Regional American Food Culture

Regional American Food Culture

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Regional American Food Culture

Regional American Food Culture

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FREE for a limited time

Synopsis

The classic fare and evolving food traditions from New England to the West are illuminated like never before.

Excerpt

Anyone who travels across the United States quickly becomes aware of differences in landscape, climate, and people. Even with all the generic shopping malls and housing developments, national food chains and commercial outlets, regions are evident, and each region still displays something of its own culture. Food is one of the most common ways of expressing that culture and often helps us to recognize different regions. Places often become known for their food, and these foods are in turn markers of that place— sweet tea and barbecue in the South, baked beans and clam chowder in the Northeast, red and green salsas in the Southeast, fusion cuisine in California, and salmon bakes in the Pacific Northwest.

Regional foods in the United States, however, are complex and often difficult to identify. Frequently, we do not recognize that they are unique until we contrast them with other regions: for example, New England hot dog rolls open from the top, in contrast to nationally distributed hot dog buns that open from the side. Some foods seem to automatically represent a region, such as grits in the South or king crab and cedar-planked salmon in the Pacific Northwest; but sometimes the food icons that symbolize a specific place are found in other regions as well, for example, chili in Texas and Cincinnati, barbecue in Memphis and Kansas City, or a choice of red or green salsa in New Mexico. Also, some regional foods that are unique to an area may not be attractive to mainstream America, such as Philadelphia scrapple and pepper pot soup, St. Louis snoot sandwich, or North Carolina Brunswick stew made the traditional way with squirrel. These foods are often not advertised or marketed to “outsiders.” Similarly, cities, states, and . . .

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