Awesome/Ridiculous Regional Food

I live in the land of ridiculous regional food. We are pretty regularly mocked for our mayonaise-based salads, love of casseroles and constant, constant pushing of lemon bars.

Or perhaps you'd perfer to call it a 'hotdish'? In case you were wondering, here's how you made a casserole: Brown some hamburger and put it in a large glass dish. Cover with one can of Cream of Mushroom soup. Dump in a few cans of vegetables - tomatoes, peas, corn, whatev. Add some of those curly noodles that are always a little too limp. Stir, and then cover with something crunchy: pik-niks, bread crumbs, corn flakes - all viable options.

Venison everything
Who needs beef when deer are constantly throwing themselves in front of your truck? If you can make it out of cow, you can make it out of deer. And it's probably a lot healthier.

These salads deserve quotation marks because they are salads in name only. Are they cold? Yes. Do they include vegetables? Yes. But they also include 2 cups of mayo, some stripey cookies and then some pickled fish thrown in for good measure. I know of actual 'salad' recipes that combine broccoli and raisins. Or pickled fish and apples. Or shredded carrots and orange jello.

Lemon Bars
Actually, quite delicious. Gooey and tarty and lemony with a shortbread crust. Any church basement potluck would be incomplete without them.

Fried Smelt
Usually reserved for VFW fundraisers, Minnesotans love to eat deep-friend minnows. Heads and all. Apparently this really brings in the dollars for our local veterans.

What foods do the locals in your city love?

Posted by Sarah von


Michelle said...

Is it bad that my roommate just made a tuna casserole yesterday and we both loved it? I don't care, it was delicious!

I also grew up in the land of "if you put it in a covered dish, it's church basement potluck food."

em said...

i don't know what a lot of this stuff is.. what's smelt? what's pik-nik? what's pickled fish? what cookies are striped? what's VWF?

i live in LA, so our regional food consists of super greasy and authentic tacos and burritos. also tj dogs.. bacon covered hot dogs.

i've never eaten this tj dog because another part of being from LA is being super body and image conscious.. my nightly dreams all consist of CARBS.

Vixel said...

That casserole sounds really good right now, and I'm not sure why!

I'm English and my mother was born in Scotland, my foodie heritage is haggis and black pudding, both of which I rather enjoy!

Sarah Von said...

Em: Ha! It's hilarious that we can be from the same country and so out of touch with each other's cultures! Smelt are basically large minnows, pik-niks are a cross between tiny french fries and potato chips, pickled fish is fillets of fish that's been pickled with vinegar and pepper (puuuuuke), a VFW is an event-hall/bar for Veterans of Foreign Wars (really a hang out for old guys) and striped cookies are those ones with the hole in the middle. They're pretty mediocre.

Kortnee said...

I live in Kentucky, so, if you've ever watched Paula Deen on the Food Network, then you know what foods are regional to this area.

-mint juleps
-pecan pie
-country ham
-chicken or chicken fried steak
-grits, buttermilk biscuits
-sweet tea
-fried green tomatoes
-pinto beans

Stuff like that.

jezzabellegiggles said...

well in Melbourne, Australia, we love our meat pie with lots of tomato sauce and BBQ sausages with lots of beer ;)

Helen said...

I live near Liverpool and we have a dish called 'scouse' which is basically stewing steak, potatoes, carrots and gravy. Or you can do it without the meat which we call 'bling scouse' hehe. It's delicious on a cold winters day with some pickled beetroot.

Bridey said...

New Zealand food is all about:
+ BBQs
+ fish & chips
+ tomoato sauce with everything
+ pavlova
+ homemade dip consisting of reduced cream & soup mix (which is awesome by the way)

Sarah Von said...


I miss NZ dips soooo hard! New World seemed to have an entire aisle devoted to them - we're pretty much limited to a)French onion b) salsa c)guac.

Jackie said...

Greetings from Michgan!

I love to gobble up:
++ Paczkis. Not pronounced like it's spelled, definitely. They're polish (but MI has a big polish population?) Everyone talks about them around the time before Lent. My university has a paczki making day too. I'd never heard of them before I moved here. Oh, if you don't know, they're basically a jelly filled donut...

++ Coney Island Hot Dogs. Steamed hot dogs covered in meat chili, onions, and mustard. There are coney island hot dog places on every corner in my town. Again, I'd never heard of them or had one until I moved to MI a few years ago.

++ Pierogis. Another polish dish. A polish dumpling. I've only had the mashed potato and cheese filled ones. Everyone is obsessed with them, and my university cooks them up about every other week.

++ Desserts with cherries in them

++ Mackinac Island Fudge

++ Vernor's Ginger Ale

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Quebec, where it's all about the Poutine. That's fries covered in gravy and cheese curds. Classy.

Now I live in London, UK, and the regional dishes seem to be beer and curries from really nasty late night Indian take-out places :-)

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