Yesterday I posted this video about “Midwestern Sushi” and the comments section, full of secret family renditions, and beloved “sushi” recipes makes me so happy. So I had a fun idea.
Let’s share our favorite regional recipes here (the more detail the better!) and I’ll recreate some and share on Instagram!
I’ll go first: I’m from North Carolina and my favorite regional specialties are shrimp n grits, biscuits n gravy, tomato pie, and pimento cheese!
New Englander here — I love a good chowder (white clam or corn)! I also love clams on basically anything or just steamed — such an underrated protein.
Also every Christmas, my mom gives my husband freshly baked apple cider donuts in his stocking. It’s hard to find good ones outside of the northeast.
From the Central Coast of California - Monterey - AKA the salad-bowl capitol of the world. I love, love, love grilled artichokes with balsamic glaze. Did you know that Marilyn Monroe was the first Artichoke Festival Queen??
Tennessee loves a Tomato sandwich!! Dukes Mayo, a giant beefsteak tomato slice (or 2!), salt/pepper on white bread 🤤
I'm from Iowa, and one thing we loved was Snickers Salad! The Midwest is great at calling a dessert a "salad" to make you feel better about eating it 😂 it is chopped apples and snickers, mixed into a pudding/whipped cream combo, and it is SO GOOD! I'm also a big fan of the Midwest Sushi you shared :) and we love a good scotcheroo!
SC gal — fried okra, pickled okra and beets, fried oysters, oyster shooters, banana pudding (custard only - don’t come at me with jello pudding), cream cheese with pepper jelly, Duke’s Mayo, vinegar-based BBQ!
Buffalo, NY here! Anything Buffalo wing sauced... buffalo chicken wing dip: shredded chicken, buffalo sauce, cheddar, blue cheese crumbles and some creamy something to hold it together! UM PLEASE DO A BUFFALO TAQUITO?!?!? Also roast beef on weck: beef on a roll with big flakes of salt and caraway seeds!
I'm from the midwest and was never a fan of midwest sushi but chili cheese dip also seems very midwestern: In an oven or microwave safe pan, dump a can of hormel chili (I prefer the kind with no beans), top with a packet of cream cheese, then top with two cups cheddar cheese, microwave or put in oven until cheese is melted. Serve with tortilla chips. Easy and always a hit!
I grew up in West Texas. I love kolaches! The fruit kind, the cheesy jalapeño sausage kind, any kind. Also love a good chili (beef no beans) with cornbread or fall-apart-delicious smoked brisket with peach cobbler and vanilla Bluebell ice cream for dessert.
Alabama orange rolls 🤤🤤🤤😋
A Louisville original — Benedictine. Named for Jennie Benedict, who was well known for her cooking & tea room back in the day. Benedictine is like a creamy cucumber spread and you can make sandwiches with it or just eat it like a dip. It’s kind of associated w the Derby because it’ll pop up all over town in the spring especially but you can get it anytime. Super tasty and refreshing and very Southern. Yummm! Here’s the alleged original recipe : https://www.courier-journal.com/story/entertainment/events/kentucky-derby/2018/04/25/benedictine-spread-louisville-recipe/547398002/
Cincinnati chili and buckeyes are two favorites from Ohio!
I'm a hybrid from Arizona, but raised in NC and live back in AZ for a while. Some of my favorites from NC are BLT w/ Pimento on Sourdough (thank you Merritt's in Chapel Hill), and fried grits (you save the leftover grits in a tall glass put in the fridge overnight, cut into grit cakes and fry on the stove the next day!) SW favorites: Green Chili Burro's and Tamales.
New Mexico-ish: Chicken posole (pozole?) soup is the ultimate comfort food in the winter but also somehow works with a margarita and pile of avocadoes in the summer. There are tons of recipes out there for red and green versions - the key is hominy which is an under appreciated pantry ingredient. I prefer the green version made with tomatillos ... if you want to be a sinner like me you can just dump in a jar of salsa verde!
I’m from Chicago but my partner is from Nebraska and has introduced me to cinnamon rolls with your chili. Apparently they even have this for school lunches there. It sounds like trash but I have to admit I’m a convert.
I grew in NJ but have lived in MA my whole adult life. NJ: pork roll, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwiches on a goooood bagel! Nobody does breakfast sandwiches quite like the tri-state area (NJ, NY, CT). New England: clam chowder and apple cider donuts (like someone else already mentioned!). I think breakfast in general is just done well up here—we've got great blueberries, apples, and syrup, and it's usually cold so you're in the mood for something cozy like pancakes or french toast :D
I’m from Texas (central and now Southeast) so my favorites are chili (no beans) especially in a Frito pie, Texas sheet cake (the chocolate one you pour hot icing on), and Tex-Mex (enchiladas, tacos, nachos, queso!)
I live in MA: clam chowder, fried clams, lobster rolls, steak tips, and hermit cookies!
