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What regional foods do people just get wrong?

I am from Philly and my biggest pet peeve are all of the abonomations that they I see called a Philly cheesesteak. A true Philly cheesesteak is thin sliced steak, possibly onions, cheese (american or whiz) on a crusty roll. Done. Why does every "Philly" cheesesteak I see advertised have peppers onions and sauce on it? That is not even close. And don't get me started on other cheese -swiss, mozarella, cheddar. I have even seen roast beef and cheddar sandwiches called a Philly cheesesteak. The worst is the new hot pockets Philly cheesesteak. Ugh.

Does this happen to any other regional foods?

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  1. I think i might have seen some roast beef and cheddar sandwiches being passed off as Philly cheesesteaks around here (Dallas).

    1 Reply
    1. re: iluvtennis

      yeah I used to work at a subshop that actually made great Phillies, and cooked our own roast beef. Some people would get confused and think we used the RB for the Phillies. There are also places around here that do it that way. It's not a philly if it's chopped up roast beef it's just a hot rb and cheese.

    2. New England clam chowder you could cut with a knife.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tatamagouche

        Ooh, that is such a pet peeve of mine.

      2. BBQ
        Growing up in Canada, my family 'barbecued' almost every summer weekend. I soon discovered that it was simple grilling. (BBQ has since become a passion)
        OK, it may be more a case of a misnomer, but I could understand how a true barbecuer's hair would bristle when hearing how a northener 'barbecues'...
        or simply slather KC Masterpiece on meat, cook, and call it BBQ...

        It seems a few years back, cajun was all the rage, but most people didn't have a clue. Want a cajun chicken? Just sprinkle cajun seasoning on it before cooking (whether roasting, frying, grilling, or smoking - don't matter)
        Want cajun shrimp? Just sprinkle some of Emiril's Essence and VOOOila.
        Well, you get the idea.
        I have an interest in cajun/creole/bayou cooking, and perhaps only an inkling on the multitude of nuances involved, but c'mon, I don't think that chicken burger in Nebraska is cajun just cause the short order cook slapped a paprika/chile spice blend on it...

        And on a wider note, many, many ethnic cuisine restaurants who dumb down the flavors for 'north american tastes'.
        OK, I can understand in some instances where small restaurants have to do this for a limited clientele. But when I ask for a spicy dish 'like I had in Mexico' or 'Thailand' or wherever, the cooks are most always timid.
        C'mon, if the traditional dish is supposed to make me sweat, well then bring it on!

        6 Replies
        1. re: porker

          I've realized that in the UK and Australia, grilling is referred to as BBQ (and there's that cliche Ausiie-ism of "throwing it on the barbie"), but then again, they call the broiler the grill, and also don't have American barbecue, so it may be that this is for semantic clarity.

          1. re: Caitlin McGrath


            Do not worry, In the US the words barbeque and BBQ have totally different meanings. Take South Carolina for instance - the term BBQ had different connotations and recipes. Though a "son of the Old South," I have to get qualification when these terms come up.

            In really, really general terms, BBQ (and all variations) usually mean some form of slow cooking - almost smoking of meats. Some areas use sauces at various points in the prep. Gilling is cooking over a fire on some sort of "grill," but might encompass different protiens and sauses, or no sauces.

            Just like another thread on the NOLA board, regarding "snowballs," the nomenclature can differ from state to state, and even region to region within those states.

            I do not blame you, especially as you are "looking in." Now, some take this with great seriousness, while others are not such sticklers.

            What were we talking about?


          2. re: porker

            Yep... I think things like this are why so many people say "I don't like _____." It's amazing how many things that are outright bad get perpetrated for perpetuity. Take Cajun. A good Cajun dinner gets replicated into a bad one and the bad one pervasively becomes what's known as Cajun to many people - and they still eat it, a vague memory of something they've never experienced.

            1. re: Cinnamon

              Paul Prudhomme once referred ruefully to bad "Cajun" restaurant fare as "burned fish with a whole lot of red pepper on it."

            2. re: porker

              Agree with you on "barbecue" versus "grilling." In my neck of the woods, a hamburger is not barbecue. Barbecue refers to smoked meat, preferably doused with a sweet tomatoey sauce. But I understand barbecue can raise a lot of controversy depending on what part of the country one is from (or what other countries). No way can fish be barbecue--that is unless your shrimp or salmon have a nice sweet-smokey rub.

            3. Having lived in the Philadelphia area my entire life (4 years out for USAF), I have to tell you, AmblerGirl, that sauce has been around for a long time! I recall going to a place called Berry's in South Philly, where my parents were from, (I think it was at 4th & Jackson but I'm not sure) and getting a cheesesteak with sauce & fried onions and a black-and-white shake. It has to have been 40+ years ago and I can still recall the taste. But, I agree with you about other places. I've been in just about every major city in the US and just about everyone has someone who's selling "Philly Cheesesteaks" that bear no resemblance to what you and I know are the real deal. One other thing - you really need an Amoroso roll to make it authentic!

              4 Replies
              1. re: bucksguy14

                Isn't imitation supposed to be the most sincere form of flattery? Everyone wants to be like Rocky & chow down on a cheesesteak while running up and down those Art Museum steps.

                I'll show my age here.

                When my dad was in pharmacy school in Philly (and my mom in nursing school), they used to take friends to Pat's for steak sandwiches after an evening of festivities (ie. drinking). This was in the late 30's. To hear my dad tell it, Pat's used to have fishbowl-like containers outside with condiments for your sandwiches. There were two bowls of red sauce; one was tomato sauce, not unlike a pizza/pasta sauce, and the other was a hot pepper sauce. You might well guess where the cheesesteak virgins were directed. Go ahead, slather it on! Much laughing, much sputtering, and much pain the morning after! There is a joke my dad used to tell with the punchline "come on, ice cream!", but that story's for another day.

                I think that the reason regional foods get bastardized is that cuisines are continually morphing. Now that TV has opened viewers' eyes to the enormous varieties of ethnic & regional cuisines, home chefs are exposed to things they've never seen before. Savvy marketers pick up on that & play to the trend. Unfortunately, that means creating products that have a better shelf life or have a spice level Joe Lunchbox can accept. If I can't visit San Francisco, I can at least serve my family "Rice-a-roni, that San Francisco treat". I can experience Poland by serving frozen pierogis; pass for a Southerner by ordering a "sweet tea" at my fast food place; be Rocky by eating a cheeseteak Hot Pocket. Is the thing you get at Subway remotely close to a Philadelphia Hoagie?

                Come to think of it, sometimes the morphing of a regional;/ethnic dish creates something new & different. Didn't Italian pasta morph from the Chinese noodles Marco Polo brought back?

                I think the worst "Real Philly Cheesesteak" I ever had was a slab of meat stuck into a soft long roll & smothered in ketchup at the Mall of America in Minnesota. Bleh. Gack. Hey, those Minnesotans/Wisconsinians are the people who also bring you fried cheese curds. We Philadelpians have morphed THOSE into fried mozarella sticks......

                1. re: bucksguy14

                  OK, OK I hear ya on the sauce. I grew up in Philly and never was into the sauce thing, I considered that more of a pizza steak. I went to school in Reading and the cheesesteaks out there had sauce and came on a soft roll! It remionded me of a sloppy joe. To me, it was heresy!

                  For me, whiz and Amoroso rolls all the way!

                  1. re: AmblerGirl

                    Albright was not the center of Philly CS, give me a Philly pork sandwich instead. Went to college in Allentown and Philly CS were not a part of the local scene. Yakko's rule!

                2. What an awesome post! I agree about the cheesesteak. For awhile some national pizza chains were doing cheesesteak pizzas. Groan. And chopped and formed steaks for cheesesteaks. Shudder. I'm from the Philly area too and you can request sauce in some places but most people don't. Agree about the barbecuing too. I'm a Yank but I spent time in Raleigh NC and Gainesville FL and what an eye (and mouth) opener that was! Around PA barbecued beef is like a sloppy joe, always made with hamburger and canned manwich or something. The horror! But at least I have great true cheesesteaks to console me with. I lived in Miami Fl for awhile and got desperate enough to drive fourty five minutes in Miami traffic to get a cheesesteak somewhere. What was I thinking? Oh and what about pizza? I only thought I was eating good pizza until I got a tomato pie from Trenton NJ. Ruined me for life. That reminds me it's time for a road trip!

                  1. Buffalo Wings. I am not from Buffalo, but I know a good BW when I see it. But so many places advertise 'Buffalo Wings', - chicken wings that are deep fried and tossed in a Frank's/Butter/Vinegar mixture - but the wings come out breaded, or the sauce is way off, or they are baked; these are great 'hot wings' or wings in general, but you can't call them Buffalo Wings!!!

                    18 Replies
                    1. re: LOTW

                      Have a friend who likes 'boneless buffalo wings'. Being a friend, I politely look the other way and keep my mounth shut as waves of contempt wash over me.


                      Of course its boneless, cause its a mass of formed chicken parts, breaded, flash frozen and shipped to this sorry drinking establishment we find ourselves in.

                      A wing is supposed to be a WING, the contrasting pieces of the drummette and flap, the enjoyment of gnawing at the bone, the satisfaction of geting bits of meat outta the nooks and crannies...
                      Why call it buffalo and why call it a wing.

                      Only thing they almost get right is 'boneless', then only most of the time cause it mechanically seperated meat, leaving behind bits of bone here and there...

                      1. re: porker

                        I'm from Buffalo, and I can't eat wings anywhere else. They seems so easy, but apparently they're not! I always have people telling me "These are the BEST wings!" and dragging me to some place like BW3's...yuck!

                        My other addition to this list would be Gumbo. I lived in Cajun Country (southcentral Louisiana) for a while, where they make real gumbo with a deep roux...never see that anywhere else!

                        1. re: bflocat

                          I agree on both points, especially cajun food, and gumbo in particular.

                          I cringe whenver I read on the Chicago board someone raving, and recommending Heaven on 7 as "the best cajun food ever". I luckily have a local source out where I live, a good ol' boy from Louisiana, who has a small cajun restaurant, he makes weekely trips down to cajun country for ingredients for the menu. His roux is as dark as dark chocolate, and makes everything from scratch daily.

                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                              LOL! I recently taught our bread bakers to make kimmelwick rolls. A customer of mine is from western NY, as I am originally. I grew up on Buffalo wings and beef on weck. Anyway, the customer went home for a visit and brought back a bottle of "authentic Kimmelweck secret ingredients" to top a plain hard roll before baking. I laughed myself sick when the bakers investigated this small bottle (6 oz for $3.99) that has the mysterious ingredients of kosher salt and caraway seeds. Snort. Anyway, my bakers now bake them for this customer. They hold "Buffalo night" at their small club every few weeks and feature beef on weck.

                              Anyway, my boss is now a fan and we order a couple of dozen once in awhile for him and his wife, and I take a half-dozen for myself. Nobody in this area has ever heard of them! Love them.

                              1. re: Catskillgirl

                                So, ummm, is this a regional food gone wrong gone right?

                                1. re: DockPotato

                                  Ummmm, got a little OT there, sorry! It's a regional food being introduced to a new population who isn't wildly enthusiastic for some reason. :-)

                                  1. re: Catskillgirl

                                    Just pity the soul that does not know bee on weck; the real Buffalo treat. Go Anchor Bar!

                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                      Am I the only one that noticed that part of what makes a Philly cheesesteak and a Buffalo beef on a weck great is a bun *THAT ACTUALLY HAS SOME TEXTURE*? I'm so tired of eating anything - from burgers to hot dogs to subs/hoagies/whatever - on various pieces of white cotton candy masquerading as bread. I want a roll with some crunch on the crust, and some depth to the dough. It makes me laugh when I go into a Subway or Quizno (not that I do either very often), and they ask me "What type of bread would you like?". I always answer "What does it matter?". None have any consistency, and all could be easily gummed by someone who'd forgotten their dentures at home.

                                      We have a local Italian bakery that has a steam table. When I want a veal sandwich, they let me pick my own roll, and I always go for a Calabrese bun - a real crust, and a tough, dense crumb that gets just right when it soaks up the tomato sauce. That's good eats!

                                      What makes San Francisco sandwiches so great? Fantastic sour dough. What's a part of NY deli? Decent, substantial rye. Let's all resurrect decent bread and shun the gummers' brands.

                                      1. re: KevinB

                                        Mmm...chicken wings. As a born and bred Buffalonian, I grew up on beef on weck and chicken wings. I have had some decent wings from other places, but those were at the annual chicken wing festival...so it's only the best of the best. Another local Buffalo delicacy...chicken wing soup...mmmmm.

                                        1. re: milkyway4679

                                          We were in a Havana suburb last year eating at a casa particulaire. I ordered their sopa de pollo and was surprised to find an entire chicken leg (drum and thigh) in the bowl. I guess kinda like chicken wing soup - we called it chicken leg soup.

                                        2. re: KevinB

                                          Of course the bread is key! You would not believe how many regular, everyday hard rolls I ship around the country each month - so many areas of the country have no idea what makes a good kaiser roll. Part of our secret is the pure water and clean air we're lucky enough to enjoy in the Catskills, but can that be the whole story? I deal with a lot of snowbirds who have me regularly ship bread & rolls to warmer places all winter long.

                                2. re: bflocat

                                  We live in the FL Panhandle, which gets a fair amount of Louisiana cross-polination (I'm gonna hit the Cajun place for shrimp and corn bisque in a little while) and oddly enough, my favorite deep roux gumbo is made by a cook from the island of St. Vincent, who uses her own traditional family recipe.

                                  We got talking with the owner of the place a while back, and he said that after he hired the cook, he ended up doing some research about gumbo and how some people had traced the origin of the dish back to one specific tribe in west Africa, and that those people who had ended up in various places in the Americas, whether Louisiana or the islands, had replicated it the best they could over here.

                                  1. re: beachmouse

                                    depending on what caribbean island you're on, the caribbean version of gumbo is often called callaloo, and is delicious, and varies from place to place with locally available ingredients. wish i could get my hands on some!

                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                      Road Trip! It's starting to get cold here - I'd love a trip to the islands. Especially for some good gumbo!

                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                        Regarding "gumbo," one does not need to travel beyond the state lines of Louisiana to find major differences. Within LA, I have had gumbos that ranged from a light broth with shrimp over rice, to concoctions that were almost black and one needed a fork to eat. Most all have been excellent, albeit totally differerent.

                                        For regional differences, travel around the Gulf of Mexico and try tamales in each region/country. What wonderful diversity, but what different dishes.


                                3. re: LOTW

                                  Too true.

                                  I think this happens because most restraunt owners have huge egos and think they will make a name for themselves with their own bizarre recipes. So they dellude themselves into thinking they can improve on a classic when all they end up doing is undermining it.

                                4. "Chicago" pizza. Even the chain Uno's, which is based on the local restaurant, is terrible. I have never had deep dish pizza outside of Chicago that was remotely like what I grew up on. "Chicago" hot dogs are another disaster. Ketchup does not belong on a hot dog. End of story.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: lulubelle

                                    "Ketchup does not belong on a hot dog. End of story." -yeah - but then neither does relish or tomatoes or well anything but mustard, maybe saurkraut, maybe maybe maybe cooked onion. Surprise M Knight Shamalyan end of story.

                                    eggs creams. bagels. pastrami. and as the NYer i am, i think of pizza as a regional food from around here - that no one else gets close to right

                                    1. re: lulubelle

                                      I am a Chicagoan and a lifelong fan of the real Unos and Dues and I am here to tell you that the chain Unos bears NO resemblance to real Chicago deep-dish pizza. It is a joke, a travesty and literally leaves a bad taste for Chicago-style pizza in the mouths of the poor fools (myself included) and mistakenly try it for the real thing.

