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Here's a sampling of traditional Cuisine of the United States - meat recipes, dessert recipes, and dozens more.
This page outlines at least one interesting culinary specialty associated with each state.
Excite your appetite with these vivid descriptions, detailed recipes, and juicy photos. Learn about United States culture with hundreds of fascinating food facts. Visit all 50 states from the comfort of your own kitchen.
Simply scroll down for a mouth-watering view of the entire USA.
Alabama’s First Lady Patsy Riley has a unique collection of family recipes that include HOT HAM DIP, BAKED ORANGES and PECAN PIE MUFFINS. These recipes (available on her website) have been handed down through many generations, as her family came to Alabama over 130 years ago.
The Inupiat Eskimos in Barrow, Alaska celebrate spring every year by catching a bowhead whale. During the celebration, a whaling crew serves whale meat and blubber fermented in its own blood.
Click here for a review of the taste of Whale meat, followed by a simple recipe for Baked Whale.
The Saguaro Cactus blossom Arizona's official state flower. The sweet, red fruits of this cactus are edible, and are often used to make jam. Almost any recipe that calls for jam can be made using Saguaro Cactus jam.
Fish Frys are a favorite summer activity in Little Rock. Click here to see an easy recipe for Arkansas Fried Catfish.
California is world famous for its wineries, especially those in the Napa and Sonoma valleys. Dozens of guided tour packages include transportation, winery tours, wine tasting, and food.
See this link for top California Culinary Schools and a few words about California wines.
There are 89 licensed elk farms in Colorado, where over 5,000 elk are raised for their meat. Elk meat is not only low in fat, but also a good source of iron, phosphorous, zinc and protein.
Go here to learn all about the Colorado Culinary Arts Scene and How to Eat an Elk.
Connecticut has a thriving apple industry, and every year the Connecticut Fair Association holds a major Apple Pie Contest, along with other competitions featuring unique apple recipes. Click here for an Award Winning Apple Pie Recipe from a recent Connecticut State Fair.
Authentically local Delaware cooking is hard to find. But no animal is more a part of Delaware’s culture than the muskrat, also known as the Delaware marsh rabbit.
Try these Popular Delaware Muskrat Recipes.
Florida’s sunny climate produces the best of many culinary worlds. The state is particularly renowned for its shellfish (especially blue crabs), and citrus fruits (the sweetest oranges anywhere), as well as more tropical flavors like coconut, guava and wild ginger. Florida residents are quite proud of the many exotic down home recipes featuring locally grown food.
If you’re in Florida, drink plenty of fresh squeezed orange juice. Of course you can buy this elsewhere, but it will be neither as fresh nor as unbelievably sweet as it is when you visit a Florida orange grove at harvest time. The photo above shows sweet, tangy Florida Temple oranges.
Blue crabs, another Florida culinary specialty, are mouth-watering when steamed whole and served with lemon butter. They’re also great served cold with cocktail sauce. Their flavor is sweet and mild with a moist texture not unlike stone crabs.
Go here for a List of Citrus Fruits
Georgia is famous for a sweet crunchy onion called the Vidalia onion. Other local foods include Peaches, Peanuts, and Pecans. Hit this link to experience authentic local cuisine and find the best Cooking Schools in Georgia.
Partly because of its tropical location, Hawaii has the tastiest, freshest, most tender sushi to be found anywhere in the USA. So if you’re in Hawaii, be sure to try the sushi.
That being said, let’s talk about taro, a traditional Hawaiian staple food. Taro is a vegetable similar in texture to a potato, although a bit richer, with a purplish hue and a slightly sweeter taste. Like potatoes, taro is a versatile vegetable that can be prepared in many different ways.
At the risk of being too obvious, it’s hard to discuss authentic Idaho cuisine without mentioning the Russet-Burbank, a large, hardy potato with a rugged, netted skin.
Considered by many to be the most perfect baking potato, the Russet-Burbank is known for its high starch content and low moisture. The result is a dry, fluffy baked potato with a thick, crunchy skin. It also produces the crispiest French fries.