I live on the coast of Maine. My Fave Regional specialties - crab cakes, lobster rolls, and haddock (sandwich, fish tacos, chowder). And blueberry pie!
New England (specifically NH) and EVERY single time I’m home I have to get marinated steak tips from the butcher. You really can’t get them anywhere else and they are just my love language. Some of these butchers have a case with like 8 different marinades displayed like you’re at a gelato shop or something. AH-mazing. I believe the technical name for steak tips is “flap meat” which just sounds terrible but I promise it’s the best summer grill feature
I'm from Tampa, FL which is such a fun melting pot of Cuban, Italian, and Southern culture/ cuisine. We're the home of the Cuban Sandwich (not Miami!) and I would say that sando and our 1905 Salad from the Columbia Restaurant are some of our best regional offerings here. The Columbia Restaurant opened in 1905 and is the oldest Spanish restaurant in the US. The dressing has Lea and Perrin's Worcestershire sauce in it and the salad is so popular here that the Columbia is the biggest restaurant consumer of Lea & Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce in the country. 10/10 would recommend for your salad club, Caroline!
From Louisiana, love jambalaya (Cajun not creole, don’t @ me), red beans and rice, pot roast with rice and gravy
Now we live in Maryland and love crabcakes (just a few crumbled up ritz crackers are the secret ingredient I’ve learned about since moving here), love chowder and have bastardized it with crawfish tails from home and a dash of crab boil added to the broth!
Central Valley of CA, although it farm land many get togethers growing up had Aram sandwiches. Traditionally made with Lavosh bread (Armenian cracker bread) slathered with cream cheese then topped with spinach and a deli meat, roast beef, turkey or ham. Some a pepper Jack cheese, chutney or jam for variety. Costco makes a knock off that just isn’t quite the same, I think they use a tortilla and call it pinwheels. Cookouts always had Portuguese grilled sausages in rolls.
Tomato Pie is amazing - would love for you to create a recipe (southern living has a great one from several years ago)
Virginia: Country (Smithfield) Ham Sandwiches, Pea Salad, Brunswick Stew, Boiled Peanuts, pan fried softshell Crabs
I live in Connecticut and my favorite regional foods are: clam chowder, warm buttered lobster rolls, whoopie pies, apple fritters and New Haven style pizza.
Southern California girl here - As is expected, I love all things that involve avocado and alllllll the Mexican food! Fish tacos!
Nashville here. Corn light bread (white cornmeal), chess pie, kinda like they do in TX, sweet tea punch, fudge pie with peppermint ice cream, and hot chicken, but that’s more of a recent trend. Great idea for a thread!
From the PNW, and there’s nothin more NW than a huge salmon filet on the grill. But the real secret is rockfish (shhh...). Real good in a taco. Also, cracking fresh Dungeness crab out on a patio on a sunny day, no need for crab cakes or any filler, just straight fresh crab. YUM!
In far upstate New York (like Plattsburgh area), it's a Glazier Michigan with. There's a brand of hot dogs called Glaziers, which are seasoned and have a hard, red coating. Michigan sauce on them (which is basically like chili without the beans), white onions (the "with"), and mustard - heavenly combination that screams summer.
I live in texas, and I LIVE for grasshopper pie- mint-chocolate, ice box pie with creme de menthe and marshmallow cream!
Hawaii here! Ummm..so may things. Loco Moco, poke, kalua pork. But then there’s so many dishes because we’re literally a mixed up pot of people. I’m Filipino, so popular potluck items would be pancit and lumpia, Korean would be kalbi...seriously too may to list!
This discussion would be a great basis for a cookbook proposal! The title could be something like “Modern America: Regional Favorites for Your Family”
From New Orleans, now live in Charlotte, NC -- I agree with all of the Louisiana friends on jambalaya, red beans and rice, pot roast and rice, but let me add: Grillades and Grits. It's a labor of love, but a must.
Pound thin either veal or steak, and cut into serving size pieces. Cook off a pound of bacon for all of that bacon grease (you will need it all because health...). Brown the meat in the bacon grease, set aside. Build a dark brown roux with more bacon grease and flour. Add your trinity -- onions, green onions, celery, green pepper, garlic. Add tomatoes, tarragon and thyme. Then add 1 cup water, 1 cup red wine, tabasco, worcester, bay leaves, and the meat.
Let it simmer forever. Serve over super healthy cheese grits. Chefs kiss!
From Ohio with family from WV/Pittsburgh- cookie tables at weddings, buckeyes, strawberry pretzel salad, and pepperoni rolls!