                                      1. re: chicgail

                                        I do not think that I have had an authentic Chicago Deep Dish Pizza. However, some many years ago, we ordered one from a shop in Denver. I thought it was good, and the owner WAS from Chicago. Still, my client, also a Chicago native, said that it was horrible and was not even close. I cannot comment on this pizza's authenticity, only on the quality and tastes. Was it authentic? I suppose not. Was it good? Tto me, it was. What the heck did I know?


                                    2. I spent a lot of years in Florida. I have yet to see a "real" Cuban sandwich elsewhere. I've had some good sandwiches, but I wouldn't call them a Cuban!

                                      This thread highlights this obsession:


                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: meatn3

                                        Tell me about it. I lived by a Cuban restaurant in London and the sandwich was on ciabatta bread and almost $15. Are you kidding me? I am pretty sure the toppings weren't correct either but I was too shocked by the bread choice to notice.

                                        1. re: meatn3

                                          I have to agree the cuba food in south florida is wonderful. We even have some great little places up in central florida but anything north just doesn't taste the same.

                                        2. As an ex-Montrealer, I miss real Montreal Smoked Meat. This is kinda like pastrami, only better. It has a more intense, smoky flavour, and when cut properly (i.e. by hand, and with a moderate amount of fat), it melts in your mouth with bursts of flavour. You can make an acceptable Reuben with pastrami or corned beef, but once you've had one with MSM, everything else pales by comparison.

                                          As to the Philly cheese steaks - I thought one of the two famous places (Pat's and Gino's?) offered either whiz or provolone. Here in Toronto, most PCS offerings are lame, especially the buns - soft, no crust, no crunch to contrast with the sweet onions and savoury beef.

                                          1. Mexican restaurants where no one speaks Spanish. Salad crispy tacos. A lot of glop called Mexican food out there.

                                            10 Replies
                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                              1. Huge pet peeve of mine are the "Mexican" restaurants that don't even warm the tortillas through - how gross is a cold, straight from the package corn tortilla? Yet they would actually serve this, and claim that it's good? I hear so many people say that they don't "like" corn tortillas as much as flour tortillas - UNTIL THEY HAVE THEM SERVED CORRECTLY. Then it's usually no contest.

                                              Chinese Food. Um, is the demand so huge for cornstarchy gloppy gravy that this is the standard now? Who are the people that like their Chinese food to "jiggle?"

                                              Agreed on "Chicago Style" pizza. It's an absolute mess once you get outside of Illinois.

                                                1. re: gordeaux

                                                  Huh. Chinese food isn't supposed to jiggle?

                                                  1. re: gordeaux

                                                    gordeaux, you forgot the 'Mexican' places whose frijoles refritos Stand Up - looked like someone removed the product from a can using an ice cream scoop and plopped it on the plate. Oh, the memories.....

                                                  2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                    We call it Tex-Mex in Texas. It isn't masquerading as Mexican food. It's it's own thing, and is devine in it's own right if done properly. It's a regional hybrid cuisine. I don't know anyone here who actually thinks it is Mexican. Mexican is wonderful as well.

                                                    1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                                      My daughter lives in Austin, I know and enjoy Tex-Mex. I'm referring to a lot of Mexican food in New England.

                                                      1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                                        Thank you for that clarification. In so very many Mexican food threads, I see those, who deride Tex-Mex, and have zero understanding of it, its origins and its flavor profiles. Most of these folk have experienced Baja, or Sonora, but have little experience with the other states' cuisine in Mexico. Most seem to assume that "Mexican food" is only what they found at a fish taco stand in San Blas, and nothing more.

                                                        Having traveled and sampled the cuisine of many states, but almost the entire border area, Tex-Mex is still at the top of my list, regardless of what others might assume.



                                                        BTW - there are several threads, and especially on the Phoenix Board, where "Mexican food"is discussed, and in some detail.

                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                          I don't think people mean to deride real Tex-Mex, as it is in its home region. It's just that pale imitations of Tex-Mex came to define Mexican food for many people until the last decade or so. Now with the mass migration of Hispanics out of traditional destinations like the Southwest, you have a lot of people being exposed to the cuisine of Mexico proper for the first time, and defining it in opposition to bog standard strip mall Tex-Mex. I have even had Mexican taqueria proprietors use "Tex-Mex" in this way.

                                                          1. re: Naco

                                                            That could well explain why Tex-Mex gets so little love on CH.

                                                            Had I not been fortunate enough to experience so very much Mexican cuisine, maybe I would have different feelings.

                                                            I am sorry that so very many only experience Mexican cuisine in chain restaurants in the US. I feel very fortunate.



                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                              Many people aren't just experiencing Mexican food in those sorts of restaurants these days. Hence the derision.

                                                    2. pre-made (shudder) avocado "dip" masquerading as guacamole

                                                      enchiladas made w/flour tortillas

                                                      62 Replies
                                                      1. re: laliz

                                                        Second the enchiladas with flour tortillas - not really enchiladas, as far as I'm concerned!

                                                        1. re: mayfair1929

                                                          If they are dipped in, or covered with a 'chile' sauce, they have been 'enchilada', though a full name might be 'tortillas de harina enchilada'.

                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                            sorry, ya won't find a flour tortilla in NM. It just ain't done here. Enchiladas are also stacked, not rolled.

                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                              why aren't flour tortillas used there?

                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                Flour tortillas are used only for burittos and as a side like bread.

                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                  mmm warm homemade tortillas slathered in butter - a friend from SoCal turned me on to that. slap-in-your-face-duh-obvious in hindsight.

                                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                      speaking of regional foods that others do wrong, how about sopapillas? Some places (outside of NM) fry a flour tortilla, dust it with cinnamon sugar and squirt of whipped cream, and call that a sopapilla.

                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                        yes, and honey too.

                                                                        paulj I'd give first timers a hall pass on that shortcut, (although I can say smugly the first time I had sopapillas we did ''em from scratch at a base camp interval while backpacking in NM - yeah like we were going to hike cast iron skillets around)

                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                          Outside of NM I've had good ones in 2 places - a college dorm in Texas, and a Mexican/Italian place in Homer Alaska.

                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                            When I lived in Albuquerque, a local radio commercial did a takeoff of those Molson "I am Canadian" ads called "I am a New Mexican." One of the lines was "I can correctly spell sopaipilla." That extra "i" confuses people.

                                                                            Best sopaipillas in the world are at Duran Central Pharmacy in Albuquerque, incidentally.

                                                                            1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                              Up Central, across from UNM, El Patio, has better sopaipillas.

                                                                              Stuffed sopaipillas? Red, green of Christmas?

                                                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                Never really liked El Patio, though it was mere steps from my apartment, and always considered stuffed sopaipillas just a sloppier Navajo taco. Although one of my work friends ate lunch at Stufy's at least once a week, and if she was buying, I wasn't too proud to pass it up. They had a bitchin' chicharon burrito.

                                                                                1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                                  jenny, what is the root word for sopaipilla? also, what is the meaning?

                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                    from wiki:

                                                                                    The word sopaipilla is the diminutive of sopaipa, a word that entered Spanish from the Mozarabic language of Moslem Iberian peninsula.[7] The original Mozarabic word Xopaipa was used to mean bread soaked in oil, and derived in turn from the Germanic word suppa which meant bread soaked in liquid.[2]

                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                      amazing -- it's a german word. LOL!

                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                        I have a soft spot for Charlie's Front/Back Door, myself. It's partly the atmosphere though.

                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                          Historically, there's an enormous amount of Mexican/German crossover: there was quite a lot of German and Bohemian settlement in South Texas and Mexico. Ever wonder where Norteno music got the accordion and the polka beats from?

                                                                                          1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                                            jenny, i **always** wondered about the mexican music that sounded like polkas! thanks!

                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                              Czechs too; this is why kulache is popular in Texas.

                                                                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                Well, the Bohemians were Czechs. The ones who settled in Texas and Mexico in the 1800s were mostly escaping an ongoing low-level civil war back home. But yeah, the Bohemians brought kolache and pilsner to the area.

                                                                                          2. re: alkapal

                                                                                            It may get Germanic in origin, but it is not a current German word. This isn't evidence of soplaipilla originating with German immigrants in Texas. Spain has various fried dough desserts, churros, bunuellos, pristinos.

                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                              alka, thew's quote said it derives from a GermanIC word, not a German word :)

                                                                                              there are many Germanic languages - and yes, German is one of them, but so is English (and Dutch, and Swedish...)

                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                yes, i know. i was attempting to be cute. apparently, that was a FAIL.

                                                                                            2. re: thew

                                                                                              Spanish 'sopa' (a piece of soaked bread) also comes from this root.

                                                                                              Here's a California company that tries to group sopaipillas with other fried doughs, including the Portuguese/Hawaiian malasadas


                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                So many roots to Mexican cooking, make the word "authentic" hard to define, except by using dates.
                                                                                                I love "real" Mexican tacos al pastor. Again a Lebanese influence, like a gyro on a tortilla. They have to be made on the "trompah", though, which looks like a gyro cooker, to be "authentic". Where'd the pinapple come from?

                                                                                                  1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                    Thanks, I missed that one. Tat, do you know of any good al pastor in Albuquerque?

                                                                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                      Not offhand, but next time I'm there, if you're there yet, maybe we should go on a search!

                                                                                                  2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                    "So many roots to Mexican cooking, make the word "authentic" hard to define, except by using dates"

                                                                                                    Isn't that the truth? Also, throw in the geography, and the other aspects of how the cuisine was transferred. It is not an easy term to define. What might be "authentic" to Sonora, could well be unheard of in Campeche, or even in Moorelos.

                                                                                                    My question is "authentic to whom?"


                                                                                                  3. re: paulj

                                                                                                    English has 'sop' , from OE soppe, dipped bread.

                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                      yep, i was thinking of "sop" too -- as in "i'm gonna sop up that pot likker by crumbling my corn bread in there!"

                                                                                                      probably, the word origin for "dipped bread" came from noah. ;-).

                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                          touché bill hunt. well done!

                                                                                                          ...dipped flatbread, in that case?

                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                        exactly - from the german roots of OE

                                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                                          I just gotta say I find these cross-pollinated food and culture stories utterly fascinating.

                                                                                                  4. re: alkapal

                                                                                                    I have just returned from a school taco dinner fund raiser at the high school. I though you might enjoy that sopapipillas were served as a side.

                                                                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                      Pdk, we have a local hero named Rocky Yazzie whose marvelous goal in life is to push a propane pushcart through the Mission District, day and night. He hands out the most delicious Navajo frybread drizzled with honey or agave syrup, and if you haven't got money it's free, but word says the above-and-beyond donation factor helps him pay for supplies, upkeep and maintenance. The world needs more Rocky Yazzies. : )

                                                                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                        guys like that make me miss SF (um you are talking about the SF Mission District I assume)

                                                                                        2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                          Think about it for a moment. It is about the indigenous ingredients. If an area does not have wheat, but they do have corn (red, white, yellow or blue), then the cuisine of that area will reflect the availability of the ingredients.

                                                                                          Ever wonder why there are almost no Cajun beef dishes? The land did not support cattle, in most areas, but pork, and the flesh of many other creatures were available., plus a lot of swamp "seafood." The folk cooked what they had, as there were few Safeways then.[Grin]

                                                                                          In NM, one is more likely to get red and blue corn, as those crops grow there. One is more likely to get pork, or cheese, or goat, and seldom fish/seafood, as those were not available until Fed-X.

                                                                                          Also, one has two cultures in NM - Indio and Mexican, with the European Caucasian influence coming later. Back before they were a state, or even a territory, the indigenous peoples worked the land, and did dishes, that reflected what was grown in the land.

                                                                                          Not that this is bad, in any way, just different.

                                                                                          As the US - Mexican border is about 2000 miles, and that does not include the different cultures and cuisines of the non-border states in Mexico, there are many differences.


                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                            NM was Spanish before it was Mexican. In fact it was under independent Mexican rule for only a quarter of a century. Mexican itself is a blend of Indian and European (mostly Spanish), but the blend is different in, say Chiapas in the south, from that in DF, and different also from that in the northern states. I suspect the Spanish settlement in NM was always a blend of Spanish and mestizos.

                                                                                            "Prominent among those who shouldered the burden of frontier settlement and defense were the growing mestízo, or mixed blood, population of the province. Among the least recognized of these groups are the genízaro. The genízaro were Indians from various tribes, who had, for a variety of reasons, lost their tribal identity. Many of them were captive children, who had been raised in Spanish households and been baptized, had assumed Spanish surnames, and had eventually become Hispanicized. Genízaro settlements such as those established at Abiquiu and Tomé, bore a significant portion of New Mexico's frontier defense well into the 19th century. Despite many struggles, the growth of these communities made possible the subsequent development and expansion of New Mexico."

                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                              Interesting term there- "genízaro" or "jenízaro" is the Hispanicized form of "janissary", the old Ottoman Turkish corps de elite. Apparently this word used to be applied to mixed-race people.

                                                                                              1. re: Naco

                                                                                                The janissaries were also kidnapped children (mostly from the Balkins), raised in Turkish homes, and then in the army.

                                                                                              2. re: paulj

                                                                                                And, before the Spanish, there were several Native American tribes, who inhabited the land before. Some contributed to the cuisine of the state, and to the region. That has contribute to the culinary identity of the area, just as the Native American cuisine has contributed to that of AZ.

                                                                                                OT, but a side note. I have some good friends, and asked about whether the family was from Mexico (AZ residents), and the reply was "no, we were in AZ long before the earliest Mexican infusion. Long before AZ was even a territory, our family had settled here, so we predate the Mexicans, the statehood, and everyone, but the Native Americans."

                                                                                                Good point, and thank you for the clarification.


                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                  Various tribes in those 2 states have retained a lot of the culinary heritage. I sampled some of that a couple of decades ago with a visit to the Hope Visitor Center and restaurant, and later the Pueblo museum in Albuquerque. Whether they influenced the Hispanic and Anglo cuisine is less obvious. Selected items like blue corn have become something of a fad in the broader culture, but I doubt if the influence has been very deep.

                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                    My SIL's family in New Mexico predates the Pilgrams in NEw England. The Acoma Pueblo, in my school district has been continously inhabitedm for nearly a thousand years, the oldest in North America.
                                                                                                    Don't get me going on wifey's Pilgram roots...;

                                                                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                      Then you would be an a good position to explain how Pueblo cuisine has affected the broader NM cuisine.

                                                                                                      When I look at the list of NM cuisine terminology on the Wiki article, I don't see much that is not familiar from Mexican or Mexican-American usage. The use of local NM chiles is somewhat unique, but I think that derives more from what cultivars grow well there, and developments in the last hundred years or so (including university research programs). There was also mention of NM flour tortillas being thicker and softer than California ones, due to a softer local wheat.

                                                                                                      We've talked about the unique NM sopapillas, but those seem to have European roots (in name and method), not Native American - unless you can somehow link them to fry bread (itself a Native adaptation of European bannock).

                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                        isn't a sopaipilla fry bread? what else would it be considerd?

                                                                                                        the seminoles in florida make fry bread. are there tribes anywhere in north america that don't make a fry bread? ground grain, moisture, salt and fat, plus fire. pretty darn basic.


                                                                                                        i'm curious about leavening, and when and where it was introduced to fry bread recipes. or...what did native americans use to leaven, if at all?

