Dressing or stuffing? Pumpkin or sweet potato pie? Brine, baste, roast or deep-fry the bird? What you consider to be the “correct” answer to these and other culinary questions about our nation’s annual Thanksgiving feast depend largely on where you live.
“I'll have what she's having” is arguably one of the most recognized lines in movie history. Rob Reiner and Nora Ephron's 1989 “When Harry Met Sally” humorously explores the difference between men and woman and whether or not they can really be friends. Sally, played by Meg Ryan, is depicted as a picky eater who wants things the way she wants them. She's eating a deli sandwich in the classic scene, proof that movie food scenes layer theme into cuisine.
“Have a rice day” is the greeting you'll get in Crowley, Louisiana. Rice has reigned in this self-proclaimed “rice capital” of the Cajun prairie since the late 1800s. Crowley's rice history goes back to the completion of the railroad, which led to the sale of abundant prairie land rich for growing the crop. Several advances in equipment, technology and plant varieties all led to the grain prospering in this region of Southwest Louisiana. Rice fields still dot the landscape today.
The mention of Lubbock usually raises questions on where the city is located; even the fact that it is in the state of Texas typically garners curious looks. It may be overshadowed by many of the bigger, more popular cities in the nation’s second-largest state, but it’s a foodie travel destination worth notice. This southwestern gem has a surprisingly long history of agriculture as well as food and wine to sample.
Combine engaging travel with hearty, satisfying comfort food at a chuck wagon cook-off—it’s a tasty way to experience one culinary element of the iconic American West’s cowboy/cattleman culture. Dozens of chuck wagon cooking competitions, or cook-offs, take place every year; most occur in western states though they can be found throughout the U.S. According to native Texan and amateur historian Roger Edison, the chuck wagon was invented in 1866 by Texan Charles Goodnight, a rancher trying to find a way to keep his cowboys well-fed during cattle drives that sometimes lasted several months. Goodnight rigged a sturdy army surplus wagon with a large upright wooden pantry box and a hinged door with hinged legs that could be laid flat to serve as a food preparation table. It proved to be an effective way to hold and transport barrels of bulk foodstuffs and other supplies.
Named one of the “25 Most Influential Cocktail Personalities of the Past Century,” Jeff “Beachbum” Berry has written six books on vintage tiki drinks and cuisine, co-created the app Total Tiki for iPad and iPhone, is the owner of tiki bar Latitude 29 in New Orleans, and sells a line of tiki barware with Cocktail Kingdom. If that's not enough, his cocktail recipes have been printed in publications around the world, and it's safe to say he's an expert on rum.
A delectable dish, a fine vintage, and attentive service are all elements that can turn a lunch or dinner into a memorable meal. Add a dash of romantic ambience, and the dining experience moves into the realm of exquisite. In many cities, one restaurant captures that combination perfectly because of an unparalleled feature: It sits atop a hotel, an office building or a landmark where the vistas are a key amenity.
It’s not a big exaggeration to say that the history of barbecue mirrors the history of the United States of America. Both stories include regional rivalries, immigrant contributions, arguments that pit brother against brother yet ultimately come together in an understanding of how our differences make us stronger.
When it comes to regional food, arguably no part of the United States is more evocative than the American South. When someone says, “Southern food,” images of fried chicken, shrimp & grits, pecan pie and/or country ham spring to mind and can immediately make your mouth water.
Back in 20th century America, when life was slow and small towns looked like Norman Rockwell paintings, families flocked to their local butcher. The shops eventually died out by the end of the century, a victim of the modern world’s need for speed and convenience, but they are making a comeback, thanks in part to the popularity of high-protein diets. This time around, however, the farm-to-table movement has given rise to a new breed of butcher shop/restaurant, with chefs breaking down the animal themselves. This trend is sweeping the country, but arguably no place is doing it better than the Magnolia State of Mississippi, where several culinary artists are carving and cooking cows, chickens and more to foodies’ delight.