Illinois grows LOTS of white soybeans, a very low-fat, high-protein food. The Illinois Center for Soy Foods has created recipes that allow easy inclusion of soy products into the American diet. Look here for an Easy Tofu Stir Fry Recipe.
The state of Indiana features many traditional Casserole Recipes. Some of these have been passed down for generations. Click here for an easy Sweet Potato Apple Casserole Recipe.
About 90 percent of Iowa's land is dedicated to farming, and the state grows corn in great quantities. Much of its economy is based on the production of corn and corn byproducts, like popcorn, corn oil, corn syrup, cornmeal, cornstarch, and animal feed.
But just in case corn doesn’t excite you enough, the Entomology Department at Iowa State University has a website devoted to “tasty” insect treats like BANANA WORM BREAD, CICADA SUNDAES and CHOCOLATE COVERED GRASSHOPPERS. They're not kidding, either.
These people have appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Visit their website for recipes, nutritional info and other sordid details.
Try these Chocolate Covered Grasshoppers, for instance.
If you’ve never tasted Buffalo meat, try it in Kansas. The state is known for its top quality red meats, and buffalo (a.k.a. bison) is a local favorite.
Bison tastes very much like beef, and makes an excellent substitute in any beef recipe. But buffalo has less fat (marbling), which creates a richer flavor and smoother consistency of texture. Buffalo is quite tender and not at all gamey. It’s been said that buffalo is what beef SHOULD taste like.
Bourbon whiskey is named after Bourbon County, Kentucky, where it was first brewed in the late 18th century. Here's an authentic down home Kentucky Bourbon recipe:
OLD KENTUCKY BOURBON BALLS
1 cup finely crushed vanilla wafers (about 22)
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. Cocoa
1 cup grated pecans
1-1/2 Tbsp. white corn syrup
1/4 cup Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
Crush wafers into fine crumbs
Mix with sugar, cocoa and pecans.
Dissolve syrup in Bourbon and add to wafer mix.
Mix well and form inot balls about 1" in diameter.
Roll balls in powdered sugar.
Store in a sealed container.
Best when aged for 48 hours.
Louisiana, having more miles of ocean shoreline than any other mainland state, is very proud of its seafood.
Visit this link to learn how to make Fried Alligator, and a Recipe for Creole Seasoning.
Still hungry? Click this link for a Popular New Orleans Dessert recipe!
Maine is famous for the biggest, freshest, juiciest, most flavorful lobsters on earth, and lobster festivals are popular throughout the state. Here's an easy recipe for fresh Steamed Maine Lobster.
Maryland prides itself on serving the finest crab cakes in the United States. Crab cakes can be served as an appetizer, entree or on a sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and pickles. Condiments can include cocktail sauce, tartar sauce, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.
Try this outstanding Recipe for Maryland Crab Cakes.
Back in the day, Boston had tons of beans, because they were so easy to grow, store and cook. Boston also had tons of molasses, because sugar and molasses were imported in great quantities from the West Indies.
Hit this link for an authentic Massachusetts recipe called Boston Baked Beans.
Starting around Labor Day, Michigan produces huge quantities of apple cider. Here’s how to make your own authentic hot spiced apple cider, the way it’s traditionally made in Michigan on a freezing winter night:
MICHIGAN APPLE CIDER
1 gallon freshly pressed apple cider
20 whole cloves
1 tsp. allspice
1 washed orange
3 long cinnamon sticks (10 to 12 inches each, or broken pieces to equal)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
Stick whole cloves into orange.
Place allspice and brown sugar in a cheesecloth bag or large tea ball. If you don't have cheesecloth or a tea ball, you can add the spice and sugar to a coffee filter and gather around, securing with a rubber band.
Pour cider into stock pot and add other ingredients.
Bring to boil, then simmer for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Minnesota is well known for an abundance of wild rice, which, according to at least one website, isn’t really rice at all, but an aquatic cereal grain. You can find excellent wild rice recipes that are authentically Minnesota by clicking here:
Mississippi has about a hundred pecan groves statewide.
Click here for an authentic, local pecan recipe from Mississippi, traditionally called Mississippi Mud Pie.
