Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Question of the Month: Regional Yummies!

It's time for the Question of the Month! This time we asked the Superromance authors,

What is a regional food specialty in your area, or one you've sampled while traveling? 

Pamela Hearon: In Kentucky, fried catfish is on almost every menu.  It's dredged in corn meal, and the corn meal must be white--none of that sweet yellow stuff you find in stores up north.  My niece went looking for white corn meal in New Jersey once and had to go to the gourmet section!

Vicki Essex: Toronto's a city of many cultural mosaic where you can get just about any kind of cuisine you can imagine. People have tried to name the dish that best represents the town, but so far, no one has been able to pin just one down.

For me, though, when I've come back from an out-of-town vacation, a bowl of Vietnamese pho--beef noodle soup--is what sets me right and tells me I'm home.
Liz Talley: What don't we eat in Louisiana? Lol. My part of the country is
known for its exquisite food. Boiled crawfish, blackened gator, shrimp étouffée and seafood gumbo, and why don't cha toss some andouille sausage in that pot? It's all good.  

Some people scoff at eating crawfish, but there is nothing better than 5 lbs of mud bugs and a cold Abita beer. If you've never been to New Orleans, I'd recommend it for the food alone, but honestly our whole state has good food. It's why we're so fat down here :)

Lenora Worth: I lived in Louisiana for over thirty years and now Florida. Grew up in Georgia. I have to say that soul food is my favorite food. I love cornbread and turnips, pot roast and mashed potatoes and sweet potato pie. Any kind of pie. Liz is right about crawfish. You kind of get hooked on the little stinkers. I love comfort food and it's hard to resist, especially when on deadline!!! After 9-ll when we finally turned off the television and got out of the house, I told my husband to take me to Strawn's. It's a local restaurant in Shreveport that is kind of legendary. I wanted some Strawn's strawberry pie. I'm not kidding--while I sat there eating it the whole place seemed alive with colors and shapes and humanity and I almost cried eating that darn pie! Wish I had some right now!
Kate Kelly:  Here in Atlantic Canada fish reigns supreme. Lobster, scallops, sweet, cold water shrimp and of course, Atlantic salmon with fiddleheads! 

Mary BradyOh, ya, hey. For da cheeseheads you may t’ink it’s cheese. Nope. Some might say da best and brightest here is brats 'n' beer. But ya know our favorite--is to go over dere by your house--and jus’ eat lots of whatever you got. So, dere ya go. Ain’a, hey?

Sometimes we talk funny, but we're a loveable crowd--and very appreciative when you feed us.

Jeannie WattHere in northern Nevada, Basque cuisine reigns supreme. Items of note--Basque chorizo (or txorizo) which is a juicy, spicy sausage (not to be confused with Mexican chorizo, which is made with different ingredients and is by nature drier). Grill a chorizo and put it on a poor boy with grilled onions and peppers...heaven.  And then there's manchego cheese...*sigh* The very best Basque specialty in my estimation, however, is the Picon Punch--a wicked (delicious and sneaky) drink made from Picon (a bitter orange liquor), brandy, club soda and grenadine. It has to be made by someone who knows what they're doing or it just doesn't work.  It has it's own special glass, which coincidentally is also the one used for Irish coffees in Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco--purported home of the original Irish coffee. I believe that glass was a picon glass long  before it became an Irish coffee glass.

Kris Fletcher: my corner of central New York state is known for salt potatoes - bite size white potatoes left in their skin, cooked in seriously salty water (four pounds of potatoes, one pound salt), served with melted butter. But this weekend I traveled to Rochester NY and had my first ever garbage plate: a mix of meats (burgers, hot dogs, Italian sausages, etc) served with macaroni salad or hash browns or baked beans or fries (choose two), all chopped up & topped with onions and hot sauce.

Mary Sullivan:Here in Toronto, there's a series of diners called Fran's that were started in the early forties by an American man. They sold/sell diner food—burgers and fries, mac and cheese—nothing fancy, but both the meals and the prices are great and the restaurants busy even to this day.

