American Cuisine

Take a look at each state’s official cuisine, and it’s clear what’s delicious and what’s dark

When you think of American food, you probably think of fast food like hot dogs and hamburgers. So today, let’s take a look at some of the “signature dishes” from each state in the United States.

Alabama: Roast chicken in white sauce

Alabama white sauce is a rich, creamy sauce made with mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and black pepper.

The sauce was invented in the 1920s by Bob Gibson of Big Bob Gibson Bar-BQ Barbecue Restaurant in Alabama, and is usually served with sandwiches or grilled or fried chicken.

Alaska: Smoked salmon

Alaska is famous for its salmon, but whether locals prefer smoked, grilled or pan-fried salmon is a matter of debate.

The best way to taste salmon in Alaska is with vegetables or bagels and cream cheese.

Arizona: Tacos

A lot of people think burritos are a Mexican delicacy, but they were invented in Arizona.

In Tucson, Arizona, two restaurants claim to have invented the dish, which is basically a tortilla stuffed with vegetables and meat and spices, fried and served with cheese and seasonings.

Arkansas: Fried Pickles

Fried pickles may seem strange to us, but they are very popular in the United States.

The first fried dill pickles appeared on the Duchess Drive-In menu in Atkins, Arkansas, in the summer of 1963, according to the Arkansas Encyclopedia.

California: Avocado Toast

California is famous for its avocados, and avocado toast is one of the state’s most popular and famous treats.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, California locals have been making avocado toast for more than 130 years: As far back as 1885, in the Daily California Morning Post, there was a recipe for sprinkling the fruit on slices of bread and seasoning it with salt and pepper.

Colorado: Fool’s Gold Sandwich

A defunct restaurant in Denver, Colorado was the first to invent the Fool’s Gold sandwich, a bread filled with peanut butter, blueberry jam, and bacon.

Legendary singer Elvis Presley was so impressed with the sandwich that he flew to Denver overnight on a private jet to try it.

Connecticut: Hot Lobster Roll

The first recorded lobster roll was served at Perry’s in Milford, Connecticut, in 1929, according to travel magazine Culture Trip.

Although New England and Maine lobster rolls are also famous, Connecticut lobster rolls have their own style, made with hot lobster meat and butter stuffed into a bun.

Delaware: Peach Pie

Peach pie is Delaware’s official dessert.

Peaches were introduced to Delaware during colonial times and became an important industry, according to the Delaware government website. At its peak, Delaware shipped six million baskets of peaches across the United States.

Florida: Cuban Sandwich

The Cuban sandwich, of course, can be traced back to Cuba, but the American “Cuban sandwich” owes much to Cuban immigrants in Tampa, Florida.

Sandwiches made in Cuba and the United States are said to have some key differences in composition. Sandwiches in Florida often use salami imported from Italy.

Georgia: Brunswick Stew

Although Brunswick, Virginia, and Brunswick, Georgia, both claim to have invented Brunswick Stew, a memorial in the Georgia town holds an iron pot that reads, “Brunswick Stew was born here on July 2, 1898.

Hawaii: Kalua Pork

Kalua pork, smoked and thinly sliced pork shoulder sometimes cooked with bok choy, is one of Hawaii’s most famous local dishes.

In Hawaiian, Karua means “to cook in an underground oven.”

Idaho: Finger steak

Many people trace the finger steak’s origins to Milo’s Torch Lounge in Boise, Idaho.

According to a local barbecue blog, the finger steak was created in 1957 from a fillet grown in owner Milo Bibi’s dining room.

Illinois: Pizza with a thick base

When you think of pizza, you might think of Italy, but the bottoming pizza was actually an American invention.

At Pizzeria Uno in Chicago’s Near North Side neighborhood, owners Ike Serwer and Rick Riccardo first introduced their creation, the thick-bottled ItaliAn-American pizza, in 1943, according to the BBC.

Indiana: Pork loin Sandwich

The pork loin sandwich, also known as the “Indian sandwich,” was invented by Nick Freinstein, an Indian from Huntington, Indiana. The sandwich was originally inspired by the Viennese schnitzel.

In 1904, Frehenstein sold sandwiches and burgers from a cart. Veal was not readily available, but pork was common. He added pickles and Onions to a deep-fried pork loin sandwich, which became an instant hit.

