way it is edible is when drowned in King Syrup. It is the food of the very very frugal.

Better PA Dutch foods: chicken pot pie (in a pot, not a pie), chicken corn soup, hog maw (sausage, cabage and potatoes baked in a pig's stomach), sweet Lebanon bologna, fasnachts (Lenten potato donuts fried in lard), sugar cakes and apple dumplings.

From: [identity profile] amberdulen.livejournal.com


I will see you your chicken pot pie and raise you ham pot pie, with rivels--so that the only three ingredients are ham, flour, and water.

Oh man, fasnachts. :) Your post has Eastern PA written all over it. :)

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From: [identity profile] loligo.livejournal.com


Lots and lots of Dutch immigrants came to the western half of michigan. Most traditional Dutch cooking is standard Northern European peasant fare (we have a running joke about opening a Dutch vegetarian restaurant called Van VanderVan's House Of Cabbage), but there are two Dutch desserts that you could find everywhere in Grand Rapids that I really miss: windmill cookies (spicy, crisp gingerbread with almonds) and banket (marzipan pastries).
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

From: [personal profile] kate_nepveu


You can get lobster rolls throughout the Northeast: shredded/chunks of lobster, tossed w/mayo or similar, in a hot dog roll (preferably toasted, IMO). Often with celery etc.

As you can imagine, they range from sublime to disgusting.

I see other people have already vouched for the existence of shoofly pie, which IIRC is a Pennsylvania Dutch thing.

Since I never thought of lobster rolls as a regional specialty, I doubt I can identify others . . .
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From: [identity profile] rikibeth.livejournal.com


Lobster roll is made from delicious chunks of lobster claw and tail meat, served in a hot dog bun. Depending on what part of New England you're in, it will be dressed either with butter (southern) or mayonnaise (northern, and IMHO the RIGHT way). It may have little chunks of celery mixed in with the lobster meat, but this is not required. The bun may or may not be toasted. This is one of nature's own perfect foods.

Indian pudding is essentially cornmeal mush sweetened with molasses. It is delicious with vanilla ice cream.

Grape-nuts pudding is Grape-nuts cereal cooked in a custard matrix. Tasty.

Salt pork -- do people still eat this on its own? Really? When they're NOT trying to reproduce things from the Little House books? I have cooked with it before but as a base ingredient in chowders, baked beans, etc. It's a source of pork fat and less smoky than bacon. More fatty than pancetta.

Red flannel hash -- this is corned beef hash with beets in it. I don't eat beets much.

New England Boiled Dinner -- a/k/a Corned Beef And Cabbage. and potatoes, and maybe carrots or other root vegetables. I used to make this before my daughter turned vegetarian, because you can pick up corned beef hella cheap around St. Patrick's Day. It is not actually that GOOD, although it is a good excuse to make brown-mustard-brown-sugar sauce to put on everything. I am sure it was much more appealing if you were a Colonial farm laborer and needed lots of solid winter calories -- the "boiled dinner" technique goes back to cauldrons hung on pot hooks in an open hearth, and "corned beef" was the way you were going to HAVE your beef in the winter, as you would have butchered in the fall and preserved it in pickling brine for the winter.

I have never had maple cream pie.

Connecticut is known for shad and shad roe. Shad is not unlike herring, and it has ten million little bones. The roe is crunchy and I love it.

From: [identity profile] movingfinger.livejournal.com


You get shad all up the New England coast (I think Long Island may have shad runs, but I'm not sure), wherever the rivers aren't so damaged that the fish won't come any more. Sautee that shad roe in butter and put it on toast.

Has to be Hellman's mayo on the lobster roll. No celery, that's filler.

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From: [identity profile] lady-ganesh.livejournal.com - Date: 2008-04-16 12:43 am (UTC) - Expand

From: [identity profile] taliabriscoe.livejournal.com


First off, this sounds like an intersting read. I love those food channel shows that highlight regional dishes or how candy is made and so fort. As I lack cable, it should have occured to me that there might be books of that genre as well.