Here's a list of foods unique to (or popularized in) St. Louis:
Prosperity sandwich - Open face turkey, ham, bacon, melted cheese and a cream sauce.
Pork Steaks - Pork butt sliced as a steak, often Bar-B-Qued
The Concrete - Ted Drewes Frozen Custard (Ice Cream) mixed with candy, fruit, and/or nuts.
The Slinger - Typically two eggs, hash browns, a hamburger patty all covered in chili.
Provel ™ cheese - Developed as a shelf-stable cheese often found as topping for St. Louis style Pizza.
St. Louis style Pizza - A thin crusted pizza with Provel ™ Cheese, round and cut into squares.
St. Paul Sandwich - Egg foo young, lettuce, tomato, and pickle on white bread.
Brain Sandwich - Exactly that.
Whistle and Howdy (2 soft drinks)
Rocky Mountain oysters, also known as prairie oysters, cowboy caviar, and swinging beef, are not really oysters at all. You WISH they were oysters. They are actually calves’ testicles. Hit this link to see an easy Recipe for Rocky Mountain Oysters.
Nebraska raises a lot of turkeys. Click here for a basic and versatile turkey stuffing recipe, along with an award winning Turkey Bake Recipe from a recent Nebraska State Fair:
Soft shell pine nuts are brought to you from Nevada's Sierra Mountains. They're actually not nuts at all, but seeds from pine trees.
Here's an authentic Recipe for Pine Nut Cookies from Nevada:
New Hampshire boasts an abundance of traditional recipes. For example, try these Two Satisfying Culinary Creations.
New Jersey has more diners than any other state, and is often referred to as the “Diner Capital of the World.” Here's a long standing recipe from a popular New Jersey diner:
NEW JERSEY STYLE TUNA MELT
2 (6 ounce) cans solid white tuna in water, drained
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
3/4 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 pinch salt
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
4 slices seedless rye bread
8 slices ripe tomato
8 slices Swiss cheese
paprika, for garnish
Preheat the oven broiler.
In a bowl, mix the tuna, mayonnaise, celery, onion, parsley, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
Place the rye bread slices on a baking sheet, and broil 1 minute in the preheated oven, until lightly toasted.
Remove from heat, and spread with the tuna salad.
Place 1 cheese slice over the tuna salad on each piece of bread, layer with a tomato slice, and top with remaining cheese slices.
Return layered bread to the preheated oven, and broil 3 to 5 minutes, until cheese is melted.
New Mexico has a unique cuisine of its own, with red and green chile peppers at its heart. Click here for Authentic New Mexico Recipes.
New Yorkers take their pizza so seriously that many of us who move out of state just stop eating pizza altogether.
Visit this link for a list of the Best Cooking Schools in New York State.
Lexington, North Carolina, is known as the Barbecue Capital of the World, and the state is famous for it's barbecue sauce. See this link for an authentic North Carolina Barbecue Sauce Recipe, plus a list of North Carolina's Best Cooking Schools.
North Dakota grows more sunflowers than any other state. Here’s a Sunflower Pie Recipe created by Alice Scranson of the Sunflower Cafe in Grace City. This pie is described as very rich with a pecan pie-like flavor and texture. This versatile recipe can also be made with pumpkin seeds.
Each year, the Oklahoma Wheat Commission hosts the Annual Wheatheart Bread Baking Contest at the Oklahoma State Fair, and promotes the utilization of wheat by publishing award winning recipes in the Oklahoma's Best Breads cookbook series. The following recipe for dinner rolls won first place in 2005.
2 packages active dry yeast
1½ c. warm water
¼ tsp. sugar
2 c. warm milk
¼ c. melted butter
½ c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs, beaten
6-6½ c. flour
Dissolve yeast in ½ cup warm water.
Add ¼ tsp. sugar. Let sit a few minutes.
Heat milk, butter, ½ cup sugar and salt; stir together well.
Pour into large bowl, add yeast mixture, eggs and blend well.
Add 2 cups flour; blend well.
Add additional flour one cup at a time until soft dough forms.