Iowa: Fried catfish

Although fried catfish is popular throughout the South, Iowans are especially fond of it.

Kansas: Loose Meat Sandwich

A cross between Sloppy Joe and a cheeseburger, the loose meat sandwich is also a Kansan favorite. Nu-Way Cafe, a Wichita restaurant chain, is known for its loose meat sandwiches.

In Kansas, a loose meat sandwich is also known as a bistro sandwich.

Kentucky: Beer Cheese

The Derry Ford Wood Hotel near Winchester, Kentucky, was invented by chef Joe Elman, Johnny’s cousin, as a way to get customers to buy more beer with their meals.

Louisiana: Gumbo

Gumbo is the state dish of Louisiana and is a traditional stew made mainly of stock, meat or shellfish, thickeners, and vegetables.

Gumbo dates back to the late 1800s, and many food historians believe it was an okra-based stew brought over by slaves during colonial times.

Maine: Lobster Roll

Maine is famous for lobster rolls, mainly because lobster is one of Maine’s most profitable exports.

Although the origins of lobster rolls date back to Connecticut, Maine-style lobster rolls are usually made of cold lobster meat and served on toast with mayonnaise.

Maryland: Crab Cakes

Crab cakes probably date back to Native American times. But the first official recipe for crab cakes appeared in the 1930s, when it was called “Baltimore Crab Cakes.”

Massachusetts: New England Style Clam chowder

In the northeastern United States, clam chowder is very common. According to American Culinary Magazine, the New England-style clam chowder was first served at Ye Olde Union Oyster House in Boston in 1836.

Michigan: Wet Burrito

Wet wraps, wrapped in red chili sauce and lots of cheese, originated at Beltrine’s bar in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Minnesota: Corn Dogs

While some believe corn dogs were introduced at the Texas State Fair between 1938 and 1942, the Pronto Pup food stand at the Minnesota State Fair claims to have invented the first breaded, fried hot dog in 1942.

Mississippi: Mississippi Ooze Pie

Mississippi ooze pie is a dessert made from pudding, cake, cookies, ice cream, whipped cream, marshmallows, and some kind of liqueur.

It is said to have been first invented in the Vicksburg-Natchez area near Jackson County, Mississippi.

Missouri: Barbecue

Henry Perry is known as the “father of Kansas City barbecue.” In the early 1900s, he sold newspring-wrapped slow-smoked meats for 25 cents in the Kansas City, Mo., garment district, according to Biz Journals.

Later, he opened Kansas City’s first barbecue restaurant in an old cart warehouse. Henry Perry loved barbecue so much that his occupation was listed as “Barbecue Expert” on his death certificate.

Montana: Mince Pie

Although mince pies originated in New Zealand and parts of Europe, they are also popular in Montana, USA.

Mince pies, often called “little pies,” were often brought to work by the many Irish miners who lived in Butte, Montana.

Nebraska: Reuben Sandwiches

The classic Reuben sandwich is made with corned beef, German pickles, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island sauce, served on rye bread.

The Reuben sandwich is said to have been invented in 1925 at Omaha’s Grocery store in Neb Dallas, California.

Nevada: Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp cocktail may not have been invented in Nevada or even the United States, but Las Vegas residents claim it as their appetizer.

According to the Golden Gate Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas, they introduced the 50-cent shrimp cocktail in 1959. Since then, it has become a signature dish of Las Vegas and a favorite among tourists.

New Hampshire: Maple Syrup Pancakes

Although Vermont has more maple syrup, New Hampshire is known for its maple syrup products.

Among them, maple syrup pancakes are one of New Hampshire’s favorites.

New Jersey: Disco Fries

Disco chips are French fries topped with gravy, cheese, and other toppings. They’re from New Jersey.

Disco chips are a late night snack that was originally eaten after a big night out, hence the name.

New Mexico: Green Pepper cheeseburger

Green pepper is New Mexico’s signature vegetable, so it’s no surprise that New Mexicans add it to their burgers, most commonly known as green pepper cheeseburgers.

New York: Pizza

It’s no secret that New York is famous for pizza, the cheapest of which is less than $1, and there are all kinds of pizzas.

The first pizzeria in the United States was in New York City, Lombardy’s Pizza, which opened in New York’s Little Italy in 1905.

North Carolina: Krispy Kreme doughnuts

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, also known as KK doughnuts, opened in Winston Salem, North Carolina, on July 13, 1937.