                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                          Some sources attribute fry bread to the Navajos during their exile at Ft Sumner. Whether that is true or not, the basic ingredients are the ones provided by the US government - flour and lard. More sedentary tribes grew corn, squash and beans before European contact, with few domesticated animals (anything other than dogs?). RI Jonnycake is probably closest thing to a bread that any of the tribes could have produced before the introduction of European grains, fats and cookware.

                                                                                                          I imagine leaving in the form of baking powder became available on the reservations about the same time that it became part of biscuits and cornbread in the rest of country. Baking soda can be made at home, but it is hard to get it very pure.

                                                                                                          I suspect fry bread became widespread among Native Americans (and virtually identified with them) via powwows and other intertribal gatherings.

                                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                                            intertribal gatherings? is this your source for this information you present? http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-...

                                                                                                            """Navajo frybread originated 144 years ago, when the United States forced Indians living in Arizona to make the 300-mile journey known as the "Long Walk" and relocate to New Mexico, onto land that couldn't easily support their traditional staples of vegetables and beans. To prevent the indigenous populations from starving, the government gave them canned goods as well as white flour, processed sugar and lard—the makings of frybread."""

                                                                                                            Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-...


                                                                                                            back to your argument:
                                                                                                            the native tribes had no fat or ground grain (or starch) before the u.s. govt. gave it to them to make a fried patty? you don't think it could have arisen as a natural creation, for any tribe? maybe the spaniards gave the idea to the seminoles, but i still think a fry bread is a creation that "naturally" arises from taste and necessity.

                                                                                                            paul, with all due respect, i *seriously doubt* that the seminoles got their "idea" for a fry bread from the navajos!!! and, as to the ways a tribe could get the starch, here is what the seminoles used """In the past, however, Seminoles made flour for cooking from the roots of the wild coontie (Zamia) plant."""" http://www.semtribe.com/Culture/Semin...

                                                                                                            what are your other sources please?

                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                              didn't you know that prior to the arrival of europeans no animals had fat?

                                                                                                        2. re: paulj

                                                                                                          No one seems to have answered your question, PJ. Fry bread is a thick unleavened flour "pancake"which takes a topping like beans for a a Navajo taco or mutton and green chile. Sopapaillas have leavening and puff up when fried, allowing one to squirt fire taming honey inside the sopaipailla.

                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                              For communion, we only use the unleaved.
                                                                                                              The difference I was trying to point out is that fry bread is hefty, round and accepts a topping.
                                                                                                              Sopaippillas are light airy, big hollow triangles w/ a center made to be filled w/ honey or beans of meat and chile.

                                                                                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                true, fry bread is indeed hefty -- and makes one hefty, too. (i guess my point to paul was that the sopaipillas are *fried* as well).


                                                                                                                in my mind, a sopaipilla is like a beignet. i joked at our local "bayou bakery" that i converted his beignets to sopaipillas with adding honey. man, it was delicious! http://www.bayoubakeryva.com/ -- by the way, i order them with "very light" sugar on top -- not nearly like those in the photo. (d.c area people, go check out the place -- friendly, nice chef (was on FN's iron chef show with chef rj cooper), and they have GREAT coffee).

                                                                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                  Several years while camping across southern Colorado and Utah, we stopped in Mexican Hat (on the edge of the Navajo Res). We got an order of fry bread and an order of 'dry bread' from a cafe, and ate for lunch at Muley Point a while later. With that time delay I liked the dry bread better. Dry bread is the same dough but cooked on the grill (or griddle).

                                                                                                                  I've also had fry bread a powwows.

                                                                                                      2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                        I lived in Taos for six years. The Hispanic people there are adamant that they are not Mexican...they are Spanish. Their ancestors came from Mexico in the late 17th century -- the first Taos settlement from 1615 was wiped out in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.

                                                                                                        I tasted lots of wonderful food in NM -- miss it a lot. Lotaburgers w/green chile...sopaipilla w/honey...blue corn enchiladas at the Pink Adobe in Santa Fe (is that still good? I lived in NM 25 years ago), and many other great memories.

                                                                                                        1. re: ptrichmondmike

                                                                                                          I believe the High Road to Taos takes you through the core of settlements from the Spanish years. Chimayo is perhaps best known of the towns along that route.

                                                                                                    2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                      Here in Pittsburgh it's impossible to buy grasshoppers out of season.

                                                                                                      Now that I think about it, it's impossible in season, as well. :-)

                                                                                                      And unfortunately, it's a bit too cold up here for my business concept of a maguay worm farm. But I miss my chinicuiles.

                                                                                            2. re: mayfair1929

                                                                                              Well, that depends on which state in Mexico you are referring to. Unfortunately, most US citizens assume that what they grew up with in the States, is the "real" and "only" Mexican food. They need to open their minds - and their mouths, and experience it all.

                                                                                              What might come from an "authentic" taco truck in LA, may well differ from what one would encounter in Jalisco, or Chiapas, or Oaxaca. The cuisine changes, as does the geography and the ingredients. Also, the ethnicities and the foreign influences have something to do with it, as well.

                                                                                              Now, as I am a Tex-Mex fan, I only think of enchiladas as being wrapped in yellow-corn tortillas, but that is not the ONLY way. So very much depends on where the chef is from.

                                                                                              Keep the mind open. Few of us are culinary-historians.What you grew up with was but a tiny bit of what Mexican cuisine is about. It would be akin to stating that "BBQ in the US MUST be done ____," and that it "MUST NOT be done ____." Depends on whether you were talking about SC, NC, TN (Eastern, or Western), MO, TX, or even elsewhere.

                                                                                              Have you ever had tamales wrapped in green banana leaves? If you explore, you might.



                                                                                          2. ???? corn bread and all of it's contradictory regional isms.North,south,yellow,white,
                                                                                            sugar or not,breakfast,lunch or dinner??? Such an eye openner when three or more
                                                                                            strong opinions get going on it.Or the arguments that erupt when "sweetened"is the
                                                                                            version at a "southern style" restaurant north of the Mason-Dixon Line.There maybe no regional "wrong" to right,but the debate between contrarians and traditionalists is never dull.

                                                                                            1. Adding smoke flavor to vegetables and calling them "southern" is plain wrong. We may put pork in our vegetables but we don't pour in chemical smoke flavor additives.

                                                                                              About BBQ: This funny video is required viewing for everyone about the myriad of types of BBQ in the country.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                1. Fluorescent lime-green key lime pie which, of course, is not green.
                                                                                                  "Maryland" crabcakes with onions, "fru-fru" sauces and all other sorts of abomination. And don't get me started on bagels.

                                                                                                  38 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Sinicle

                                                                                                    I've gotta co-sign on the "Maryland" crab cakes! I was raised in MD and currently live in the Atlanta-metro area and I've sworn off ordering crab cakes. It's definitely one of those things that I insist on making myself.

                                                                                                    1. re: SoulFoodie

                                                                                                      I third on the crab cakes. When I lived in Maryland, I learned that a crab cake was essentially crab, a tiny bit of something to hold it together, and that it was cooked gently, either sauteed or broiled. It drives me mad to see crab cakes the size of hockey pucks, with onions and celery and breadcrumbs, then deep fried. You lose all sense of the crab.

                                                                                                      I also go crazy over bagels that are essentially bread rolls with a hole in the middle, or bagels that are passed off as "authentic New York style" but are so tough you can hardly cut them.

                                                                                                      My last gripe: New York cheesecake which has all kinds of gloppy sauce over it, oreos stuck in it, mint green doo-dads. NY cheesecake comes in two flavors: plain, or the kind with strawberries at attention. And yes, I know Juniors sells a bunch of flavors now, but those are the only two I recognize.

                                                                                                      1. re: brendastarlet

                                                                                                        c'mon brenda, would you turn it down if the (presumably decent) cheesecake had blueberries instead?

                                                                                                        but yeah pretty much anything else is gilding the lily.

                                                                                                        1. re: brendastarlet

                                                                                                          I wholeheartedly join in on the Crab cakes. "Maryland" or "Chesapeake" crab cakes are 98% *Jumbo Lump* blue crab and a slight binder, no filler. I order mine in from MD, forget ordering them in Restaurants outside of MD, though I've tried and been completely disappointed. There are MD crabcakes and "everything else".

                                                                                                          Chicago deep dish pizza, it's another awful thing outside of IL. I love it, and can now also order that in to ship. Not as good as waiting 45 minutes at the restaurant for a fresh one, though. :)

                                                                                                          Real Key lime pies are not neon lime green, as stated above!! Now that I'm in FL, most places here don't serve the scary pies. Up north, it was a different story.

                                                                                                          Finally, my hubby went to school in Buffalo, NY and suffers in his pursuit of a decent wing outside of NY. Ditto on his thin crust pizza and his beloved NY cheesecake as posted by brendastarlet.

                                                                                                          1. re: winechic

                                                                                                            Actually, I have had some great ones in London and also Hawai`i, much as you describe.

                                                                                                            Where I "hail from," there were always fillers. I was less a fan of these (MS and New Orleans), but have loved the others.

                                                                                                            Most of my experiences with Tidewater and Chesapeake cakes has been lacking, but then I'm usually in DC, or someplace outside the real region.

                                                                                                            I do know what you mean, but take heart, as there are some other places, that recognize the difference - even if they are far away.


                                                                                                            1. re: winechic

                                                                                                              Oh shoot! I commented on the cakes, but did not see the "key lime," until after I hit "Post My Reply."

                                                                                                              Key lime is almost white. Just a few points of yellow (I come from a photographic background), and NO green. If there is green, I send it back. I always ask if this is "real" Key Lime, or some imitation. If they tell me it's real, it had better not have any green in it.

                                                                                                              Now, for "wings," I guess that I have just not been to Buffalo enough, or have missed the entire point. I have yet to have any "wings," anyplace, that I'd order of my own volition. Let's just say that it is my lack of experience, and leave it at that. Same for "blackened" almost anything. One out of a thousand, and that is not a set of good odds.


                                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                I've had decent crab cakes outside of MD, but not decent "MD" or "Chesapeake" crab cakes outside of MD. Once I was served "MD" Crab cakes that were made with snow crab...uh, no.

                                                                                                                I've had decent blue crab meat content in various crab cakes over the years, but with claw meat or a lessor grade of lump crab meat....so it's more shredded in appearance, instead of those coveted unbroken back fin crab lumps. Without beating the crab with a stick, it's the Back Fin Jumbo Lump crab that really sets the "MD" Crab cake apart.

                                                                                                                I lived in the Balto/DC area during my school years and still visit relatives back home. I agree, just because you are in the MD/VA/DC area doesn't mean you are finding a great crab cake up there. If you want those "good" crab cakes try heading more towards Annapolis or Eastern Shore or into Baltimore...and while some of the fancy places do it very well, the neighborhood joints are always a good bet.

                                                                                                                I like McGarvey's when in Annapolis. If in the surrounding area try G&M's, I get mine shipped in regularly and they are awesome. http://www.gandmcrabcakes.com/ My hubby did not know of crab cakes before meeting me and is now spoiled. My folks still head to Cantler's, order some crab cakes (or crab balls, the small version) while their crabs steam. Butcher paper on the tables, authentic place. http://www.cantlers.com/

                                                                                                                I'm with you on the Key lime pie, if it's glowing green and not the delicate shade palest yellow, the color of real Kely Lime juice...RUN ! ! !

                                                                                                                RE: "Blackened". You are spot on. While I'll throw it on some fish at home and smoke the kitchen out, I cannot find too many great examples of it out very often, too bad.

                                                                                                                1. re: winechic

                                                                                                                  See, I grew up with MS, and LA blue crab cakes. Most had heavy reliance on seasoned bread crumbs as a binder, and also various peppers, like green Bells. It was not until later in my life, that I discovered the Tidewater (and above) crab cakes, that were much more reliant on the crab meat. I like the latter much better, though the MS & LA blue crabs do have a wonderful sweetness, but it is often masked by the prep.

                                                                                                                  "Blackened," when done right, by the right chef, can be very good. Too few understand, and just burn the fish, with tons of pepper. That is NOT the idea.

                                                                                                                  Still, with regional cuisine, it is about the region. I could never say that some Tidewater, or Low Country, recipe was off, as I grew up in a different part of the Deep South, so knew different recipes.


                                                                                                                2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                  real key lime pie is a very, very pale yellow.

                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                    ....and can be located by following the moans of pain from the cramping of hands that have just squeezed enough teeny tiny real key limes to make a real key lime pie.

                                                                                                                    1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                      ROFL! Actually, using a hand held lime squeezer isn't too hard on the hands. Watch out for those seeds. These small 'key limes' are abundant here in Latino markets, but I use the term advisedly due to the carelessness / ignorance of the local supply chain.

                                                                                                                      Reminds me of the Rick Bayless TV episode starring the various varieties of limas and limones, almost made my head explode. OT, don't anyone bring up 'pasilla' ....

                                                                                                                      1. re: DiveFan

                                                                                                                        Actually, using a hand held lime squeezer isn't too hard on the hands. Watch out for those seeds.
                                                                                                                        just set a fine sieve over the container you're using to collect the juice.

                                                                                                                        i've also found that the fork or reamer method works well with key limes if you just slice off a small piece as opposed to halving the lime - leaves you more to grip & work with.

                                                                                                                      2. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                        Insert great big GRIN here!

                                                                                                                        I have had key limes, and cooked with them, so I know the pain.

                                                                                                                        Wife has about four "squeezers," but none is suited for a key lime. All are too large.


                                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                          I confess I've never actually experienced the pain, just known about it from others. Until a year ago, my local butcher shop (named "The Meat Store") had an older lady who in addition to being an expert butcher liked to bake. Her key lime pies were splendid.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                            An old fashioned reamer,wood or glass is OK for a small number.However for large quantities of MEXICAN/KEY LIMES (botanically the same) I get out the pasta roller,quarter the limes,place bowl underneath and sort out the mess when done.

                                                                                                                          2. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                            An old-fashioned garlic press works well on quartered Key limes.
                                                                                                                            No groaning, no seeds.

                                                                                                                          3. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                            I remember the first time I had key lime pie -- this was at the now-departed Puffins Cafe in Baltimore 30 years ago. The very pale pie was brought out, and my immediate thought -- in the mind of an ignorant chowhound-in-training -- was "WTF?" But damn was it good. It wasn't until years later that I learned to laugh at bright green key lime pie.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                              Are you allowed to call it key lime pie if the limes weren't grown on Keys?

                                                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                Not sure about the FDA, and the various marketing arms of the US Gov - Truth in Advertising, or maybe the ATF, but if the color is green, I run the other way.

                                                                                                                                In AZ, we have "lime pies," but those limes are larger, and have no seeds. The taste is OK, but is different. Still, no "florescent green!"


                                                                                                                  2. re: Sinicle

                                                                                                                    Oh, absolutely! :-( Key Lime pie should be nearly white.

                                                                                                                    And I second the comments on cornbread ... especially CORN FRITTERS!!! who ever heard of a fritter that's flat or not served dusted with confec sugar? ... well, I've heard of them ... they just aren't what I think of when somebody says "corn fritters" to me.

                                                                                                                    "Dumplings" that look like fat noodles. A dumpling is a light billowy treasure boiled in the most savory of chicken stock. They turn the stock into delectable gravy, and the stock turns the dumplin' dough into little clouds of heaven. What are those heavy thick slabs of dough anyway?

                                                                                                                    ...and IMHO...
                                                                                                                    BBQ is slow-cooked meat thereafter simmered in a sauce (plenty varieties of those, too)
                                                                                                                    grilling is cooking on an open flame - gas, wood, or charcoal
                                                                                                                    and smoking is the long slow-cooking treatment usually applied to meats before BBQing

                                                                                                                    but what do I know

                                                                                                                    1. re: exotec

                                                                                                                      Those flat dumplings are a regional variety that people don't get right! There are 2 major camps when it comes to chicken and dumplings. You are in one. The flat ones are in the other.