Springfield, Illinois girl over here! Our super popular local food is called a horseshoe — toasted bread topped with a protein if your choosing (hamburger, sliced turkey or ham, portobello mushroom, even pork tenderloin are all popular options — my go-to is bacon and tomato), covered with French fries and then smothered in cheese sauce. This part is very important — the cheese sauce is NOT AT ALL like a nacho cheese — it’s more subtle, almost sweet (the recipe I use calls for sherry). You can get a horseshoe (ponyshoe if you want a smaller size) at any restaurant in town, chain or otherwise, and you can get a breakfast horseshoe in the morning at most places — option to sub biscuits for the toast, replace the fries with hash browns and add sausage gravy along with the cheese sauce and it’s perfection.
ALSO locals are pretty sure we invented the corn dog (at a legendary local spot called Cozy Dog on Route 66, right when you enter town), and it may not be true but we will not give up our claim to it! Either way, the only place I want to eat a corn dog is in Springfield — they taste so much better.
Low Country boil is actually Frogmore Stew. My mom made amazing shrimp burgers but if you are a shrimp snob like my sister and I then they have to have been swimming somewhere between Charleston & Beaufort, SC. And boiled peanuts for the win.
What a fun thread! I’m from Chicago, and I really miss Chicago-style hot dogs, Polish pierogi - especially sauerkraut, kolaczki cookies, and the original Rainbow cone ice cream.
Maine Italian sandwiches! Ham, American cheese, pickles, green peppers, onions, black olives, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and oil on a roll. Or, as any out-of-stater calls it: vegetables on a hotdog bun.
I'm from Memphis, so BBQ reigns supreme! And any southern staple like the NC ones you mentioned! I love love soul food like fried chicken, mac & cheese, turnip greens, and cornbread! Yum!
I’m from New Mexico so carne adovada enchiladas, tamales (at Christmas especially) are the go to!
I’m from Louisiana and love jambalaya, gumbo, etouffee.
I’m from Pennsylvania and my favorites are: cheesesteaks, soft pretzels and PA Dutch chicken pot pie
Miami girl here— there is no other city that does Cuban food like Miami! I would consider this Region South Florida, aka Little Latin America. Arroz con pollo is a staple. It feeds a Cuban family—which if you know any Cubans is a BIG crowd. Even better as leftovers. Picadillo with rice and black beans . But my absolute favorite is Vaca frita, “fried cow”, with rice and beans and plátanos maduros. Yum! Cubans also love their breakfast. All the baked goods are delicious ,but try
Absolute favorite is pressed, buttered Cuban bread dipped in Cafe con leche! It truly rivals a buttered French baguette .
This South Texan seconds all the Texan comments here, but also submits... tamales and buñuelos (fried dough covered in cinnamon sugar) at Christmas. Nothing beats picking up your tamale order and eating one in the car with a cold Coke.
I'm from So Cal - Cali Burrito, carne asada fries or nachos, also, breakfast burritos (with refried beans, cheese, egg, bacon or sausage, pico, sour cream, and all the quac).
Late to the party but originally a Maryland girl. Crab cakes, whole crabs with Old Bay that you crack outside, usually in quasi darkness so you don't really know what's happening. Other summer foods: the snocone, best if it leaves your lips and tongue bright red or blue. The peppermint stick in a lemon!!
I’m from Saskatchewan, Canada. We have an amazing hash brown casserole side called Schwartzies potatoes. Absolutely delicious, and super simple to make. We usually have it at a potluck or at Easter with ham!!!
2 lbs frozen hash brown potatoes
2 cups sour cream
2-10 oz. cans mushroom soup
1/2 cup melted butter
grated onion to taste
salt to taste
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp. parmesan cheese
Thaw potatoes slightly. Mix potatoes, sour cream, mushroom soup, butter, onion, salt and cheddar cheese in a 9 x 13″ baking dish. Sprinkle parmesan on top and bake at 350F for 1 hour.
Mississippi: in addition to other southerner items above, banana pudding!!
FL girlie here- mango and fresh fish ceviche, cuban sandwiches with a good pickle, guava paste & cream cheese with crackers, key lime everything (I like doing marinades with leftover juice from pies!), smoked fish dip... all essentials!!!
PS can confirm another user's post that the 1905 salad is a central FL staple and is to die for. If you show up at an event with this in hand, you are going to be popular.
Oh man this is hard... family is from rural AL - I would say chilton county peaches in July (and fresh corn duh) and all the things that come from peach heaven - besides an obvious cobbler my mom likes to slice them super thinly and marinate in a splash of Grand Mariner, over Blue Bell vanilla of course... potato salad (similar to your deviled egg potato salad) and chicken salad, pound cake, company mac and cheese, dressing, and then hands down SQUASH CASSEROLE is a non negotiable for every holiday. I have a good tomato pie and peach pie recipe, and poppyseed chicken and chicken divan.
Also from Milwaukee: Bratwurst! Not exactly a challenge for a recipe developer but adding perfectly caramelized onions, sautéed-but-not-mushy peppers, and mustard paired with crispy oven-roasted potatoe wedges (or what the hell, cheese curds?) could be considered a work of art.