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The Regional Food Debate

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food,” George Bernard Shaw said.

I love bagels and I love pizza, but according to every New Yorker I’ve ever mentioned that to, I’ve “never had a real bagel or slice of pizza”. This is probably true, and since I have nothing to compare it to, I’ll just have to take their word for it.

I don’t know NY bagels or pizza but I know Texas brisket. If you laid out my DNA strand, you’d probably be able to detect some brisket emojis along the way, which brings me to my point…

The black char is seasoned fat that’s been rendered into crunchy goodness

I worked a catering event last night (in NC) and brisket was on the menu. Catering staff gets to eat the leftovers (homeless shelters here won’t accept food that has been on a buffet). I had already eaten when a co-worker who hadn’t, asked me how the brisket was. My honest response was that it was just okay, with the qualifier that my opinion was very biased as a 7th generation Texan. Texas brisket is customarily smoked for 12-24 hours until the fat edges congeal with the meat, and it melts in your mouth. Forks aren’t necessary if it’s done right. This brisket had good flavors but it was dry, and the fat hadn’t been rendered. It would not have received the Texas stamp of approval but that didn’t stop my co-worker from exclaiming that it was the best brisket he’d ever eaten.

I can’t explain it, but his proclamation made me cringe. I instantly wished I had a plate of chopped beef from Rudy’s Barbecue to shove in his face. I wanted him to know what I know, and I wanted it to be a taste bud revelation to him.

I’m embarrassed to admit this,but I actually lost a little sleep over the brisket incident.

I’m so far away from home but my roots are deep, and I’ll always identify as a Texan.

Regional foods are such an integral part of our backgrounds, even our identities.

Whether its New England Clam Chowder, Louisiana Jambalaya or Canadian Poutine, the foods that are native to our particular regions can cause pride to swell and connect us to home.

Which foods do you connect with your region? Which foods do you sorely miss (if transplanted)?

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14 thoughts on “The Regional Food Debate

  1. I totally get this! As a New Yorker I won’t eat a pizza/bagel in another city (I’ve never been to Chicago though!) and anytime I try I just wanna shake the pizzeria owner and tell them everything that’s wrong. This is a great post 🙂

  2. I grew up in Alberta, cattle country, and it is hard to beat an aged 30 days, grain fed piece of steak. There are some great steakhouses in Dubai, but I haven’t found one that compares yet.

  3. I’m from New England, so I’ll say that lobster or clam chowder would be what our regional food would be identified as. I don’t know if I’d sorely miss any of them. I identify more with my ethnic identity and would miss Italian food more. Great post, Kim!

    • Thanks Rob. I think it must be wonderful to be so connected to one’s ethnicity through food. I’m a total mutt, so Texas cuisine is the closest I’ll ever come to that identity!

  4. Well, as a native New Yorker, you got me at the bagels and pizza. Supposedly this is due to the water levels in NY making the bread just right. As for brisket, I don’t know much, but I am definitely open to you educating me!!

    • We can educate each other :). When I visited NY, I did so as a 20 yr. old tourist and ate at a restaurant that rhymes with Janet Mollywood (cringe). If I ever go back, I want to experience the real deal!

      • It’s been a long time since I’ve been in N.Y. but could probably at least steer you in the right direction. Yes, I know Janet Mollywood…she’s kind of a phony, heh, heh!

  5. I miss dulce de leche Kim!
    And any sweet pastry. Also I miss the bread, it tastes different. And my grandmother’s polenta and artichokes 🙂 (and eggplants, and seasoned black olives and gnocchi and soy schnitzel!!).
    I could keep writing… 🙂

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