                                                                                                                      I've not heard of your distinction between BBQ and smoking. There is plenty of debate about whether sauce should be applied to slow smoked meat, and when. And in some versions the meat is chopped or pulled, and dressed with a sauce, but I don't recall anyone simmering it in the sauce.

                                                                                                                      As to making a distinction between BBQ and grilling, that's like closing the barn doors after the horses have escaped.

                                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                        my mom was in both camps on the dumplings. she made the fluffy ones, and also made the flat ones (but i complained with them!).

                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                          I grew up with the flat/dense variety of "dumplings," but we always called it chicken and pastry.

                                                                                                                        2. re: exotec

                                                                                                                          IMO if they're deep-fried cornmeal that's savory & not sweet they're hush puppies.

                                                                                                                          1. re: exotec

                                                                                                                            Here here! Key lime pie shouldn't be green. Went to a banquet and was served lovely key lime pie that was quite pale and everyone at my table though it was what they were calling "key lemon" pie while it was obvious lime flavored. I hope they serve it at next year's banquet.

                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                What would be a good name for a pie made with sweetened condensed milk, lemons and crumb crust?

                                                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                  IF there were such a thing as a "key lemon," that would be a perfectly fine name.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                    Trayler Traysh Pah, and I'm not knocking it. Never did hear of a Key Lemon though.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                      That got me to wondering whether passion fruit would work as a substitute for limes. A search turned up this recipe
                                                                                                                                      that uses the key lime pie recipe, substituting a mix of mango, passion fruit and lime juice for the straight key lime juice.

                                                                                                                                      I have made a good mango passion fruit panna cotta, so I suspect the combination would also be great in a pie. I have no problem with the name 'Pastel de Mango y Maracuya'

                                                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                        Delicious, is what it sounds like to me. You could really get going on a pretty exotic tropical theme here-tangy fruit curds, even layered with a coconut custard. (Wouldn't that be a pretty presentation, in an uber-sized shotglass?) The sub. for that passion fruit - you'd have to use more of the puree than you would the limes since the flavor and tang are subtler. Now, all the rest of y'all:
                                                                                                                                        Step away from my pie. And drop the server. : )

                                                                                                                                        1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                          yup. hey paw and maw, i want me some of that pie!

                                                                                                                                      2. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                        put whatever you want in and call it a Key Pie with the fruit of choice at the front as a descriptive modifier and the naming convention refers to the process, not the ingredient - so Lemon Key Pie or your idea of Passionfruit Key Pie. no misinformation that way.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                          what the heck is "key" about those names you propose? key refers to the provenance of the lime. passionfruit key pie makes no sense.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                            if you are a literalist, no. but key passionfruit pie would still stelltill a consumer what flavor profile to expect. even though i think its a bit stupid a name

                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                              I was just trying to be nice for once. to put Key before the fruit of choice suggests the provenance, putting it after would refer to a style of pie. (god this feels like a late Friday argument with a SO after a party and a small misunderstanding turns into grounds for separation) still love ya alk, anybody that wants to make any kind of pie from scratch occupies a rather high notch in my book whatever the hell it's called.

                                                                                                                                              now can we PLEASE argue about whose turn it is to walk the dog? or if beurre blanc requires a masc or fem article? and is there a plural and if so, then what? (my ex and I once argued bitterly about the Treaty of Nantes - beats everyday stuff)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                yes, it IS like a late night argument…when one party is coming in from work and the other party has been ….partying.

                                                                                                                                2. This is a sloppy jo sandwich


                                                                                                                                  The ground beef with sauce is not

                                                                                                                                  17 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                    i think id rather be wrong on this one...

                                                                                                                                    1. re: mattyjaco

                                                                                                                                      If you are ever in northern NJ give it a try. it is a true eye-opening experience. someone just needs to rename their version.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                        Oh yes, I grew up on the north Jersey style of sloppy joe! The BEST! My mouth is watering...

                                                                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                          Just got back from visiting me mum in the hospital in New Brunswick, NJ. I stepped outside the hospital for a break and went into a deli up the street, The Istanbul, and I smiled ant thought of you jfood you ol'd dog when a saw a turkey ahd ham sloppy Joe on the munu. Decided to chow on soft shell crab sanwiches instead, but did bring back 2 Taylor Pork Rolls , several styles of herring, to begin a few.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                            Good choice P. No way jfood is ordering a Sloppy Joe from a deli named Istanbul that serves a turkey and ham joe. With that theopry running the kitchen your soft shell crab sandwich was probably a tuna melt.

                                                                                                                                            Now did they fry the taylor pork before placing on the bread?

                                                                                                                                            Hope your Mum feels better. The pork roll is like 1000mg of Penicillin .

                                                                                                                                      2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                        I grew up hearing both of these called a "sloppy joe". But the only kind I ever ate with my family was the version you linked to. I only had the ground beef/sauce on a soft bun concoction at the homes of my friends. But I remember as a kid liking them both - a lot.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                          That looks so good. Wish I knew how to make the russian dressing.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Jen76

                                                                                                                                            Jen76: Don't despair - go to the Wikipedia entry, and you'll see that there are about 50 different recipes. Some suspect it first got its name because it contained caviar; like that's going to happen today! The big difference between Russian and Thousand Islands, IMHO, is Thousand Islands is sweeter and contains sweet relish and less tomato sauce. My Russian is mayo, tomato sauce, chopped capers, horseradish, and (depending on how hot the horseradish is) some hot sauce. But that's my version. I'm sure there are people here who will say it is heresy. Experiment and make it your own!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: KevinB

                                                                                                                                              Ok. I tried. Made delectable Reuben sandwiches last night, but husband opted for the Wishbone Thousand Island instead of my homemade Russian. Sigh. I liked it though!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Jen76

                                                                                                                                                IMO the main difference between 1000 Island and Russian is horseradish in the Russin but not the 1000 Island. This is important for a Reuben, because the reason Reubens are soooo good is they (when properly made) have an ideal balance of all the *five* basic flavors (ie including umami), and the basic flavor "tart" or "bitter" comes from the horseradish in the Russian dressing.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Jen76

                                                                                                                                                  Reminds me of a fav. deli in Denver. I'd go in and order a "Turkey Ruben." If the "help" waited on me, I'd get my sandwich. If the owner, Mrs. Goldstien, took the order, I'd catch grief. "There is no such thing as a turkey Ruben," she'd shout at me. Her chef would take my order and suggest that she "shush." I'd get my sandwich (on sourdough, no less) and enjoy it. OK, I realize that there is no such thing as a "turkey Ruben," but I loved MY variation on this sandwich. I DID order the Russian dressing, but added my Guldnen's hot mustard, when Mrs. Goldstein was not looking.

                                                                                                                                                  I'd do similar with my roast beef po-boys at Frank's Deli in NOLA. When Frank's mother-in-law was not looking, I'd add the hot mustard. If she caught me, I would be scolded - until next time...


                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                    Oy Vay Billy is being a bad boy.

                                                                                                                                                    First the turkey reuben then gulden's mixed with russian, and on sour dough no less.

                                                                                                                                                    jfood only wishes you would ask for mayo on a muff at central grocer and see their faces. it would be the nola equivilent of poor mrs goldstein..

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                      I thought a Turkey Reuben was actually a Named Sandwich-- called a Rachel.

                                                                                                                                                      Rachel sandwich

                                                                                                                                                      The Rachel sandwich is a variation on the standard Reuben sandwich that substitutes pastrami for the corned beef and coleslaw for the sauerkraut. Other recipes for the Rachel call for turkey instead of corned beef or pastrami. In some parts of the United States, especially Michigan, this turkey variant is known as a "Georgia Reuben" or "Southern Reuben," which sometimes uses barbecue sauce instead of Russian or Thousand Island.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                                                        I have never heard of a Rachel, nor have I ever seen it on any menu. Maybe I have led a very sheltered life?

                                                                                                                                                        Still, if one makes a great Ruben, but substitutes turkey, then I am a happier camper.


                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                          Still, if one makes a great Ruben, but substitutes turkey, then I am a happier camper.
                                                                                                                                                          a true Rachel also requires coleslaw in place of the kraut, not just turkey (or pastrami) instead of corned beef. the turkey Rachel was my favorite childhood deli sandwich. great memories :)

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                            Thank you for that clarification.I love my slaw on BBQ pork, but would go for the kraut any day, for my "turkey Ruben," or whatever it should be called.

                                                                                                                                                            Now comes the test. Russian, or Thousand Island dressings are more often applied. I like Gulden's Spicy Mustard, so I'm still an iconoclast, I suppose.



                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                              i probably put mustard on more things than most people, but it has no business on a Rachel - gotta be TI or Russian.

                                                                                                                                                              no biggie - you can have your turkey on rye with Swiss, kraut and mustard - it actually sounds delicious...just don't call it a Rachel! ;)

                                                                                                                                            2. I think the best question is... what regional foods do people just do right? 99.9% of Mexican cuisine in the U.S. is an abomination.

                                                                                                                                              36 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                I once worked with a guy from Texas that told me if you ordered Mexican food in anything other than a "border" state, you were getting s***, not food. He firmly believed that only states that bordered Mexico offered truly Mexican cooking, anything else was, in his word, "garbage".

                                                                                                                                                1. re: bucksguy14

                                                                                                                                                  Given that I think much of the offering in Texas, Arizona & California is garbage... I don't know that there is all that much to that theory. There are pockets of good Mexican food... but it is certainly in the minority. The pockets usually correspond to recent immigrant communities... but not a guarantee. Places like Texas & California often have such a deep tradition of s*** abominations of Mexican cuisine (because of the long history) that new immigrants come in and they have to adopt the "Real Mexican" that already exists there and can't bring in their regional cookign. Sometimes in place that didn't have as much Mexican immigrants until the last decade or so... its easier to find some good Mexican cooking because there are no existing expectations for all the Tex-Mex crap.

                                                                                                                                                  In my humble opinion... the best Mexican cuisine in the U.S. is to be found in the Mex 1st gen immigrant neighborhoods of Chicago, L.A., and San Diego. All three places have pretty good ingredient availability and many authentic restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bucksguy14

                                                                                                                                                    But I should not... even in Chicago, L.A. & San Diego... I am only talking about maybe 1% of the Mex restaurants offer dining that is comparable to what you find in Mexico.. lets make that REAL clear. Places with things like Scallop Tacos, Duck in Mole Verde, Catfish Stew, Huazontle Fritters, Nopales Salads etc., are very much in the minority.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                      I don't know that there is a "real Mexican" cuisine. The majority of Mexiacans are very poor and have no access to things like scallops or duck. All the times I've been to Mexico, not the resorts, I'm talking about taking the train and bus across the country, real Mexicans, that is the majority, seemed to eat rice, beans, tortillas, and grilled meats. Oh, and there are no first genereation Mexicans in Houston or San Antonio? The city of Houston is full of first generation Mexicans, Salvadorans, Hondurans, Vietnamese and others, as well as originals freshly arrived from their native countries.They are not forces to adopt to Tex-Mex crap or whatever, they simply open their own. Where I live in Houston, there are Mexican restaurants side by side with native Korean restaurants. As far as Tex-Mex being garbage, its is good comfort food when done right for genereations of Texans and Mexican Americans who are also Texans, no different than KC barbecue or Chicago pizza. By the way, I married a first generation Mexican. Just some obeservations.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                                        Thank you for posting this. I wanted to say something similar but didn't feel like I had the "chops" to back it up. But really, it should be pretty obvious that most mexicans aren't cooking the food that Eat Nopal is describing.

                                                                                                                                                        And I completely agree with your comments about Tex-Mex too. I find comments about it being an abomination to be unbearably snobby and judgmental. It IS delicious when done right and I feel no shame in enjoying this kind of food.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                          Gmme some warm chile con queso dip w/ fresh made tortilla chips followed by some tacos (al pastor, tripas and lingua) all washed down with a Shiner Bock. Texas, the way life could be.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                            There are a few truths about Mexico's gastronomic culture:

                                                                                                                                                            1) It is generally better as you go South... with some exceptions.

                                                                                                                                                            2) Its always annoying when people go on a Missionary trip to some struggling shantytown on the border and generalize that all of Mexico is like that.

                                                                                                                                                            3) Tex-Mex & Cal-Mex generally comprises a Great Depression era interpretation of a very narrow base of recipes from Sonora & Chihuahua. Tex-Mex is generally equivalent to the weakest / least interesting aspects of Chihuahuan cuisine... and Chihuahua is generally one of the weakest / least interesting culinary states in Mexico.

                                                                                                                                                            But that is only a generalization... certainly people bragging about Chihuahuan cheeses, Beef, Apple Pie, Sweets etc., are not mistaken... there is some wonderfully tasting dishes there... you just don't have the variety, or the technical complexity & sophistication you might find in say Oaxaca.

                                                                                                                                                            This post illustrates it beautifully: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/564794

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                                            Agreeing with EatNopal
                                                                                                                                                            Things like scallop tacos are quite common and cheap in the areas where the catch resides, like Sinaloa.Duck preparations are also relatively inexpensive in the areas where ducks are raised.I know roadside shacks in places Mexico city that serve duck, rabbit, bone marrow stew,ant eggs, etc. cheap with haute preparations.

                                                                                                                                                            I can get callo tacos(scallop) in TJ for $2 at a taqueria frequented entirely by working class locals.There is a difference between the callos for "callo de hacha" or sashimi de callo and the kind found in say a "taco gobernador" with callos.

                                                                                                                                                            "All the times I've been to Mexico, not the resorts, I'm talking about taking the train and bus across the country, real Mexicans, that is the majority, seemed to eat rice, beans, tortillas, and grilled meats"

                                                                                                                                                            This seems to say that all Mexicans are poor, and only Americans eating haute cuisine are at resorts.Resort food is hardly ever Mexican or even Mexican "alta cocina." It usually wreaks.The perception that Mexicans eat only beans, rice, and grilled meats is first propagated by lame Mexican-American restaurants, and reinforced by mundane and clueless travelers.

                                                                                                                                                            I'm Mexican(pocho, if you will, my family hails from Aguascalientes), and I've traveled by all means within 17 states in Mexico.This doesn't necessarily qualify any of us, what Mexican ties or blood we have, it's a commitment to understanding the cuisine, learning its history, and knowing its place in that culture.The novice-"what's that,looks interesting?" intermediate-"that's chiles in nogada" expert-"chiles en nogada was created by nuns for Emperor Iturbide and the colors.............

                                                                                                                                                            Mexicans coming to the US are cheap labor at present, farmers,gardeners, housekeepers,etc. from a small number of states, maybe 3.EatNopal would know this.Of course they don't bring rich culinary tradition with them. As if US plumbers, construction workers,and cable installers could open authentic American restaurants in Mexico and provide the clientele.

                                                                                                                                                            Mexicans of all generations have lost their traditions here as restauranteurs and diners.My first generation grandparents in Stockton, CA and all their peers eat combo plates!

                                                                                                                                                            The handful of good Mexican restaurants in the US are still in touch with the land.It's my favorite Sinaloan marisquero in LA, where his mother-in-law brings the shrimp and fish from Mazatlan.He refuses to serve many dishes that would be expensive here by substituting with cheaper ingredients, he just using his knowledge and skill to provide a good menu executed with excellence.He can still name stands and restaurants that current throughout Sinaloa, and he goes there to eat and study to stay abreast of practices and dishes.As an example.Another place in LA made an aguachile with cheap shrimp, not Mexican white shrimp;tasted like hell.Another put imitation crab on my tostada mixta,que lastima.

