Packing food from SoCal to the midwest
Next week I'm returning to my old Ohio stomping grounds, where good food is scarce. This originally meant taking some fruit with me, but then I started wondering if there were other things that I might bring.
What would you take? What sorts of unique local foods travel well?
I would take spices and other flavorings/seasonings that may be difficult to find there - Ethiopian, etc. But you can probably order them online.
I went to college in jersey, and every time I went home, it was like an adventure of how much food I could freeze and pack in my suitcase. I think my proudest achievement was freezing a tray of enchiladas and having it survive the plane ride in one piece. That's usually my strategy...freeze everything and make sure it comes out of your suitcase asap when you get where you're going.
Are you flying or driving? That could depend a lot on what survives and what doesnt. You'll need foods that wont spoil after a few days if you're driving, and if flying you'll need to pack everything really well (I used to pack it, then wrap it all in a towel in case it spilled everywhere).
One thing you will definitely not get in Ohio is good Mexican food. Go to your favorite local Mexican market and stock up on spices, herbs, and things like that. And tortillas. Tortillas were always my favorite thing to bring back to dirty jersey. :)
I will be permanently jealous of you for being able to eat at Cracker Barrel whenever you want, however. Just a warning.
Don't know how Ohio's doing, but the Latino invasion in Nashville's gotten to the point where we saw several billboards in Spanish there our last trip, and needless to say there was no shortage of those kinds of groceries. Asian stuff can be harder to come by - again, not in Nashville - but I'm convinced that you can now get just about anything anywhere, at least if you're willing to cook it yourself, especially (as WS mentioned) now that you can get things online. So fruits might very well be about all you'll need to pack along. Too bad you're splitting before the good navels come ripe...
Wine. Definitely take wine. Also good coffee (hooray for Peets!), smoked salmon, meyer lemons, quality chocolate bars, semi-hard cheeses, california flatbread crackers, high quality pistachios and marcona almonds, these things will all travel well and be happily shared!