Add remaining flour one cup at a time until dough can be handled.
Knead until dough is smooth and elastic. P
lace in large greased bowl in warm place until double in size.
Punch down, divide in half. Form into desired shape.
Cover with towel, let rise again until double.
Bake at 400º for 12-15 minutes.
This recipe features the Filbert, Oregon’s official state nut.
OREGON FILBERT COOKIES
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups minus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 squares semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 dozen filbert nuts, toasted and skinned
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in egg and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, and baking soda.
Add flour mixture to the butter mixture in thirds, beating in well after each addition.
Stir in chocolate.
Shape into 1 inch balls with lightly floured fingers.
Place on a greased cookie sheet.
Press a filbert into each cookie.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Let cool and serve.
Store in an airtight tin.
Pennsylvania is strongly associated with Philly Cheese Steaks and soft pretzels.
If you visit the area, be sure to try both.
A Philly cheese steak is a juicy pile of steaming, thinly sliced beef with melted mozzarella cheese & sautéed onions on a hero roll. For optimal taste and perfection of texture, this sandwich must be made and eaten in or around Philadelphia.
Soft pretzels are especially good when served warm with yellow mustard on a brisk autumn day in Philadelphia, and eaten while still standing near the cart of one of many sidewalk pretzel vendors.
The Official State Drink of Rhode Island is COFFEE MILK, a beverage created by mixing milk with coffee syrup. This unique syrup was invented in Rhode Island, and is bottled and sold in most local supermarkets.
Rhode Island also has its own version of clam chowder, which has a clear broth and lots of fresh, juicy, tender Quahog clams. Try this easy, authentic recipe for Rhode Island Clam Chowder.
Sylvia’s Family Soul Food Cookbook, by Sylvia Woods of Hemingway, includes a recipe for raccoon. According to Sylvia, it tastes “a little bit like dried pork, although maybe stronger.” It’s said to be great over rice, or made into sandwiches. The bad news is that raccoon is not sold in stores, so you have to catch your own.
Pheasant hunting is a popular tradition in South Dakota. Dakota Wildwings Lodge has a website featuring some of their favorite fresh pheasant recipes. Here's an easy regional Recipe for Roasted Pheasant.
Tennessee is the home of Jack Daniels Whiskey. Jack is a key ingredient for many interesting, authentic Tennessee recipes, including JD Whiskeyballs and JD Pecan Pie. However, many Jack Daniels enthusiasts prefer to bypass the recipes and enjoy the key ingredient directly. These folks might also enjoy the Rocky Mountain Oysters.
The official state plant of Texas is the edible Prickly Pear Cactus. The pads of the cactus are used in salads, soups, tacos, or just cooked on the grill for a zesty side dish.
The sweet, red fruit of the Prickly Pear is used to make jellies, pies, dried snack foods, dessert toppings and cocktails.
Click here for Cooking Schools in Texas and How to Make Cactus Tacos.
Utah is associated with Mormons, and Mormons shun alcoholic beverages. This led to the invention of a locally popular product called Apple Beer, a non-alcoholic variant of a German beverage called fassbrause.
Apple Beer is produced by The Apple Beer Corporation in Salt Lake City, and is used in many recipes, such as APPLE BEER BBQ PORK CHOPS and APPLE BEER GRAVY & MEATBALLS. Some brave souls even drink the stuff straight.
Vermont is, of course, known for its maple products. Here's sweet cooking idea, compliments of the Vermont Maple Foundation. Try this recipe for Stuffed French Toast.
What could be more authentically Virginian than the following fascinating recipes from a 19th century Virginia housewife named Mary Randolph? Seems like Mary was cooking for a crowd! You might want to divide all ingredients in half (or even in quarters) to make smaller quantities.
THE HENRIETTA PUDDING
1 lb. sugar
1 pint cream
1 lb. flour
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 c. brandy
Beat six eggs very light.
Sift into them a pound of sugar, and a light pound of flour, with half a grated nutmeg, and a glass of brandy;
Beat all together very well.
Add a pint of cream.
Pour it in a deep dish, and bake it.