                                                                                                                                                            The "real" Mexicans that have stayed behind represent a much broader economic group than many would think.If they can't afford Patzcuaro style duck at the fancy restaurant in Michoacan, then I bet they know a specialty stand or fonda that does a more rustic version just as good, maybe better.When I come across these affordable treasures, I usually see "real" Mexicans of all stripes.

                                                                                                                                                            99% of US Mexican restaurants are devoid of tradition, integrity, or any depth.The 1% that are exceptional are mere gateways.Go to Chichen Itza in LA and be versed in a mere sliver of what Yucatan has to offer.When you arrive you will have a good starting point to look for the extensions of that cuisine if you are sharp.If not, you will go around like Johnny Depp in "Once Upon a Time in Mexico", ordering "puerco pibil"(cochinita) at every restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                            I think this probably holds true for all cuisines that are transplanted, like American restaurants abroad.There's a New Orleans joint that just opened in TJ,yikes! Cajun and creole in LA, blah!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                                                                                                              Oh, of course this doesn't stop me from eating at all kinds of restaurants from all parts of the world here in LA, including Mexican and Tex-Mex!Just found a Tex-Mex recently that I enjoy.Grilled meats, now there I'm a unrepetant snob.The only carne asada I ever order is in Sonora, Coahuila,Sinaloa,Chihuahua, or Nuevo Leon;also at places throughout Mexico serving Sonoran beef.There's my food that they just don't get right here in the US.Wrong cut, wrong beef, just wrong!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                                                                                                                Edit: This was supposed to be in reply to eat_nopal

                                                                                                                                                                I think the point was more that there is a difference between mexican "cuisine" and everyday food. I am certainly aware that not everybody in Mexico is poor, but then, neither am I and I don't eat haute cuisine every day... if you do, more power to you.

                                                                                                                                                                I also agree that if a Mexican restaurant is holding itself out as an authentic respresention of real Mexican cuisine and the menu lists the usual Tex-Mex fare, then it is not Mexican cuisine (you know, it is not an absolute requirement to have traveled to Mexico to be aware of Mexican Cuisine -there's these new-fangled things called...books.)

                                                                                                                                                                And it is snobby to say that Tex-Mex is all an abomination. If you don't like it, that's fine for you, but it can be terrific in it's own right.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                                  I think what you are missing is that in some parts of Mexico items that abroad would be considered haute, are just street food. For example, Tostadas de Erizo / Sea Urchin Roe tostadas... in Ensenada they are sold by a street vendor to hungry blue collar workers. Or Abulone on the shell... in some parts of Baja the dive bars will give them to you complimentary if you buy a large bottle of beer. These are two dishes that in Manhattan or San Francisco would cost $$$.

                                                                                                                                                                  And what you are really missing... at least what I am trying to point out... is that in Mexico you have people procuring great, local ingredients that give each region a true identity.. I have an uncle who made a small fortune selling sandwiches at his little Mexico 70 corner store in Colonia La Loma Tlanemex (Tlanepantla, Mexico City)... he would get his ham & head cheese from an Chiapas migrant who cured it all himself, he would make his own Chiles en Escabeche and get up at 4AM everyday to get on the Subway to Mercado de La Merced for the best avocados & tomatoes at the best prices... then make a second trip for several boxes of fresh baked sanwich bread at the Bimbo outlet... and make a third trip to a Panaderia for fresh baked bolillos. My the time the neighborhood factory had its first lunch shift he was ready to dispense hundreds of delectable sandwiches in small window of time.

                                                                                                                                                                  Compare that to your typical Tex-Mex operation with canned yellow "cheese", institutional lard, 1 pot of beans, 1 pot of rice etc., its not even about the price points of the food... its about superior (if modest) ingredients... like fresh ground dried corn for tortillas, recent harvest heirloom beans, fresh veggies from the Almarcigo etc., that is what generally seperates mainland Mexican dining from Tex-Mex.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                                    I call that stand in Ensenada the Water Grill sobre ruedas.Matter of fact, the raw seafood options at the Ensenada stand blows the Water Grill's raw seafood out of the water.Tostada de herizo, de bacalao, abulon, ostion huarache,ceviche de pescado, 10 hand crafted salsas, chocolates, and more.I thought of turning myself into the police for paying so little.And, they've been there for decades.These places are in every city.

                                                                                                                                                                    Not only that, Tex-Mex only draws from a fraction of the northern Mexico palate of dishes, less ingredients, less technique,and poor ingredients.A bowl of excellent Tex-Mex cocido doesn't even touch a pedestrian Sonoran, Chiapan, or Durangan cocido.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                                                                                                                      The post below about MD Crab Cakes just made me crave the typical Tampico style Crab and/or Shrimp Cakes... no breading... just flesh mixed with diced onions, fresh chiles, cilantro & beat eggs.... and how bouts some Bocoles topped with Mullet Roe!

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                                      Have you had that abalone recently? My experience is that the cost of seafood in Mexico is rising quite a bit , perhaps due to drastically reduced populations in the Sea of Cortez and other fishing areas. Indeed, I believe the commercial fisheries for wild abalone in Mexico have basically tanked. They are farming abalone in Mexico, but I find it hard to believe that the farmed stuff would be cheap enough to distribute as a giveaway in bars; farming is fairly expensive (takes a long while for those little guys to grow).

                                                                                                                                                                      My Mexican colleagues tell me that agribusiness is taking over in Mexico in much the same way that it is/has in the US, and if so, procuring those great ingredients at reasonable prices may become a fond memory, particularly in certain regions. I really wonder if your uncle could do the same thing today that he did to build his fortunes (and how many years ago was that?).

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                                                                        Hey Susaninsf.I just had abalone the other day from a carreta in TJ.It was part of my delicious tostada mixta.There's a stand in ensenada that does ceviche de abulon, not expensive at all.The only thing that seems to be expensive right now are callos, but still, the price is very reasonable compared to the US.

                                                                                                                                                                        Seafood places in LA, Mexican seafood places, serve imitation abalone, and will charge an arm and a leg for a callo de hacha, most places not serving it at all due to its price putting off the Mexican clientele.But, the callos for callo de hacha are higher quality than the ones used in a tacos gobernador, which is so accessible to the proletariat.

                                                                                                                                                                        Mexico does have corporations yes, and agrobusiness, but all you need to do is go to the mercados to see that they don't dominate.Even in TJ, most people get their tortillas from a local tortilleria, and in the Valle de Guadalupe their are small farmers all over, selling their produce at roadside stands, which makes it into restaurants and street stands alike.Take a look a field corn in Mexico and tell me if agrobusiness could do such a beautiful mess.Not a dicernible row in sight, and surrounded by nopales:)

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                                                                          Susan... for now... and I imagine for at least a couple of decades... and perhaps forever (if the U.S. collapses & Mexico goes bust with it).... the biggest cost components in Mexican ingredients are.... distribution & marketing. Even with agribusiness... take one of Mexico's most intense agri-industries... Tequila. I have relatives & friends of my parents that grow many hectares of Maguey in the highland's of Jalisco (unfortunately selling a significant portion of their crop for that Patron crap)... but anyway... quality local, veeery artisinal, Tequilas sold by the jug or barrel - some terrible... some incredible... sell for nothing... even in the cantinas you can get a bottle for $150 pesos (and it comes with free artisinal Tostadas topped with various Encurtidos)... while the acceptable, Blue Agave stuff we get in the States starts at about $30/bottle... with most of the better Tequilas $60 and over.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                                            What would you suggest in the $30-$60 plus range in the U.S.? I like El Tosoro and Cazadorez. My wife likes Hornitos. Your opinion please, be brutal if necessary. She won't read this and I can take it.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                                                              Cazadorez & Hornitos are both good top shelf mixing tequilas. Hornitos is one of the best values for that perhaps... but be careful because when Agave gets expensive they have reformulated to 51%+... currently its 100% Blue Agave.

                                                                                                                                                                              El Tesoro is an okay blended Tequila but doesn't have any special terroir characteristics. I like:

                                                                                                                                                                              1948 Azahares de Jalisco distilled by Casa Tequilera de Arandas using all highland agave

                                                                                                                                                                              33 distilled by Tequila Selecto de Amatitlan

                                                                                                                                                                              3 Fusiles distilled by Tequilera Newton e Hijos

                                                                                                                                                                              Adrenalina distilled by Leticia Hermosillo Ravalero

                                                                                                                                                                              An interesting one is Real Hacienda by Pernod Ricard distilled just outside of Mexico City

                                                                                                                                                                              Of stuff that is more widely available in the U.S. I currently like Corzo Blanco as well as Los Danzantes aged Mezcal (not exactly tequila).

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                                                Thank you very much. Does it say on the bottle when it's been reformulated? I would assume it does due to Mexico's strict laws on tequila. What forces cause Agave to be expensive? Is it a poor harvest due to weather or other factors? Does the value of the peso or other economic matters have an impact?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                                                                  If the bottle says its Tequila then it means it has at least 51% Blue Agave Tequila grown in the Tequila NOMs.

                                                                                                                                                                                  If it says its 100% Blue Agave Tequila.... then its the good stuff. Hornitos never advertised their change in formulation as far as I am aware. It was my first sipping Tequila back when I was 16 or 17 and starting to appreciate fine spirits. I remember it was in the late 90's that it was no longer 100% Tequila... and recently I looked at a bottle and it is again.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Around the late 90's is when fine Tequila took off. It replaced Scotch & Cognac as Mexico's most consumed premium spirit... and went from being a Mexican thing to do... to being the thing to do... chic bars serving nothing but Tequila started to sprout in the wealthiest cities... at the same time it was successfully marketed as a fine drink to International markets... and in addition, the major labels started hoarding some of the best production to create super duper premium aged products etc.,

                                                                                                                                                                                  It took off so fast that production couldn't keep up (it takes 7 to 10 years to mature an Agave plant for production)... eventually the government opened up the DO to include areas outside of the valleys of Tequila, Jalisco... and that is when we started seeing production in the Highlands as wall as near Puerto Vallarta... and even outside of the state of Jalisco.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                                                    EN, does the agave from different areas taste different, as in grapes and wine?
                                                                                                                                                                                    Who knew this thread would turn into a tequila instruction course?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bbqboy

                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh yeah without a doubt.

                                                                                                                                                                                      > Varietals / Cultivars.... Tequila refers specifically to Webber Blue Agave but within Mexico you will find dozens of widely distilled cultivars of Agave... the fruit used in Mezcal is actually different than what is used in Tequila, Sotol & others.

                                                                                                                                                                                      > Terroir... even within the same Cultivar you certainly have dramatic differences in Terroir between say the Tequila valleys (about 4000 ft above sea level), the Highlands (7000 ft above sea level), the Coastal DOs near Puerto Vallarta (1000 to 2000 ft above sea level)...

                                                                                                                                                                                      > Aside from Climate then you have soil... one of the definitive elements of Tequilas from Arandas is the iron rich red clay soils near there.... and then you throw in Water.

                                                                                                                                                                                      My first lesson in Terroir... I was 13 years old, visiting the Rancho my mom grew up in for the first time... and I was heading out with my couisins to walk a couple dozen cows to pasture at a lot about 4 miles away... and their dad (my mom's uncle)... gives me a map he had just drawn and spends then next 20 minutes describing all the situation of all the wells that might encounter... the water with the purpleish hue tastes best... and I can find at the following 3 wells... but he has a feud with the Reynoso's over the mountain... so I should probably avoid their well... it will take me 1 kilometer out of my way but his friend has a very good well near adjacent to flour mill and if I really don't care I can drink from his brother's well, its on our way, but not as tastey... its too salty etc., etc.,

                                                                                                                                                                                      You can then imagine why those of us that know Tequila appreciate the truly local stuff... that and the fact that uncut Tequila goes anywhere from 70 proof to 150 proof... and if aged or otherwise tempered properly its inherently more satyisfying than the standardized 80 proof formulations you get from the big producers.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                                                                Hello James.EatNopal is right about that Adrenalina. I just had it at the Expo Tequila in TJ thought it to be a great value and a real Mexican style tequila, lots of heat as well as flavor.The same comapany that puts out Adrenalina also produces Alma de Mujer, and Cava de Oro, more smooth styles, also very good.

                                                                                                                                                                                EN speaks the gospel, don't do anything with Cazadores but throw it in a cocktail.Not for shooting, but perfect for a nice paloma.Hornitos, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                Anything from Arandas rocks, pretty much without exception.Terroir!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                Try "Aha!Toro" anejo which is available in the US and amazing for the price.I also recommend Cofradia, Don Eduardo, and Don Valente anejos, all less than El Tesoro.Bracero is a 100% agave anejo under $25 and Pueblo Viejo is another inexpensive reposado that will blow you away.Don Alvaro anejo has interesting flavors that hint at a mezcal like smokiness. El Tesoro is 100% agave, it's smooth and very pleasurable, but many others mentioned by EN and here have many beautiiful surprises for less $$.Tapatio blanco is amazing, again with smokiness and soul.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank-you for sharing your knowledge, streetgourmetla and EN.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                                          I'm eating in a restaurant tomorrow for the first time since...Hurricane Ike. Tex-Mex it is...carnitas sound good. I was going to do seafood...had a craving for oysters rockefeller...no oysters to be had. Galveston bay oyster reefs awash in...too much saltwater and silt.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you for pointing out what I have maintained for years, and Eat Nopal has always supported. The cuisine de Mexico is wonderfully diverse, and what finds its way to the US is often adulterated - often beyond recognition.

                                                                                                                                                                        Too many thread on CH have focused on what we, in the US, think is "Mexican." Little, beyond the inital concept, really is.

                                                                                                                                                                        Think mole. Which state? Which family? It is almost impossible to define "authentic" mole, as it is personal and different, even within families and cities and states.



                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                                                                                                                          "If they can't afford Patzcuaro style duck at the fancy restaurant in Michoacan, then I bet they know a specialty stand or fonda that does a more rustic version just as good, maybe better."

                                                                                                                                                                          I haven't seen this dish anywhere here in Pátzcuaro, or nearby. I admit, I haven't been to every restaurant in the area, and probably won't get around to it.
                                                                                                                                                                          I did get some luscious appetizer Tacos de Pato at El Cardenal, in Centro, México, D.F. not long ago.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Anonimo

                                                                                                                                                                            Yeah, sometimes these dishes are not easy to find during our trips.Many times its just shear luck that you hit the jackpot.Tacos de pato are excellent, there are places in Baja where I've had duck tacos.I've been to Michoacan, but haven't had the chance yet to do any serious recon.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                                                                                                                            When I was in cooking school, our French-chef teacher told us that there are four great cuisines in the world--French, Italian, Chinese and Mexican. But, he said, the last two are not very well known.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Mona Williams

                                                                                                                                                                              Um...not very well known? Did he mean not generally known to people who don't know much about food in the first place that they're as diverse and vibrant and complex regional as French and Italian are? I don't understand.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                                                people often confuse what the know with what everyone knows, and what they believe with what they know

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                  Since he was a chef from France, he was probably talking about french people.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Certainly in the five years I've been here, I've never met anyone here that knows anything about chinese or mexican cuisine, except for foreigners that is. Everybody here thinks that samosas are chinese and frijoles are only available in, bizarrely, chinese grocery stores.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: phanmo

                                                                                                                                                                                    Where's "here"? That's interesting about the frijoles. Any ideas why?