I loooove their rice pudding, which has a layer of delicious custard on top. They've been known for their pudding and still serve it all of these years later. Nowadays, I still have it occasionally, but will also opt for an updated, upscale version in an Irish pub on the Danforth, made with wild rice and a sherry custard on top—to die for!
Margaret Watson: I'm from Chicago, and we're known for our deep dish pizza. It's served in a one to two-inch-deep pan, with a relatively thick crust and lots and lots of gooey cheese and ingredients. Sausage is one of our favorites, but you can get deep dish in just about any combination of ingredients.

Makes me hungry for a Lou Malnati's 'Lou'. I think I know what we're having for dinner tonight.
Joan Kilby: I will throw in wild sockeye salmon done on the barbecue, a favorite in Vancouver.

But at the moment I'm in Barcelona so I'd have to nominate tapas, washed down by Spanish wine. Ole! 

Karina Bliss: Here in New Zealand it would be simple fare for me. Hokey-pokey ice-cream served with a fat pavlova (a giant meringue, crunchy on the outside with a marshmallow texture on the inside). I'd top the dessert with feijoas and tamirillos, both gorgeous fruits. For breakfast I'd boil a couple of eggs with deep golden yolks and spread some Vegemite and butter on a slice of Vogels toast. Then I'd cook Anzac biscuits using the recipe in the Edmonds cookbook, a national institution.

And now, dear readers, you tell us: what's the go-to regional specialty in YOUR area?  


Mary Preston said...

The lamb is especially good around here, so Roast Lamb with all the roast veg is always on the menu at our house.

kris said...

Mary, my husband & sons would LOVE to share your roast lamb & veggies!

Pamela Hearon said...

I love trying the local fare wherever we happen to be. I've had some interesting food--and some surprises when I found out later what I'd eaten.
Y'all have me intrigued by the fiddleheads. I've seen them on the Food Channel, but I've never had them. They're now on my Must-Try List!

Kristina Mathews said...

Here in Northern California we love our sourdough, our California Zinfandel and fresh apple cider. Throw in some Monterey Jack cheese, salami and you've got a picnic.

We also do enjoy our Sierra Nevada beer. At their brewery's restaurant they serve organic produce and locally raised beef fed on the spent hops leftover from the brewing process.

kris said...

Fiddleheads are definitely worth trying. Just make sure you cook them thoroughly, as discussed here:

Kristina, oh, now I have a hankering for a sandwich on sourdough!

Kaelee said...

Saskatoon berries grow naturally in Western Canada so Saskatoon pie is a regional specialty. Also there is syrup for pancakes and jam for toast. The best way is eating a few of them while picking them.

Whenever we travel we love to try the local foods and have enjoyed many different things over the years. I must say having melons in Arkansas that were vine ripened was a real taste treat. Loved collard greens in Tennessee. Conch in Nassau which if eaten raw is supposed to "put lead in your pencil" The food in Hawaii was wondrous. I could go on but I won't.

My husband and I love fiddleheads which we can buy imported from BC or the Maritimes in season at our local stores. We steam them for 10 to 12 minutes and then we throw them into a frying pan where we have already browned up some sliced mushrooms in lots of butter. So good. I bought 2 pounds yesterday so I could freeze some for out of season times.

kris said...

Oh, Kaelee, what are Saskatoon berries like? I had to Google and see that they look a lot like blueberries. DO they have a similar taste?

LOL on the conch!

Snookie said...

There are too many good foods to mention here :) Why is it that all the food we love it fattening!

Fedora said...

I live near San Francisco, and there are a TON of foods it's known for--clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl? Great Chinese food? Ghiradelli's chocolate? fine Napa Valley wines? All of the above? ;)

kris said...

Snookie, I hear you!

As for San Francisco - oh YEAH. That is definitely a city that knows awesome food.

Kaelee said...

Kris ~ Saskatoons are less juicy than blueberries. Meatier?

There are quite a few small farms growing them and making pies, jams jellies and syrups.

penney said...

I wish we had lamb here but everyone around here has fish or hamburgers!

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