For this blogpost, I thought it’d be interesting to talk about how certain places are associated with certain types of food. This topic relates to various themes we’ve touched base on in class such as identity (with Russia and the potato), authenticity of a food (such as in Curry with Chicken Tikka Masala), and corn with Iowa. I noticed in class yesterday that Professor Henke mentioned “Iowa is known for it’s corn”. Similarly, many towns/cities, states, and even countries are “known for” certain types of foods or ways in which foods are prepared. This got me thinking, what is New Jersey known for? (Where I currently reside). Although my friend from Long Island says otherwise, New Jersey is supposedly known for their bagels and hoagies. There are plenty of Deli’s, “Subways”, and Bagel shops. There is a place a few minutes away from my house called “Hoagie Haven” that sells very distinct yet popular hoagies. One is called the Dirty Sanchez which includes mozzarella sticks, french fries, chicken tenders, and “the Sanchez sauce”. Another is called the “Phat Lady”, which is a cheesesteak with mozzarella sticks, fries, mayo, and hot sauce. One other hoagie is the “Heart Stopper”, which is a cheesesteak with bacon, two fried eggs, and hot sauce.
Although these cheesesteaks are popular because of the way they are prepared, I would imagine they do not compare to Philly Cheesesteaks. This brings me to another geographic location that is “known for” a particular food. The town I live in is the midpoint between Philadelphia and New York City. Therefore, I have traveled to both New York City and Philadelphia quite a bit throughout my lifetime and have always been asked if I eat Philly Cheesesteaks when I travel to Philadelphia. Personally, I have never had a Philly Cheesesteak, but people I have met from Philly told me it is a necessity when visiting. There is a certain pride that comes with the place you live being recognized for a food that attracts most visitors and tourists.
I have heard from a number of people that there is no pizza like New York pizza. Both of my parents grew up in New York City and said that the pizza in New York City cannot be replicated–there is a certain taste to the cheese or a certain way it is prepared that makes it “authentic” pizza. I know many students in this area claim that slices sells the best pizza around and yes, it might taste good with ranch. However, many people I know would agree with me when I say it is in no way as tasteful as the pizza found in New York City. I may be biased in a few of my assumptions because they are solely based upon what I’ve heard throughout my lifetime, rather than personal experience from traveling to a specific place. With this being said, I always associate Italy with delectable gelato. I visited Little Italy in New York, which by no means is the same as Italy, but I suppose it exhibits how popular gelato is in Italy. On another note, I recall that New England is generally known for its seafood, especially Lobster, (amongst other food options). Boston in particular has terrific clam chowder and of course there is the famous “Boston Cream Pie”. Additionally, I believe that Texas is known for its meats, especially steak, ribs, and barbecue items.
Finally, to name a few other food items associated with particular locations, there are Belgian waffles, crabs from Maryland, “deep-dish pizza” in Chicago (which is different from New York Pizza), peaches from Georgia, Grits and Shrimp in South Carolina, as well as many others. In a sense, a particular food can create a sort of identity that the people of that location represent or hold and as a result make known to others. Moreover, the question of authenticity comes into play when a common food is made or prepared in various locations. Is a cheesesteak not made in Philly not the same as a traditional Philly Cheesesteak or not as authentic? Or does another location add something to a food to make it it’s own version and unique? Is the clam chowder prepared on Rhode Island different from clam chowder found in Boston or in Massachusetts? A lot of places can claim that they make the best of a particular food, but it all comes down to either popular opinion or personal preference. Nonetheless, it is interesting to see how people sometimes equate a food with a specific location. Below I included two links: (1) One is the 50 States and a popular food for each state. You are welcome to see if it aligns with what you know about your state, provided you live in the United States. (There is even corn listed under Iowa). (2) The second link is a huffington post article about 50 cities that are said to be known for certain foods or dishes.
(1) http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/50-state-foods.html(2) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/14/cities-specific-food_n_4959577.html