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                                                  I think that's what he meant. I know it was a surprise to me, at least. But that was a long time ago!

                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                                            I think you need to totally separate "authentic" Mexican food from "Tex-Mex." This attack on Tex Mex is silly: we still love our Chicago deep dish or NY style pizza though it is not the same kind of pizza one would find in Rome. I believe it is possible to find authentic Mexican food, although I have much more luck finding Latin restaurants. Also, there is bad Tex-Mex and good Tex-Mex. I still insist that at Tex Mex restaurants the guacamole be real, tortillas be made on-site, and the queso not look like gelatin.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bblonde

                                                                                                                                                                              I strongly agree. While Tex-Mex has many roots in border Mexican cuisine, it differs from many other cuisines in Mexico, and is also a blend, an amalgam of two cuisines, based on ethnicity and on geography.

                                                                                                                                                                              Still, Tex-Mex is what I grew up with, and what I enjoy most. To declare it as "THE authentic" Mexican cuisine, would be foolish.


                                                                                                                                                                      3. BBQ, but specifically Kansas City BBQ.

                                                                                                                                                                        KC Masterpiece doesn't really represent KC BBQ at all. Here's an article about that: http://bonbonvoyages.com/kansas-citys...

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rubinow

                                                                                                                                                                          At least Cali now has some decent Texas or NC style BBQ places.

                                                                                                                                                                          When I was growing up, BBQ was almost always very thinly sliced well done anonymous 'beef' covered with anonymous sweet tomato/molasses 'sauce' - yuck! Fortunately except for some chains *cough*Arbys*cough* it is dying out.

                                                                                                                                                                          I'm not sure what 'California cuisine' is, but just adding steamed veggies to anything is NOT it!

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Yes. I see it with takes on Southern Cuisine. Now, I know that "Southern" incorporates a lot of culinary territory, but hey, deep-fried catfish! How can you get THAT wrong? Same for most preparations of "greens." Just taking out a pack of Bird's Eye and heating it, is not Southern "greens." I find that too many "corporate kitchens," just don't get these things right. Maybe it's the need to use some "healthy" oil and no lard. Same thing for "healthy" Mexican fare, that tastes like cardboard - rather tastless cardoboard at that.

                                                                                                                                                                          I have had Philly "cheesesteaks" right off of Walnut St, but just don't get them. That has nothing to do with the prep, or the spots, that I have tasted them, only MY personal tastes. However, I do see them everywhere and *imagine* that they are bleak and not even close to the "real" thing. Do not take this as any negative reflection on the beloved Philly Cheesesteaks. Just remember that I'm one of "them Rebels," who did not grow up with this delicacy.

                                                                                                                                                                          I think that most "regional cuisine" cooked by corporate kitchens elsewhere misses in most cases.

                                                                                                                                                                          Does anyone remember "Cajun Blackened Anything?" Chef Paul Prudhomme hit on something decades ago, but then the corp. kitchens got hold of it. The rest was a culinary horror flick and a bad one.


                                                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                            I second the Buffalo wings, have seen them smothered in minced garlic, baked, made with pinapple hot sauce, boneless, breaded and many other unspeakable things... its not that hard to deep fry some wings and shake them in frank's red hot and butter. ps its beef on weck not weke

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mattyjaco

                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for a terrible food memory. I grew up near Buffalo and loved wings. Moved to NYC, where wings were finally becoming "standardized" (to Buffalo standards, that is) in the late 70's. Enjoyed wings just about all of my adult life. In 2000 we moved 90 miles NW of NYC - I ordered wings at a pizza place without a second thought. OMG they were awful - "smothered in minced garlic" as you said above. Yuck. I began to make my own, and yes, they are really simple to make at home. I don't even have a deep fryer!

                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for that unpleasant memory. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                              Cajuns hated Prudhomme for that Blackened Redfish recipe. A real tourist dish.
                                                                                                                                                                              First, everyone was horrified that he would do that with a good cast iron skillet. It ruined the seasoning.
                                                                                                                                                                              Then, the popularity of that dish caused the redfish to be over-fished to near extinction. Wildlife and Fisheries banned even sport fishing of it for several years. It took that long for it to recover. It's a real local favorite for sport fishing and for eating.
                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, that entire episode is a nightmare.
                                                                                                                                                                              "Blackened," aka burned, food still shows up on menus and it's just heinous.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                Sport fishing for redfish was never banned In Texas and I doubt it was in Louisiana where they have more liberal size and possession limits. What was and still is banned is commercial netting for redfish and speckled trout in Texas, and I know there are restrictions in Louisisana if not an outright ban. The species have rebounded spectacularlly, yet and redfish served in a restaraunt will be the inferior farm raised.I've made blackened redfish from fish that I caught, it was quite good, but was a number of years ago. What is done down here is redfish on the half shell. The fish is filleted leaving the skin a scales on and is grilled on an open fire skin side down, turned over, repeat, serve with lemon butter. yumm.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                                                                  Growing up in the MS Gulf South, I was astounded when trying to order speckled trout in NOLA some years ago. I was told that it was "out of season." Out of season? How could this be? We caught "specks" all year long, though more often in the Fall/Winter. How could this fish be "out of season." Things had changed. Same for redfish. As a kid, I caught rat-reds most of the year, and bull-reds in the Autumn and Winter. They too were now relegated to a season.

                                                                                                                                                                                  My, how things had changed, Chef Paul not withstanding.


                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                    I ordered a special of speckled trout at a restaurant in Galveston last winter and asked the waiter where it was from. He assured me it was caught locally, but having known better I did not press the issue. It could have been from Louisiana, but I suspect Mexico, as that is where some red snapper comes from when unavailable locally. It is illegal to net fish here, also to resell fish caught by sportsmen, much to the chagrin of one of the gentlemen from whom I buy shrimp in Houston. He's always trying to get me to sell him some fresh specks, nothing finer. Anyway, the trout in Galveston was a bit past it's prime, but still edible. It was at a place named Clary's, on a canal on the bay. They must have taken alot of water during Ike, and I hope they can re-open. I'm quite fond of it, as are many locals.

                                                                                                                                                                            3. Frozen custard. Nothing seems to come close to Kopp's back "home" in Milwaukee. Nor, for that matter, do knock-off butter burgers I've had here.

                                                                                                                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Jen76

                                                                                                                                                                                I remember when my sister moved to Minnesota. Her husband was Italian (Eye-talian, in Minnesotan), so that was a part of her cooking repetoire. She discovered that her neighbors made their lasagna with cottage cheese. Riccota? what's that? They also love fried wontons with a cottage cheese filling.

                                                                                                                                                                                I've had "real" Buffalo wings in Buffalo, but I can also appreciate wings done with other types of sauces and in different ways. No, they aren't Buffalo Wings, but they are tasty. In the instance of the Buffalo Wing, the cook at the Anchor Bar didn't just invent a new dish, she used something that people used to throw away (or use in stock) in a completely different way. Now there are ton of variations on the chicken-wing-as-food concept, but only one Buffalo Wing.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                  nope, it's a cream cheese filling in the fried wontons in mn, *never* cottage cheese. we used to fill&fold 'em by the bus-tub full during the slow afternoon shifts. it's a pared-down version of "cheese rangoon" etc. and indigenous to here, as near as we can tell, discussed at length on a couple of our local threads.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for the correction. I knew that -- my brain was thinking "cream", but by fingers typed "cottage". Actually they were pretty good., just not what I was used to as being "chinese food", which of couse is probably not even close to REAL Chinese food. It's kind of like a game of whispering down the lane with ethnic foods......

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                      oh the cream cheese wontons are SO ridiculously & laughably *not* authentic to any "real" chinese cuisine, obviously!!! LOL ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                      but. . . they are strangely addictive, the crispy, hot fried wonton, the gooey, melted, creamy cheese, usually dipped in a too-sweet dipping sauce, sometimes accompanied by a nice rice vinegar dressed carrot & daikon salad. . . sometimes, only CCWs will do-- the minnesotan chinese-american contribution to greasy, junky street food, if you will! many local variations/add ins to the cream cheese exist, establishments riff on CCWs just as they do the area's signature hamburger-- the "jucy lucy." i am not sure where CCWs originated (i'd be interested to know). my hunch is that it was either the work of leann chin, or an anonymous cook at the nankin (my former employer). here's both on the same page:


                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                        See, that's why I think food is such a great thing. Here you have a "Chinese" concept that was bastardized into something it was never meant to be but which tickled the tastebuds of another segment of the population. Who cares if it's not really "Chinese"? It tastes good. I think we just get entirely too up tight about whether or not a particular dish is legit or righteous sometimes.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                    A girl at work was just talking about her Midwestern-lasagna with cottage cheese instead of ricotta. Apparently, she didn't know of the ricotta type until moving to Florida because that's how mom made it back home.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TampaAurora

                                                                                                                                                                                      I've seen a number of regional cookbooks from the '60's & '70's using cottage cheese for lasagna. We forget how unavailable many foods were a short time ago, ricotta being one of them...The variety most regions have access to has increased dramatically!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                                                                                        As a cook (like most of us), I find the idea of cottage cheese lasagna to be perfectly sound and something I would gladly try were cottage cheese available here.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                                                          Many of us stateside forget how fortunate we are to have such an abundance to choose from...your posts are often a good reminder of how something relatively common here is a rarity in many places.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                                                            We can't often get cottage or ricotta cheeses here, so I have learned to make ricotta at home. It's easy and much better than store bought.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                                                                                            Even growing up in a non-traditional Italian area, it was always Ricotta. I cannot imagine anything substituting.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Now, this was in the '50s & '60s, so maybe I missed an epoch, or two. Even when French wife did lasagna (in the '70s), she would not hear of anything but Ricotta.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Maybe that's why we always order about 20 lbs. of cheeses from Italy.


                                                                                                                                                                                    2. . I live in Mexico and i used to get very mad when i watched "mexican" recipes in the us, none of it looked real. Tortilla soup is just something else in the us, nothing close to what we have in Mexico, Ceasar salad is very different in the US too, which by the way, was created in Tijuana by my friend´.s grandfather... But then i realized that here in Mexico we do just the same, we incorporate our ingredients to foreign food, just visit a sushi place in any Mexican city and you´d be amazed, we have maki rolls with any type od chili, huitlacoche, avocado, plantain,...and these dishes are now beginging to be ofered in Japan. Nachos is an American invention, but we like them in Mexico and we consume them. ....Most of the people who cross the border do it fo economic reasons, they come from poor social classes so the food they know is simple, most of the time very good, but they haven´t eaten huitlacoche, huauzontles, dorado from the gulf, queso relleno, xoconoztle, flor de calabaza....

                                                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Xacinta

                                                                                                                                                                                        The notion of finding huitlacoche inside my maki roll is at the same time both fascinating and very, very frightening.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                                                                                                                                                          there´s a mexican maki call itakate. (In náhuatl itacate means lunch...) one of the ingredients is chile de arbol....Before globalization, when there were no Burger Kings and Subways all over Mexico, our hamburgers included a Margarita bun, no sesame seeds but it has a very different texture, it is more elastic, than the American hamburger bunrefried beans, jalapeños or chiles toreados.....Mexican hot dogs disregard the sausage, they usually use the cheapest, and put all the attention on the toppings. The stands around the Universidad de Sonora, Unison, in Hermosillo, offer picadillo, carne con chile, fried potatoes, chiles toreados, chiles güeros, beans (refried and bola) mushrooms, cheese....they use a special bun.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Xacinta

                                                                                                                                                                                            "Before globalization, when there were no Burger Kings and Subways all over Mexico, our hamburgers included a Margarita bun, no sesame seeds but it has a very different texture, it is more elastic, than the American hamburger bunrefried beans, jalapeños or chiles toreados....."

                                                                                                                                                                                            Careful with generalizations... burgers have always been very popular for many decades throughout the Tlanepantla & Naucalpan suburbs... I never saw a burger that had refried beans... and not all were served on Bimbo buns (which by the way are pretty much the same as the classic American buns)... burgers were often served in Pan Cemita, Bolillo or Pan de Caja... with many interesting variations.... Bacon Wrapped Patty, Chorizo in the Patty, Soy sauce in the Patty, Jerez Wine in the Patty, toppings included Guacamole, Mole Rojo etc., etc.,

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                                                              i have never seen those burgers in Mexico and i have lived here all my life, a burger with pan de caja, pan cemita??? jeréz??? Mole! where in Tlalne?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Xacinta

                                                                                                                                                                                                You need to get around.... there is a weeknight Tianguis in Colonia Tlalnemex near Bugambilia & Nardo.... there is another weeknight Tianguis on Toluca near the Anillo Periferico... and then there are a number of hamburger joints near Politechnico as well the ISSTE campus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                And over in Naucalpan on San Luis & Calzada Molinito near the Rosticeria there are a couple of great Hamburger & Pizza joints putting out VERY Mexicanized stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Biscuits. I grew up in the South and the only biscuit I've ever tasted outside the South that tastes "right" to me is at McDonald's. Those big, thick, cakey things aren't biscuits in my book. A biscuit is relatively thin with a distinct crust on the top and bottom.

                                                                                                                                                                                        28 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                          Phillippe's The Original in L.A (credited with inventing the French Dip) makes really great biscuits. In fact, my dad used to bake them when we first migrated to the States prior to his promotion to Head Cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Of course... as Mexcentric as I am... I would tell you the only real biscuit I've had outside of Mexico (where there is long term tradition of making French style bisquets) is in Hawaii.... where they call them Scones!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                                                            Hi "Eat"
                                                                                                                                                                                            So tell me: what is that biscuit like? English-type scones I would never consider a biscuit but when you mix "Mexcentric" and "French" and "Hawaii" I wouldn't have a clue what that kind of biscuit would be. But it sure sounds interesting :)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                              Well... they are the shape of a biscuit... and they have a light honey glaze over the exterior... typically you buy them at Panaderias (as oppossed to having them at a restaurant joint)... and the texture is a bit more crumbly & dense than a Southern biscuit.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I used to think English scones were the crappy, dry stuff they sell at Starbucks and other coffee shops until I was pointed to a good Wine Country version of the real deal... and learned they are relatively moist & softer although still crumbly.

                                                                                                                                                                                              The following image is the closest I could find for a Bisquete (although they rarely have dried fruit interspersed).


                                                                                                                                                                                              Where my parents are from... municipio Union de San Antonio in the highlands of Jalisco they traditionally make a couple of breads that are similar to Southern Biscuits called Gordas de Acero... they can be made with either Wheat or Corn flour and usually have Natas (milk skins), Whey Milk or Buttermilk in them, and they are cooked over fire in an Iron "oven" that you put hot charcoal on the top as well... and they are the diameter of a pancake and height of a Biscuit... but these aren't very common in other parts of the country.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                                                                Actually... here is a more representative Bisquet (and made with Lard as they should be!):


                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Isn't it interesting how food connects us all in one way or another? Your ravioli's are my pierogies, are her steamed wontons, are his tamales........ Scones, bisquits, bisquets? Sushi in Mexico, tortilla soup in Philly, fried wontons in Minneapolis. I love it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                    PattiCakes, I LOVE your comment. This is a great thread and totally points out what you say.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                                                                  That definitely LOOKS like my kinda biscuit but, like you say, sweeter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah.. I think the Biscuit / Bisquet originates in France and then evolves in regional variations in the U.S. south (via the Acadians) and Eastern Mexico (via the Barcelonettes).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm skeptical about the French 'origin' of southern style biscuits. The first European settlers in the southeast US were mostly from the U.K. No doubt the big wave of Scots-Irish immigrants that blanketed the interior South brought their soda bread recipes with them. Could be there was some French creole influence at some point, but the traditional recipes (Irish, French, Southern US) are different enough from each other that I'd call ours a local creation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    BTW your (linked) bisquet pictures look remarkably like the ones available at most panaderias in LA. They have a glaze and texture very different than Southern biscuits, good in a different way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I agree about Philippe's biscuits - they are darn good Southern style :-) biscuits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Viva la difference!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DiveFan

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes... I am not saying the Southern biscuit isn't its own thing... I am almost 100% sure that the name is derived from the French. What I would caution about is saying that only Southern biscuits taste right... as it has an ancestor and at least one couisin in other parts of the world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DiveFan

                                                                                                                                                                                                        "BTW your (linked) bisquet pictures look remarkably like the ones available at most panaderias in LA. They have a glaze and texture very different than Southern biscuits, good in a different way."