For the KY stuff: Chess pie has a texture like pecan pie without pecans, it can come in chocolate or just regular. Burgoo is a tomato based soup with lots of veggies and meats that is served mostly in bbq restaurants. As for the sugar pie...well, I spent my first fifteen years in central KY and have never heard of it.

I live a bit further south nowadays and will relate some regional dishes to you later this evening...right now it's my kids nap time, which means I need to grab some shut ye while I can.

From: [identity profile] tammylee.livejournal.com


Alberta is best known for it's good beef. The only better beef I've eaten was in NYC when I went to a Peruvian restaurant and they served us beef imported from Peru. UHnnnnnnnn! I recc going to The Keg and ordering their AAA Alberta Prime Rib. I've never eaten finer prime rib anywhere.

There's a high Ukrainian population here so keilbassa and perogies are common and delicious.

Oh!! Saksatoon berries! They're made into pies, wine, jam, juices... anything. They're a dark purple berry that has a unique flavour. They're found all across Canada/Alaska and into Iowa and such. Delicious.

From: [identity profile] matociquala.livejournal.com


Lobster rolls are boiled Maine lobster with mayonnaise on a hot dog bun. *g* Boiled dinner and hash are as [livejournal.com profile] jonquil describes. Grape-nuts pudding is basically hot cereal made with sweetened grape-nuts. Indian pudding is a cornmeal pudding.

Nom nom nom.... *g*

From: [identity profile] badnoodles.livejournal.com


There are the quintessential Texas foods: chili, beef BBQ, chicken fried steak with cream gravy. Tex-Mex is it's own category of sublime. But for me, I'd give someone a sausage kolache.

Kolaches are Czech pastries made from a sweet, yeast-risen egg dough, filled with fruit preserves, and topped with pocipka. It's really all about the dough. A good kolache dough is both buttery and airy, but strong enough to keep the filling from dribbling out or soaking through. It's not flaky like a danish, or super-sweet like a doughnut, or even dense like challah. The best I can describe it is like an egg bagel-flavored Rhodes dinner roll.

The Texan twist on it is that you take a little sausage - about the size of a man's middle finger, and you wrap it in the dough, and you bake it. So you've got this delicious bread wrapped around a sausage. The sweetness in the bread balances the spices in the sausage, and they are awesome finger food. Of course, some people take the utter lowbrow road of just wrapping a hot dog in some frozen dinner roll dough and call it a sausage kolache, but they are filthy liars. Then there are those that wrap the sausage and some sliced jalapenos in a slice of cheese inside the roll. But for my money, you just can't beat a nice sage & rosemary sausage, in a fluffy roll of kolache dough, all golden brown and hot from the oven.


From: [identity profile] dichroic.livejournal.com


I like 'em with the jalapenos and cheese.
What I still miss from TX (7 years in Houston) is being able to get BBQ baked potatoes - that is, a very large baked potato with all the fixings and BBQ beef dumped on top. A very filling meal and not too unhealthy you can get for fast and cheap. Also, Cajun food, because lots of Louisianians move to Houston for jobs and bring food with them. And the occasional venison sausages made by someone's dad or tamales made by someone's mom and brought in to work.

What I miss most from Philadelphia (born and bred there) is soft pretzels. And also, they should never cost more than a quarter (well, all right, 50 cents because it's been a long time since I moved away) and should always be served with spicy mustard. The ideal snack food: big enough to blunt your hunger, small enough not to ruin your appetite for hours, no grease or milk or anything else to upset a wonky digestion. And cheap. And YUM. Also, some of the best Chinese food I've had in the US. (And they bear absolutely no resemblance to the abominations sold by Auntie Anne's. ) And oh, by the way the classic description of scrapple is "everything from the pig except the squeal".

