Today is Independence Day for the United States, and my thoughts are centered on this country. I have lived in eight states, plus visited all fifty, and although I cannot recall food I ate in every single state, I thought it would be fun today to list some of my memories of food in various states. (Click on the links for more information.)
Alaska - I had reindeer sausage!
Arizona - I remember traveling through Arizona in July 1986 and the first time we stopped to eat I nearly melted into a puddle the moment I stepped out of the car.
California - I learned to use chopsticks; ate my first bagel with cream cheese; and my first spinach salad. The best BBQ ribs I've ever had in my life was from Flint's Ribs in Oakland. (GASP!! I tried to find a link for Flint's Ribs and discovered it is now closed! SAD!!) As I've traveled the country I have never, ever, found ribs as tasty as Flint's!
Colorado - I don't recall a certain food, but I want to mention the largest swimming pool I have ever been in...they boast it is the largest hot spring pool in the world. (Glenwood Springs, CO)
Connecticut - Ate Boston Brown Bread for the first time. It's a dark brown bread made with molasses and raisins and baked in a can. I loved it.. but unfortunately I cannot eat it now since it has so much molasses in it. We also ate "grinders" (submarine sandwiches).
Florida - First time eating Dolphin Fish. NOT to be mistaken for dolphins, this is a fish also known as Mahi-Mahi.
Georgia - Mmmm... I loved the Cupboard Cafe in Dillard, GA where I ate the most delicious chicken cooked in a raspberry sauce. At a bed and breakfast on Tybee Island, I had my first crab omelet, and my only time of eating Tur-duck-en (turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken) that the B&B served for Thanksgiving. And of course, I enjoyed Georgia peaches!
Hawaii - I tasted Macadamia nuts for the first time. It's kind of funny because my husband and I were approached by a time-share representative wanting us to sit through an hour long presentation with the compensation of receiving a case of macadamia nuts. Having never tasted one, I thought the lady was...well, nuts...to think a case of nuts would entice us to give up a precious hour of vacation time. Later, when I tasted the luscious macadamia, I kicked myself for passing up the chance to get a free case and even went searching for that lady!!
Idaho - My home state. Of course, I prefer Idaho potatoes over any other. Whenever I visit Gertie's Pizza in Twin Falls, I wait for the Idaho potato pizza that comes around (it's all-you-can-eat, but they bring variety after variety of pizzas to the tables). The pizza I mentioned has shredded potato, sour cream, bacon bits, and cheese. When I used to eat sweets I loved the Idaho Spud candy bar. The most interesting "Idaho Spud" I've eaten was actually made from ice cream!!! It was vanilla ice cream, shaped like a potato, coated in a chocolate powder to look like the skin, slit lengthwise, then filled with whip cream (to look like sour cream) and sprinkled with chocolate shavings (like bacon bits). Click here to see a picture of one.
Illinois - Yummy Chicago-style hot dogs!
Iowa - Hormel Cure 81 Ham. (My father-in-law used to work for Hormel in Iowa.)
Kentucky - Fantastic dinner theater at Louisville, Kentucky (home of the Kentucky Derby). Derby Dinner Playhouse.
Louisiana - Fell in love with crawfish while vacationing in New Orleans. My favorite restaurant there was Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro where I ate Crawfish Ravioli - oh my, words don't even describe the luscious flavor - and enjoyed their Crab and Crawfish Bake (appetizer). I also had great crawfish pie, but cannot recall the name of the restaurant.
Maine - The best lobster!!
Michigan - Pickled bologna rings!!
Montana - The best steak I've ever eaten. I day dream of returning there for their Filet Bearnaise at Bradley O's Steakhouse (between Darby and Hamilton).
Nebraska - I recall stopping at a restaurant when traveling with our small children. They served country food and had waiters wearing cowboy attire. My son was thrilled to see what he thought were "real live cowboys!"
New York - Ah, I remember having to pull off the interstate in the New York City area because our three year old son had to go pee and refused to go in a cup as we traveled. Had to find a McDonald's.
North Carolina - Ate at a Zaxby's for the first time.
North Dakota - We ate sandwiches of french bread, cheese, and lunch meats while driving through a desolate area with fascinating landscape and land formations, like something from another planet. Unique, gorgeous.
Oklahoma - Don't remember what I ate, but I saw my first armadillo!
Oregon - Delicious berries.
Pennsylvania - Needing to find a place to eat we decided to pull over in Hamburg, PA thinking we would get a hamburger. Turned out we were wrong.
Rhode Island -Mmm... Clam Chowder.
South Carolina -Lizard's Thicket (restaurant). I can't remember what we ate there other than it was country style food. It was such an interesting name we couldn't resist pulling in there to try it out.
South Dakota - We drove through South Dakota during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. I've never seen so many Harleys in my life. I don't recall what we ate while in that state, but I can vividly recall the constant roar of motorcycle engines.
Tennessee - Learned to love grits. Also learned to use the term "covered dish" for socials that I typically called "potlucks" prior to living there.
Texas - First time eating a breakfast taco. First time eating fajitas with goat meat.
Utah - We've lived here for the past four years. People joke about Utah being famous for green jell-o with shredded carrots, and funeral potatoes, but we've found some great eats like the Model A Cafein Mapleton, and Moochies in Salt Lake City.
Vermont - Never ate there. Drove to Vermont to see the fall leaves, except we made the mistake of waiting until the fall leaves were perfect in Connecticut, not realizing that the Vermont leaves turn sooner, so we saw rolling hills of barren trees. We were very hungry, but could not eat because we failed to take cash with us...that was back when fast foods did not take credit cards, and you could only use a debit card at your own bank. By the time we returned to Connecticut (getting lost somewhere along the way) we drove straight to a donut shop and put ourselves into a sugar coma to forget about the ordeal.
Washington - I remember picking wild blackberries with my mom; eating cherries as I sat in the tree, tossing the pits to the ground; and I also remember eating licorice flavored ice cream while living in Walla Walla. I can't list Walla Walla without mentioning their delicious sweet onions.
West Virginia -
I wish I could remember special foods for all of the states. Perhaps you can help fill in the blanks. I'd love to hear about your favorite foods from around the country.