                                                                                                                                                                                                        They should... but outside of Panaderia La Mascota in the late 1980s... I can't think of a version in L.A. that I think is worthwhile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DiveFan

                                                                                                                                                                                                          You have a curious sense of history. The first Europeans in the SE US were Spaniards. In 1755, approximately 11,000 Acadians from what are now the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia (and bits of Maine) were forcibly expelled, and many of those went to Louisiana, creating the "cajun" culture. New Orleans itself was founded by the French in 1718, ceded to Spain, returned to France briefly, and then sold to the US as part of the Louisiana purchase. I'd say the French had more influence on the culinary culture than the Scots or Irish, neither of whom were known for rarefied food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: KevinB

                                                                                                                                                                                                            LA isn't really the Southeast, it's more deep South or gulf region. I think the when Divefan said Southeast he was referring to VA/NC/SC/GA, at least that's the region I think of as Southeastern (also "Colonial South). The VA/NC/SC/GA region was influenced more by England/Ireland/Scotland than any other European region. The next greatest influence is probably West Africa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kare_raisu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, there were Huguenots in the Southeastern region. They primarily settled in the James River region of VA and the Charleston area in SC. There is some French influence on Southeastern food/culture, and I don't doubt that the word biscuit comes from the French word bisquet, but I wouldn't say that the food/culture of VA/NC/SC/GA is heavily influence by the French. When I think over the foods that I learned to cook from my grandmother, and the foods that I most strongly associate with the Southern Atlantic states, it's mostly foods that use cooking methods from the UK (lots of boiling) and ingredients from Africa, very little sauce, mostly seasoned with cured meat. Most distinctly Southern vegetables are African in origin, brought to N. America by slaves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                There is also a strong Moravian presence in the South, especially in Central NC, but I would say that Southern food/culture has strong Czech influences either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But it seems the French & Dutch pastry / baking traditions were extremely influential. This is not to say that most people were of French or Dutch extraction just that the quality of their baked goods was so high that it ended up being disproportionately influential.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: DiveFan

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Scots, due to climate and soil. cooked mainly w/ oats and barley. Scottish oatmeal, hagus, barley cakes and of course Scotch whiskey. Not biscuits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DiveFan

                                                                                                                                                                                                              French Hugenot presence is well recorded in the colonial history of the Carolinas and Georgia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kare_raisu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Jews too, maybe influenced by the bagel!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The links about Huguenots support what I should have articulated better. Being mostly poor farmers in search of land, Scots-Irish immigrants tended to settle away from coastal cities in sparsely populated areas of the Interior.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Due to superior communication, cross cultural (biscuit :) influences would happen faster along the coast where most of the original French and Spanish settlements were. If this biscuit style moved inland from the coast, that would sure point to African plantation cooks as a common factor.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              BTW where did the wheat flour come from, prior to 1803?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Very interesting subject, but way OT.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              When CKE bought Hardees, they totally destroyed a decent fast food biscuit. Carl's Jr doesn't even serve one. Grrrrrrrrrr.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DiveFan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Just consider that many American cooking traditions aren't extensively rooted for much more than 120 years... I was surprised to learn that Pit BBQ was unknown throughout MANY if not MOST southern towns until freed slaves started BBQ restaurants in the LATE 1800's. Biscuits could also follow this pattern? Maybe they only become part of the standard Southern tradition after the railroads were well developed?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Did southern style biscuits exist before commercial production of baking soda and baking powder in the 1800's? The same question arises with Irish soda bread and Scottish scones. For another thread I looked up scones, and found that the word can be traced back to 1500, but those were probably dense oat cakes. I recall reading that baking soda could be extracted from wood ashes, but home based processes produced an impure, weak product with a harsh taste, so pre-Arm-and-Hammer raised biscuits would have been an inferior product.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Is the word 'biscuit' more French or Italian ('twice baked'). Why is it used so differently in British English (the American cookie)? That difference in usage points to a post-Revolutionary war development.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Beaten biscuits are older than the baking powder biscuits, and more akin to hardtack / ships biscuits / pilot bread , etc. Pilot bread hangs on in places with a maritime past (New England, Alaska, Hawaii).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Available grain and flour appears to influence the choice of bread. Yeast breads work best with high protein wheat. An article on soda bread claimed that Irish grains were more suitable for non-yeast breads. The same might be said for softer Southern-US wheats.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In contrast, sour-dough is associated with the western migration (e.g. San Francisco and Alaska). Is that a result of available wheat, or conditions that favor a consistent culture of yeast. The American South may be too hot too maintain a long term sour-dough culture (without refrigeration).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Another issue when trying to trace the history of biscuits, scones and other breads, is how were they baked. While bakers have had ovens for along time, home ovens are a newer invention. Colonial cooking was mostly done using an open hearth, with pots set before or over the fire. So things like griddle cakes would have been common. Some breads were baked on boards set at an angle before the fire. The dutch oven with coals above as well as below produces conditions closer to what we think of as an oven. But I suspect most home baking had to await the cast iron wood fired stove, some time in the 19th century.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      whoa, you have a book on the make there...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Actually, "home baking" has been accomplished for millennia by simply taking your unbaked bread (or whatever) to the village baker and having him bake it for you. It's still a common practice in many parts of the world today. Blessed is the village with more than one baker! '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, and few bakers have only one oven in their yard. Wood fired beehive ovens are fantastic! Absolutely incredible bread, whether you make the dough or the baker does .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          PaulJ has hit on it-- despite the diverse national and cultural origins of american bakers, it was the introduction of commercial baking soda and baking powder in the 1800s that had such a huge & widespread impact on american-style biscuits and other quick breads. greg patent has done some fascinating scholarship on the historical recipes & the impact on baking powder and soda, which he referred to as an early "convenience product." very readable in his book "american baking (great recipes too).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I tend to think of them as "crumbly little biscuits," until they are dipped into clotted cream. At that moment, they take on a real identity all their own.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Even on United Airlines, these are great, just before touchdown at LHR at 5:30AM GMT.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My scones are triangular because my family recipe calls for shaping the dough into a round 8 inch disk and then slicing it into 6...like a pizza. I would never confuse them with bisquets, besides they have currants or raising and however salty in the inside they are covered with sugar....by the way, we once made beaten bisquets, you have to beat the dough for 30 min, it was woth it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. maryland crab cakes. I'm from Maryland and I would never dream of ordering a crab cake from out of state or worse yet, from a chain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                It should be a ball of crab meat (preferably lump) with a tiny little bit of binder and broiled. I hate seeing crab cakes that are flattened pucks with lots of bread crumbs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh and speaking of which, what is up with that crab cake throw down with bobby flay? Why in the heck didn't he go against someone from Maryland? Lame.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: bitsubeats

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  c'mon bitsu, other states have crab too, it's only fair to let them play even if they're just going to throw the ball into the cranky neighbor's yard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  did they call them Maryland crabcakes? only DE or VA can get away with that IMO (being all Chesapeake).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree - less binder the better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    hey DE and va can call them whatever they want...I was just surprised to see someone from Maine making crabcakes (when it's supposed to be the best) when it could've easily have been someone from Maryland.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    to be honest with you...I dont even like crab cakes that much. I much prefer picking my own crabs and smearing the "mustard" on sourdough bread. mmmmmm crab fat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bitsubeats

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I do agree that the crabcake is much more iconic of the Chesapeake. I envy Maine their lobster rolls let them excel at that. It would be laughable for someone from Annapolis to try to present a definitive one of those.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      definitely agree on the hockey puck version and even that's found around this region and they're all way too ubiquitous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hey, I grew up catching blue crabs in NJ and mom made a mean, round crab cake. I continue making them here in Maine using rock and Jonah crab meat and I feel it works well. We prefer the Maine crab roll to the lobster roll (usually).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: bitsubeats

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The local waterman would take issue with your crab cake definition and recipe.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hillfood is right about MD not having an exclusive claim to a down-home use for crabmeat in a basic fishcake using the crabmeat that was plentiful for the watermen in the Chesapeake Bay region. The MD/VA State line runs right down the middle of the Bay.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Most of the old-timers used all the meat that they picked from the crabs or what was left after the pickers sold the fancy lump off to the packing houses.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The recipes in church or community cookbooks use saltines or fresh bread crumbs (about 2 oz by weight) to a pound of crabmeat as a binder.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And they're mostly pan-fried (what we fancy city folks would call sauteed) or deep fried. Plain people are stove-top people.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I hate that everybody now wants crab cakes and the old New Orleans traditional specialties of Crab Chops and Stuffed Crabs have disappeared.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Local restaurants all serve crab cakes now.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Not a lot of difference but old food traditions are nice to preserve....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Similar to a crab cake mixture but formed around a large crab claw so it looks like a large chop - like a pork chop or something.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        They were served in seafood restaurants so I suppose someone dreamed it up ages ago as a presentation thing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Nobody did them at home.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Stuffed crabs were popular for home cooks and still are. Similar to crab cake mixture but stuffed back into the top shell of the crab and baked. Easy to prepare ahead and no worries about them falling apart.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There were pyrex crab shells and also disposable foil versions for people who didn't pick their own crabmeat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We called stuffed crab Deviled crab and crab chops are an old New England tradition too, but rarely found today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Marco... I think all communities with significant Crab harvest have some kind of stuffed Crab dish... certainly all the Mexican gulf states do (Tampico, Veracruz, Tabasco, Campeche etc.,) in multiple variations:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bitsubeats

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm not even sure what constitutes a Maryland Crab Cake here in Maryland. One would think that it would be made with local Blue Crab from the Chesapeake Bay & the recipe would be something traditional like the famous recipe from Mrs. Kitching's Smith Island Cookbook. But in reality most crab cakes here are made with pasteurized Blue Crab from the Phillipines and the recipes are as varied as colors in a box of Crayons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What I know is that I love crab cakes! I may have my own preference for what I think of as a Maryland Crab Cake, but I have to admt that I've had some great crab cakes in different states and cities even if they aren't my idea of Maryland style. I'm never sure what I'm going to get in Annapolis, why would I be surprised by what I get in Vegas, Chicago or Miami?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. One other thing I just thought of that's screwed up in the Philadelphia area is Pork Roll. There's only one Pork Roll - Taylor's! Anything else is a sorry imitation, that includes what most people in the Philadelphia suburbs think is Pork Roll - Hatfield. Hatfield is not Pork Roll! It's an inferior brand of meat that tries to pretend it can compete with Taylor's - it can't!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      25 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bucksguy14

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm intrigued - what is Pork Roll? I can imagine it relates to other things and it's something good, but need education. (only really been to Philly once - passed through a coupla times)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This link to Wikipedia explains it a whole lot better than I can - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pork_roll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bucksguy14