What I miss from Arizona (10 years in Phoenix) is Mexican food, from lots of different regions of Mexico.

Then I moved to the Netherlands for a year, then to Taiwan except I've been back in the Netherlands on a (very) extended business trip. What I will miss from the Netherlands is the uniformly excellent soups and all the baked goods, especially the appeltaart (apple pie) and appelflappen (turnovers). What I will miss from Taiwan has yet to be determined, but I do like the dumplings.

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From: [identity profile] jonquil.livejournal.com


Classic Indiana cuisine is Jell-O salad. I will say no more.

From: [identity profile] veejane.livejournal.com


I have a theory that New England Boiled Dinner is the reason why people in New England are so standoffish: prevailing flatulence.

Other New England classics:
* Boston brown bread (a thick, steamed molasses bread, which you can get in a can!)
* corn fritters (I literally never heard of these till I moved to Connecticut, where they are legion)
* REAL doughnuts that are not Krispy Kreme
* clams with vaguely pornographic names not at all spelled how they sound (Rhode Island specialty)

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moment of outrage from Seattle

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From: [identity profile] jd3000.livejournal.com


Two things I love as far as really regional cuisine is probably the Super (or San Francisco) burrito, that gigantic monstrosity made out of a steamed flour tortilla the size of a poncho packed with rice, beans, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, onions, and everything from pollo to lengua. The other is likely the Chinese hot pot, which is a recent emigre' and is basically a boiling pot of broth on a hot plate at your table where you immerse various vegetables, noodles, meats and seafood to cook, rather like fondue, before enjoying a thoroughly flavored soup at the end.

-JD

From: [identity profile] cakmpls.livejournal.com


That last thing sounds like a dish of Japanese origin served in Korea as shabu-shabu.

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From: [identity profile] panjianlien.livejournal.com


Specialties of where I'm from are all actually specialties of various bits of Eastern Europe. This is absolutely to be expected, and extremely welcome, in my book.

Except for cider doughnuts, and Shaker lemon pie, both of which are divine.

Specialties of where I currently live all seem to involve crab, National Bohemian beer, or a mystery fish in battered deep-fried form and called "lake trout," even though it is probably whiting or some similar fish that has never seen a lake in its life. I dislike crab, am not big on Natty Boh, and will only happily eat the lake trout from one place in town, a little hole-in-the-wall called Sterling's that's been around since 1945.

There are, however, Berger's fudge cookies, which are sort of like a soft shortbread disc with a solid inch of fudge frosting on top. They are extreme. And when they are the thing you want, they are exactly the thing you want.

Old Bay spiced potato chips (Utz makes them) are also worthwhile.
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From: [identity profile] rikibeth.livejournal.com


Old Bay Utz chips? THERE GOES MY DIET.

The Old Watertown Diner, in Watertown, MA, puts Old Bay on its homefries. I identified it on first bite and proceeded to eat all of mine and half my companion's.

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From: [identity profile] panjianlien.livejournal.com - Date: 2008-04-16 01:22 am (UTC) - Expand

From: [identity profile] cofax7.livejournal.com


Lobster rolls are lobster meat dressed lightly with mayonaise and served in a bread-roll, like a hot-dog bun. Yum.

Indian pudding is a corn-based sweet, with raisins. I've only ever had it as an ice cream flavor.

New England boiled dinner: ham, cabbage, and new potatoes, all boiled up. Bland as hell, but that's what the ham is for. When I was a kid we mostly had it with daisy roll, which (the internet tells me) is pork shoulder packaged in a roll like a very fat sausage. On edit: I'm corrected upthread that it's properly corned beef, but we always had it with ham.

Chess pie is awesome: it's a simple pie, basically cornmeal, cream, and eggs. I have a recipe somewhere I'm happy to share. And upthread tells me it's pecan pie without nuts, but not according to James McNair.

From: [identity profile] jd3000.livejournal.com


It may not be OUR region, but we cooked up some Cincinatti chili once (thin, slightly sweet, served on top of spaghetti with oyster crackers on the side).