When done, sift some powdered sugar over it.
1 lb. sugar
2 lb. flour
1 tbs. ground coriander
3/4 lb. butter
1/2 c. brandy
Mix a pound of sugar, with two pounds of flour, and a large spoonful of pounded coriander seeds.
Sift them togather.
Add three quarters of a pound of melted butter, six eggs, and a gill of brandy.
Knead it well, roll it thin, cut it in shapes, and bake without discoloring [browning] it.
Everyone knows about the Washington apples. But Washington is also renowned for its sweet cherries and pears. For a true taste of Washington, try one of these succulent local fruit recipes:
CHERRIES, AMARETTO, SOUR CREAM & BROWN SUGAR
1 1/2 lbs fresh cherries (leave any stems on)
1/2 pint light sour cream
3-4 tablespoons Amaretto
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
Mix sour cream and Amaretto. Add more Amaretto to taste if needed.
If desired, add powdered sugar to mixture.
Place cherries in dessert glasses, with a dollop of sour cream mixture on top.
Place brown sugar into a small "dipping" dish.
Dip cherries in sour cream and then the brown sugar.
4 c. sliced pears
1 c. orange juice
6 T. honey
2 - 3 T. finely chopped candied ginger
Combine all ingredients, mixing gently.
Spoon into chilled dessert glasses.
Makes 5 servings.
Here's an authentic West Virginia recipe using locally grown ingredients:
WEST VIRGINIA BLACKBERRY CAKE
2 C. sugar
1 C. softened butter
3 C. flour
1 t. each ground cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 C. buttermilk
1 1/2 C. fresh blackberries
1 C. softened butter
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
3 T. cold coffee
Cream sugar and butter until fluffy.
Beat eggs and add to creamed mixture, beating well.
Combine flour, spices, baking soda and baking powder; whisk well.
Add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, in three additions each, beating until smooth.
Fold in berries.
Pour batter into three greased and floured, 8-inch-round layer pans.
Bake at 350°F. for 30 minutes, or until the top springs back when gently touched.
Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.
Stack layers, filling and frosting with icing.
To make icing, combine softened butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and cold coffee. Beat until smooth, adding only as much coffee as necessary to achieve a spreading consistency.
Wisconsin cuisine is heavily influenced by its German roots, and is also the biggest producer of cheese in the US. So it's not too surprising that Wisconsin’s authentic cheese recipes have a distinctively rich German flair. Sink your teeth into these, for instance:
WISCONSIN CHEDDAR APPLE CRISP
4 cups crisp, tart apples, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 plus 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed, divided
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
4 ounces Wisconsin Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine apples, lemon juice and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Arrrange in a buttered 8- or 9-in. square pan.
Combine dry ingredients and cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.
Gently mix in cheese. Sprinkle evenly over apple mixture.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. Garnish with shredded cheese.
WISCONSIN COLBY JACK & HAM PANINI
1/4 cup of apricot jam
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
8 slices marbled rye bread
8 slices Wisconsin Colby Jack Cheese
8 slices deli ham
1/4 cup red onions, sliced
Spray canola oil
Combine jam and mustard and spread evenly on four slices of the bread.
Top each of these slices with one slice of Colby Jack, two slices of ham, 1/4 of the onions and one more slice of Colby Jack.
Close the sandwiches with the remaining slices of bread and spray lightly on both sides with the spray oil.
Grill sandwich in a non-stick fry pan for a minute.
Makes 4 servings
Here’s a wonderful recipe from the Porch Swing Bed & Breakfast in Cheyenne. It’s featured in their excellent cookbook called Breakfast and More:
1 pound sausage
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1 cup grits
2 tablespoons butter
2 large eggs
2 cups shredded cheese
1 can (7 ounces) diced green chilies
½ cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
Cook sausage, crumble.
Combine sausage, garlic, and Tabasco. Set aside.
Cook grits in 4 cups water according to package directions.
Combine sausage, grits, butter, eggs, cheese, and chilies.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees (F) for 40-45 minutes.
Sprinkle with red bell pepper and cilantro.
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