The owner at the time, Vernon Rudolph, simply sold the doughnuts to local grocery stores, until they became so popular that they began selling them directly out front. Today, Krispy Kreme is the largest doughnut chain in the United States and the second largest doughnut store in the country.

North Dakota: Bigfish

North Dakota is famous for its bigfish, a freshwater fish unique to the United States. Locals fry it and eat it, or make it into a sandwich.

Ohio: Cincinnati Chili

With more than 180 chili shops, Cincinnati, Ohio is known as the chili capital of the United States. Cincinnati peppers are slightly different from traditional peppers in that they have a lower consistency and are usually served in pasta dishes.

Cincinnati peppers are also served with chopped Onions, cheese, beans and even crushed oyster crackers.

Oklahoma: Fried steak

Fried steaks, often served with mashed potatoes and gravy, are popular throughout the American South.

Oklahoma made fried steak one of its state delicacies in 1988.

Oregon: Clams

Clams are a popular food in Oregon, where shellfish is also plentiful. Clams can be found in many classic Oregon dishes.

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Beef Cheese Sandwich

By far the most famous food in Pennsylvania is the Philadelphia cheese and beef sandwich, which is said to have been invented by the hot dog stand in 1930.

The sandwich includes thinly sliced steak, cheese, sauteed Onions, peppers, mushrooms, mayonnaise, hot sauce, salt, pepper or tomato sauce.

Rhode Island: Stuffed clams

Stuffed clams, also known as stuffed quahog, are a delicacy in Rhode Island.

The clam meat is chopped and mixed with breadcrumbs, herbs, diced onion, bell pepper and celery, then baked in the clam shell.

South Carolina: Shrimp polenta

The exact origins of shrimp polenta are not entirely clear, but many believe the dish may have originated in Charleston, South Carolina and other parts of the state.

Now, shrimp polenta has become South Carolina’s most popular dish.

South Dakota: Navajo tortillas

Unlike traditional tortillas, South Dakota tortillas use flatbread, where dough is fried flat in hot oil until it’s fluffy and crisp, and then it’s ready for Navajo tortillas.

The food was originally a staple invented by Native Americans to fill their stomachs.

Tennessee: Nashville Spicy Chicken

Nashville Spicy Chicken is known for being extremely spicy.

There is an interesting story about a unhappy wife who prepared a spicy chicken dish to teach her husband a lesson. The husband loved it so much that he opened a restaurant selling the spicy chicken. It was a hit — Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, the hottest fried chicken restaurant in America.

Texas: Barbecue

Texas is synonymous with barbecue, Texas barbecue is the beef as the protagonist, here you can taste a variety of beef related barbecue food.

Utah: Pastrami Burger

The pastrami burger has its roots in the Salt Lake City, Utah, Crown Burger, which is served with Thousand Island sauce, tomato, lettuce and onion, and can also be served with cheese or other toppings.

Vermont: Vermont Corn Soup

Vermont corn soup is a local favorite. It’s made with a milk-based broth, corn and other vegetables (like Onions, potatoes and bok choy), and filled with flour or Vermont cheddar cheese, and sometimes bacon.

Virginia: Oysters

Virginia’s official government website says that “Virginia is a state for all oyster lovers.” There are several oyster festivals and oysters can be caught in eight different areas.

Washington State: Fish and Chips

Fish and chips is often considered a quintessential British dish, while the American state of Washington is famous for its flaky fish and chips.

West Virginia: Gravy Bisgee

The origins of gravy Bisci can be traced back to the late 1800s in the Appalachian region of the southern United States.

According to The Washington Post, one of the earliest versions of this southern food used sausage gravy, also known as “sawmill gravy” at the time. It is said that because sawmill workers used it for energy, the rich, fragrant gravy made ordinary biscuits even more delicious.

Wisconsin: Fried Cheese curd

Fried cheese curds are a favorite in Wisconsin, which is known for its cheese and dairy products.

Cheese factories here have to make only cheese curds every day to keep up with the high local demand for fried cheese curds.

Wyoming: Big Bite

Turducken is short for Turkey-duck-chicken.

Supposedly invented by Paul Prudholm at a hotel in Wyoming, the dish involves stuffing chicken into duck, then duck into Turkey, and stuffing the chicken with other fillings, such as sausage and bacon.

 

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