-JD

From: [identity profile] veejane.livejournal.com


I have been Told that Cincy (skyline) chili is defined by the fact that it's got cocoa powder in it along with the cinnamon and cayenne. Those of us who can't do spicy are very grateful for whatever weirdo decided to put chocolate in chili.

From: [identity profile] cakmpls.livejournal.com


"Loosemeats"--my mother called these "loosemeat hamburgers"--are much like sloppy joes, only less saucy. I don't know if this word is known outside Iowa.

Minnesota has some specialties borrowed from Scandinavian roots: lefse (yum), lutefisk (blech), and some cookies. Also wild rice from the Native Americans. Smelt (little tiny fish that are deep-friend whole).

Potlucks and church suppers and funeral lunches in church basements in either Iowa or Minnesota MUST have what I call "fluff": Jell-o based "salads" (up here something sweet is a "salad" if based on Jell-o) that incorporate whipped cream or, more likely, something like DreamWhip. A well-attended event might have fluff in three or four flavors (or at least colors).

"Hot dish" is what Minnesotans call a casserole. The classic one has canned tuna, canned peas, noodles, and canned mushroom soup, but anything with starch, protein, and sauce that is baked in a casserole-type dish is a "hot dish."

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From: [identity profile] taliabriscoe.livejournal.com - Date: 2008-04-14 09:26 pm (UTC) - Expand

Booya

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From: [identity profile] teleute12.livejournal.com


I feel like I should be representing NorCal somehow, but I can't think if we have any really unique food traditions, besides the super burrito mentioned above. I don't really know that much about food anyway, I wouldn't have thought of that. Um, we have hippies? I could dig up several recipes involving whole-grain flour, applesauce instead of oil or butter, and honey instead of sugar, that I endured as a child....

From: [identity profile] jd3000.livejournal.com


Well, we have good seafood here, although we share that with most of the Pacific Northwest. I guess the big regional trend is all that classy 'fusion' cuisine in the expensive restaurants.

-JD

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From: [identity profile] rikibeth.livejournal.com - Date: 2008-04-16 01:19 am (UTC) - Expand

From: [identity profile] telophase.livejournal.com


Battered, fried, and covered in cream gravy.

With a stick shoved in it if it's at a fair.


(Remember: Chicken Fried Grits! When you come here for A-Kon!)

From: [identity profile] hokelore.livejournal.com


Kentucky (sugar pie;

We eat that in Indiana too, but we call it sugar cream pie.

I have my grandmother's recipe.

From: [identity profile] movingfinger.livejournal.com


Is that the Jane and Michael Stern Roadfood? You can usually rely on them recommending a dish, but restaurants wax and wane in excellence.

I would peg the avocado-on-everything as an innovation. Caesar salad is from LA or nearby, yes?

Salt pork, in my experience, is not something we eat, it is something we put in other things, particularly baked beans. It's very very fatty bacon.

Northern California: the barbecued oyster!

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


Yes, it's the Stern book.

Avocado: you are correct! Possibly also the home of the duck-sausage pizza, not that I've ever seen that anywhere outside of Spago, which I've only been to once. Caesar salad I believe is of contested origin.

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From: [identity profile] clever-girl.livejournal.com


Oh, Wisconsin.
Cheese, to begin with. I prefer mine in the form of deep fried cheese curds.
And beer. Yes, we have Miller, but you can't run down the road without tripping over a microbrew. You can get New Glarus' Spotted Cow in both Madison and Milwaukee.
Brats, of course. Bratwurst on a brat roll topped with stadium sauce or sauerkraut.
Racine Kringle. It's a filled sort of coffee cake shaped like a racetrack.
And Culver's. Oh, boy, butter burgers and custard. (a butter burger is not made with butter, the top half of the roll is buttered and toasted. the custard is the frozen kind.)

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