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Taylor Pork Roll, on a Kaiser roll with a fried egg, cheese and, oh, my God, ketchup. Heavenly. That, along w/ jfood's previously mentioned Sloppy Joe and the Italian Hot Dog (Maybe the panzerotti too. ) are New Jersey's contributions to the junk food world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think you guys might enjoy some Chicharron Prensado:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Fatty roasted, salted pork of various textures pressed into a cake... that is then sliced off & pan fried for a variety of purposes... gordita filling, tacos... or most naughty the Morelos style Pambazo... a sour Mexican roll... quickly deep fried then dunked into a spicy sauce... split open & filled with Chicharron prensado, cabbage, pickled vegetables & crema.... enjoy it while you are still a teenager.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Did someone say chicharron prensado!!! Compa, now you are making me hungry.The ultimate treat, fun for the whole family.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  THAT IS ONE AWESOME PICTURE!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Kinda like the Simpson's Barney Gumble on Duff Beer: "Where you been all my life?!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I basically try to enjoy all things chicharon (in moderation, hopefully), but have never experienced prensado.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Coupla questions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Where can I likely find it. My travels to Mexico have mostly been to Yucatan and Quintana Roo. I've had some great castacan, but never seen prensado.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Since I will most likely not get to a prensado producing area for some time, how can I make it?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  churchka posted this back in March, with no favorable results.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My search also runs dry.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Actually... I had some Chicharron Prensado tacos in the village of Tikul in Yucatan but that is near the Puuc Hills region.... I don't know if they make it in Quintana Roo. But you know... Cancun & Playa del Carmen are packed with Chilangos & people from the Anahuac.... that is why you can now find Nopales, Huitlacoche & other dishes not native to the Yucatan... I bet you can find them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Typical of my luck...we stayed at the Hotel San Antonio, just behind the zocalo, in Tikul 7 months ago while visiting the area. Did not see Chicharron Prensado - however it's probably more difficult finding something you don't know exists...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Can you compare prensado to perhaps a particular al pastor, where the cut of pork is belly? Seems to me that I did have roadside al pastor which was kinda like this, although not looking your picture...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh no... I don't mean to rub it in at all... we were driving by and decided to stop for some Yogurt etc., and ended up walking around the Plaza & adjacent streets browsing the locally made Shoes (which I believe is Tikul's primary artisinal tradition)... I saw a little shack with sheets of raw pork for cecina hanging in a corner... they asked if I wanted some Cochinita for breakfast... I told them every tourist trap I had been to only offered Cochinita, Pollo Pibil or Poc Chuc and needed something different. To which they offered Tacos de Chicharron Prensado, a guiso of Chaya & Ibes in Pipian & a Pico de Gallo (the real classic style with finely chopped Oranges, Jicamas, Cukes, Onions etc.... not the Tex-Mex misnaming of Salsa Mexicana).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You know, its gems like that which really make a trip. (kinda like the 'world markets' thread)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Don't want to get too far off-topic (chow police, ya know), but its still 'regional' related:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Read about Los Almendros restaurant. They have two loations, one in Merida (which disappointed) and the original in Tikul. Apparently it was here where poc chuc was invented.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Against better judgement, we sought it out.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'll just say it was a waste of an evening (we were the only two diners in a 100 seat hall, shoulda been the first tip-off). Well not an entire loss, the drive there and back in a moto-taxi fighting off dogs was very entertaining.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I will say that the roadside shacks are very often tentative to serve us (we're obviously gringos). After seeing our honest interest and that we're not looking for Burger King, they try hard to please and are very proud of their offerings, which can be fantastic....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  How about Taylor Pork Roll, 2 over easy, home fries and a Kaiser roll to mop up the yolk? One of the best places I've had that (other than cooking it myself) is at Luna Rosa in Delray Beach, FL. The owner is from NJ and has it delivered because he knows it's the ONLY pork roll!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    When my son was in college in Western PA, we used to buy Taylor Pork Roll and scrapple to take out to him. We also used to take pork roll camping with us back in the day as well when we would go to Watkins Glen or Pocono for the race weekends. Nothing beats grilled slices of pork roll on a roll with cheese and maybe some eggs. Talk about a portable breakfast and a pretty good hangover meal. Passadumkeg is right about Jersey being able to lay claim to popularizing it. A pork roll sammich was a big treat when you were downa shore on the boards. He's also right about it having to be Taylor's. They have their own unique set of spices -- others are just not the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ya wanna talk ketchup? How about a coupla slices of scrapple, all crispy on the outside & mushy in the middle, along with crispy home fries and eggs, all smothered in the red stuff. grease, carbs, cholesterol, sodium, nitrates.....that's my heritage!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Go Berg and Yacco's! My cousin owns the Pennsylvania Dutch company Wos Wit (Wild Grouse farms), off Rt 309, Tamaqua (Rushing Waters), Pa.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I like apple butter on my cottage, hot bacon dressing on my salad and maple syrup on my scrapple! I work ant a community radio station, WERU (www.weru.org) in E. Orland......Maine.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just for nice,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What, no chowcow? I am of PA Dutch/German heritage -- my ancestor lies under the olderst known tombstone in Berks county. Wos Wit is indeed a well-known brand to me. It is sold at my local farm stand! Interestingly enought, I live in E. Oreland ----PA. I work in Philly for a boss who commutes (ah-yup) back to Biddeford ME every weekend. Small, very circular world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Is apple butter considered regional with the PA Dutch? The apple butter/cottage cheese (schmeer casse) is part of the traditional PA Dutch 7 sweets & 7 sours served with meals? I know that Wos Wit makes many of the items that fall under that umbrella.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I never did maple syrup on my scrapple until I went to a Quilters convention in Lancaster this year. I had breakfast a a very good family diner staffed by Amish/Mennonite & decided to try it. I now prefer it! I think you were also part of the bacon fat in the fridge thread that brought up the hot bacon dressing idea. I may do that tomorrow for dinner -- I'm having very pleasant and overwhelming flash backs to childhood dinners. Maybe we should start a thread about foods that evoke strong memories from our childhood -things that really transport you back in time just by smelling or eating them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And don't forget picalilli, peach butter, and saurkraut.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My ancestors go back a hundred years. My grandfather, killed in the coal mines, lies in a Russian Orthodox cemetery in McAdoo. My uncles and I were all shipped off to Muhlenberg to get an education and get away from the mines. Wos Wit is run by Russian-Americans. Caught my first trout and milked my first cow on their farm. Tell your boss we call Biddeford "Little Boston" and the real Maine starts east of Ellsworth.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hawk Mountain is one of my favorite places in the world.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Eat a pickled egg for me will ya?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Went to the local farmer's market today & bough a jar of peach butter & some pickled beets. My grandmother used to keep bowls of pickled eggs on her bar (yep, she owned a bar) in Mayfield, PA -- up with all those coal miners. She was Rusian Orthodox. I'll tell my boss what you said about Biddeford. I had a lot of fun with him last week after the Pats lost.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Check out Yelp, if you get a chance. http://www.yelp.com/user_details?user...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I really kick myself for not being more attentive to what my Dad was making when I was young. He was always canning something (the time he blew it up, is a story for another day). We had our own garden, grapes, and fruit trees so he made picalilli and chow chow, and during apple season we had apple butter and sauce. I can remember the kraut bubbling away in a crock and he'd lovingly peek in to check it in the pantry ( where he was brewing his beer of the month.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              He used to talk about scrapple, head cheese, blood sausage and made us pickled eggs all the time. I've always thought he was German. He said he grew up on a farm in Nebraska. But the food roots have to be somewhere else to get these foods brought into his family, no?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: bbqboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  wow thank you bbqboy! I was wondering hot to do a little research, appreicate that!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My wife's family descends from Nebraska... the area about 150 miles west of Omaha was dominated by Scottish & Bohemian (Czech) immigrants... then as you go east you will find Dutch & German towns. From what I have learned about their family history it is clear that ethnic roots were very deep in the Plains states until WWI when they started to unravel:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  > The Scots no longer saw the Czechs as inferior heathens and began marrying into their families... and so both sides lost intensity in their cultural affiliations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  > The Germans had a hard time being German due to Germany "being the enemy" over two World Wars (incidentally this is was the trigger for Menonite communities to immigrate to Mexico)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  > The Dutch were able to retain their culture the longest, maintaining Dutch language boarding schools, newspapers etc., right up until WWII & 1950's Nationalist Fervor also undermined their ethnic affiliations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I imagine that the growing integration of Red, Brown & Black people into mainstream America also had an impact on Euro-American diversity... all of a sudden the Dutch, Germans, Czechs, Italians etc., realized they had much more in common with each other than they did with the other people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As for my long winded point... the dishes you described all sound in line with a blend of Dutch, German, Scottish & Czech roots (with a little Chinese Railroad Worker influence... as I have been told that is what Chow Chow is all about).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pretty good summation, EN, and yet there are still outposts on the Plains from the Tex/Mex border(or further?) to the Canadian provinces where you can find Bierocks and Deep Fried Tacos and Kolaches and Povitca. Might be Church socials or
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Fundraisers but the food of the Plains still exists.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bbqboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My god, I yearn for a bierock. My father's job took us to Russell, Kansas for nine miserable months when I was 14, and bierocks and one really good record store in Hays are the only good memories I have of that place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              oh man! That one makes me wanna run out to the grocery store, by-pass the bacon and sausage and reach for the red&white box!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: bucksguy14

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Case's Pork Roll is a legitimate product! Not Hatfield, though :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Fried chicken. It's supposed to be shallow fried, in about an inch of fat, and it takes a long time to cook. Deep fried chicken is just wrong, the breading is too heavy and it all falls off after one bite. Really, any "southern" food that is cooked in an industrial deep fryer instead of cooked in 1-2 inches of fat in a cast iron skillet. Or anything that is dipped in batter before frying, then called southern style. Southern frying, at least in Eastern NC, involves dusting in flour or cornmeal, maybe dredging in egg first, but never dipping in batter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Interesting. That's the way my Mom made fried chicken(w. sc)....no more than 1 inch of oil, I would guess. She never deep fried anything. I always just assumed she was trying to be healthy, or didn't want to waste that much oil. Don't tell her, but i like the martha stewart method better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes! and has to be in a cast iron pan. And if you don't follow all that with a nice milk gravy, well... it just isn't worth it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. One thing no one has mentioned yet: poutine. This French Canadian treat of fries, fresh cheese curds, and gravy is fast food's nirvana, but people keep messing it up, trying to "improve" it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Daniel Boulet puts pate de foie gras on it, for heaven's sake - talk about gilding a lily! Other places don't use cheese curds, just curls of regular cheese - it's not the same. And don't get me started on gravy made from powder.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: KevinB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Martin Picard of Au Pied de Cochon puts foie gras and a sauce mounted with foie gras on it... he's pretty French Canadian.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Blueicus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Is there enough history and tradition to poutine to worry about innovations? How far back does it go? 50 years? I see from the wiki article that the word itself has a number of uses, and an uncertain origin, though some claim it is a derivative of the English pudding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I'm amused with myself over this more than amused by the question. I had never really thought about it before, but while I KNOW there are "regional" foods,, when I encounter them fixed in different ways I seem to just think to myself, "Oh, this is the way they fix this around here." It never seems to occur to me that they're doing anything wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              On the other hand, if you read me very often, chances are you know where I stand on such cullinary conundrums as "carrot confit." That's just plain stupid and pretentious! But for the most part, in everyday cooking (but NOT haute cuisine where the language is specific) I don't mind whether they call it a Philly cheesesteak or a beef and cheddar with grilled onions and peppers, if it tastes good, chances are I won't waste the emotional energy over what they call it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "oh, this is the way they fix it around here". I think you may have successfully and succinctly closed this topic! Well put.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Well Caroline, I just don't know, because we in Cali ( is the hair raising yet?) do love our Tomatoes Carpaccio. You will get this if you were watching cherf m. Chiarello the other day. Talk about pretentious. Just slice the darn tomatoe and sit down!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I do understand the cuisine mixups some of us just have never known any better, but slowly as I go to different restaurants, and like you, I see the differences and I do appreciate them all.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What I'd do to have an experience as e nopal, man what a luky duck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I'm from Texas and I know the 2 foods people should be getting right is steak and pancakes and yet everyone is bad at them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If we're talking about international food though everyone screws up crepes. Not even most of France gets them right. Real savory crepes are called galettes and are made from buckwheat. Yet almost every crepe place I know here does them with practically the same batter as the sweet crepes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I will argue about american or whiz on a philly cheesesteak since neither was availible when the original cheesesteak was invented. Also REAL(non plastic wrapped) american cheese is cheddar. It's only called american to distinguish it from UK variants. I go with provolone 90% of the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Captainspirou

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Curious that even the original poster can't get the philly cheesesteak right! Is there any hope for the rest of us? The wiki articles don't help a lot. The best I can tell, the chopped meat sandwich originated some time in the 1930s. At some point someone started adding (unspecified) cheese, and by the 1950s at least one of the originators was using whiz.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Go into any bar in South Philly (where cheese steaks supposedly originated), and you will find two distinct camps: one side will swear that the meat must be chopped, or pulled aprt with forks as you grill it; the other will argue that the piece of chipped steak (very very thinly cut meat - almost paper thin) should be grilled as a whole. Even Philly has bastardized their own "signature dish". Most cheese steak places in philly routinely offer pizza steak, a cheese steak hoagie, a pepperoni cheese steak, a chicken cheese steak, and (my personal fave), a buffalo chicken cheese steak. Food evolves, just like the rest of our culture. How about a cheese steak pizza, a taco pizza, a chicken cheese steak pizza or a Hawaiian pizza? And we don't even have Wolfgang Puck here -- this is South Philly, cuz!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Did you see the South Philly 'Mission Impossible' block party on Food Network? They got the meat from one of the established shops, but had to cook it on charcoal grills. I don't recall how they adapted other local specialties.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          PattiCakes - I think, based on your postings, that we're in about the same age group - grandkids, etc. I think that all those variations of the Philly Cheesesteak (which amazingly enough is where this thread started) are based on business decisions. I have enough family members in the restaurant business to know that it's what the public's willing to pay for that winds up on the menu and what they don't buy soon disappears. Anyone who's 55 or older, who's lived in Philly (or the suburbs and was willing to "go in-town", knows that the meat is chopped up, and, not usually with a fork, but with a couple of spatulas - it belongs in an Amoroso roll. What else goes in there depends on taste. Mine has sharp provolone and fried onions and nothing else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bucksguy14

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "I have enough family members in the restaurant business to know that it's what the public's willing to pay for that winds up on the menu and what they don't buy soon disappears."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The commentary on the bastardization or evolution (depending on your perspective) of the Philly Cheesesteak oddly evokes another thread's dissertation on Naco cusine:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Captainspirou

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Not even most of France gets them right. Real savory crepes are called galettes and are made from buckwheat. Yet almost every crepe place I know here does them with practically the same batter as the sweet crepes."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Perhaps you should consider that the minority of those who make Savory Crepes from Buckwheat are in the wrong... and everybody else correct?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Or perhaps you mean to specify that Normandy has the best Crepe tradition in France... and the rest of the French can't make Normandy style Savory Crepes worth their cheap cigarrettes?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Eh, Captainspirou is just saying a traditional regional food (crepes) aren't reproduced correctly, just the same as others are. Crepes originated in Brittany, where they were the daily bread. The majority (i.e., the non-landholder/poor in the feudal system) used buckwheat because they couldn't afford wheat flour. Over time, as wheat flour became more accessible, the custom evolved to use this more refined flour for sweet crepes. Its widespread use for savory is a case of homogenization/bastardization, just as are many of the things you and others decry in this thread. Captainspirou's complaint is no different.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Older Joy of Cooking editions have a recipe for 'crisp corn flapjacks, which, if made without eggs come out lacy. The Joy'isk story with this recipe is:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "A distinguished botanist friend had as visitors on a field trip a Parisian confrere who traveled accompanied by his gifted Indonesian chef. To amuse the chef, our friend cooked his favorite corn cakes for him over a campfire. As he tossed the flapjacks, the chef cried out in delight, "Crepes Sauvages!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Captainspirou

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sorry, American 'cheese' IS NOT CHEDDAR! American 'cheese' always has been a processed cheese food 'product' which usually contains some non-original added fat and other non-dairy ingredients. Velveeta and Whiz are in the same category. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American... .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          For historical branding reasons American producers of cheddar style usually add annatto to color the product, in order that Bubba will not confuse it with jack or other white cheeses.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Don't get me wrong, I'm not associating 99% of the posters here with 'Bubba' (unless they want to be :).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          American cheese is to cheddar as 'natural' HFCS is to cane sugar and surimi 'krab' is to real crab meat. Thanks for NOTHING, FDA!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DiveFan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I know my answer is delayed but I've been busy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            According to the wiki link it says that american cheese has it's origins in cheddar. It's much older then what is wrapped in plastic. I was making the argument that cheddar isn't a bastardization of a philly cheesesteak in american cheese is allowed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DiveFan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Here in Beijing, Every few months I get into a craving fit for what my European friends call "ICFP" -- Imitation Cheese Food Product. To them, and to me, that's American Cheese.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, there was probably some artisanal bovine-based product made in America that could be called American Cheese a long time ago, but for me at least, "American Cheese" is ICFP.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. "Sourdough" bread that wasn't made with a starter, if I see one more loaf of vinegared bleached white bread presliced in a plastic bag I'll scream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rockfish42

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Totally agree. SF sourdough (and others) are scrumptious. The rip-offs offered here in the midwest that are "soured" with vinegar are vile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Those of you who live outside of New England have probably never tasted a proper fried clam. They are NOT those rubbery things that HoJo's used to sell and folks now pass off as clam strips. Unfortunately, fewer and fewer places even in NE know how to make a decent "Fried Ipswich Clam". The only place in Philly I ever found was the Sansome Street Oyster House. (And strangely, most of the clams served in NE these days come from Md!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Having said that, one of the BEST Fried Clam Platters I have ever had was in Englewood Florida at a place called The Cafe on Dearborn Street. Great huge oak tree patio to sit under and BIG clams with just a light amount of breading - not those overbreaded things most places now serve. Of course, Norma, the woman who owned it, came from Hull, Mass. Alas, she has since sold the place. I should also add a vote for a place in Fort Lauderdale near the boat district that was owned originally by folks from Hingham, Mass

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I agree with you except for the "And strangely, most of the clams served in NE (Is this New England ir the North East?) these days come from Md!" Is this true, clarify please. Visited Mom in NJ this summer and a local ade]vertised "Maine Steamers". I share your passion for fried clams. They are very popular her and very good. Maine also has fried clam rolls, served in a top split hot dog roll. Yum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  NE means New England. Two reasons:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1)They are still very plentiful around Maryland since folks don't eat them as much
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Much of New England suffered red tides this year

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Red Tide is probably going to be a big problem for East Coast seafood as the oceans warm up. Also, isn't Cheasapeak Bay extremely polluted or have the clean up efforts worked?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chesapeake clean up is helping, but still in trouble, one hears of long-time fishers calling it quits. per capita limits and all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sorry, in Maine, I'd guess 100% of the clams originate within the state and many are exported. Red tide is not a very big problem, but as elsewhere, overharvesting is. We have increased regulation and a lot of reseeding of clam flats going on. Gotta have some fried clams today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Conversely, oysters -- the other iconic Chesapeake shellfish -- are much more plentiful in New England. "Ersters" were close to extinct in the Chesapeake. The oyster beds are only slowly coming back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Those of you who live outside of New England have probably never tasted a proper fried clam. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Those of you who live outside of California have probably never tasted a Pismo clam fried on the beach - a real, proper fried clam.