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Regional favorite that you just didn't get once you finally had a chance to try it

Several years ago when I still lived in Illinois, a corporate merger brought us together with folks from Texas, specifically Houston (where I now live). Whenever the Houstonians came to IL for any length of time, they would talk about having "Whataburger withdrawals" and how Whataburger makes the best fast food burgers in the world. Well, I have to tell you, I've been in Texas eight years now and I still don't get the obsession with Whataburger. I find them dry and tasteless no matter what you dress them up with. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

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  1. I too moved to Texas, and still don't get the obsession with pickled jalapenos on EVERYTHING. They are good on somethings, but not everything.

    9 Replies
      1. re: RGC1982

        I'm a native Californian now living in Texas. I've been searching for three years trying to find REAL Mexican food around here! What is it with putting chili on everything? I just don't get it!

        As for the Chick-Fil-a, as soon as you get your order, open the bag that the sandwich is in. Otherwise, you loose the crunch (found out the hard way).

        I agree with the "what's-so-great-about-Whataburger" comments. However, give me an In-n-Out burger ... seriously. PLEASE. GIVE me one! :)

        1. re: Cascokat

          Yes, In-n-Out burgers are the best ever!! I, too, am no longer in L.A. and although I hardly ever eat burgers, I do miss those. And, most visitors agree, they are surprisingly good fast food and better than expected.

          When in Santa Fe, we tried frito pie because "we just had to" and "I always have this when I'm here". No, not special, just something I can make at home.

          Krispy Kreme in Florida, before they were available everywhere. Meh, not so special.

          What I DID like were the cheese curds in Oregon from the Tillamook dairy...so very good!

          1. re: MinkeyMonkey

            Funny how people are so different - the first thought I had when I read the OP was In-N-Out, don’t get it. Here are the first 4 American items that came to my mind.

            In-n-Out burgers – (belch), greasy, nasty pasty cheese, tons of relish in their ‘secret’ sauce and those disgusting fries, sorry I’m not sold by the marketing so I don’t think only ultra-cool Californians eat here.

            Nantucket Bay Scallops – These are revered as the black truffle of scallops, actually they have just a bit more flavor then regular bay scallops but don’t even come close to high quality diver sea scallops.

            Boiled Peanuts – wall paper paste, yuck why destroy such a nice nut?

            Tillamook cheese – Nothing wrong with this cheese, but to some it is the holy grail of cheese, it’s a decent quality mass produced cheese, nothing more and nothing to go ga-ga over.

            1. re: RetiredChef

              Never had boiled peanuts myself.... but it's not a nut. It's a legume.

              1. re: linguafood

                peanut is a legume.

                However in culinary terms we use the term nut quite differently, walnuts and almonds are technically drupes and cashews and corn nuts are technically seeds, but we seem to call them nuts without the diction police coming in to correct us.

                So while a ground nut is technically a legume, most people would be scratching their heads as they reached for a monkey nut and cracked it open - wondering why in the world would someone would call a simple goober pea a legume?

                I suggest a compromise Pass the peagumes please. ;)

                1. re: RetiredChef

                  Ha! "Peagumes" is something I would pass on without ever trying them '-)

                  That sounds awful...

                  1. re: linguafood

                    i had peagumes once. no big deal - shot of penecillan fixed it right up

              2. re: RetiredChef

                Growing up in Oregon, we loved Tillamook because back in those days so much cheese was cheesewiz, Kraft American slices and the like.

                If you ever get the chance to taste real long aged Tillamook (3-5 years old), that is something special.

        2. i felt the same way about Chik-Fil-A when i lived in ATL. i didn't eat meat at the time so i never even tried their chicken biscuit, but i didn't understand what everyone thought was so great about the waffle fries - meh, and the lemonade! why does everyone love their lemonade so much?

          4 Replies
          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            I hear what you're saying, sister! I've lived in CLT for 13 yrs now and I still don't get it. My kids love it though and family that comes to visit from PA loves it also. I hate their fries, the lemonade is ordinary and while I like their chicken, it doesn't "wow" me. I do think they have great customer service, clean restaurants and a slightly healthier menu than most fast-food restaurants though. And I do like their cole slaw.

            1. re: lynnlato

              I had heard so much about how CFA was so great. I decided I'd give it a go. It was bland and very unappetizing. All in all, I thought the whole visit sucked. I truly don't get it.


              1. re: Davwud

                Their sandwiches are much better if they're very freshly prepared. If they sit long at all the chicken loses it's crunch and gets kind of steamy/wet. They are fantastic when they're "new".

            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

              I am not a huge fan of the lemonade, but living up north (well in DC which is technically below the mason dixon, but has poor Southern food in general), their sweet tea is the best that you can find around here.

              If I want a fried breaded chicken sandwich I like theirs, but it is something I would go any great distance for.

            3. Thank you. Now I miss Whataburger. I'm in San Diego now, but we had them when we lived in Florida. Now we have In-and-Out. They're good. I don't get the whole pickled carrots and jalepenos in EVERY taco shop. They don't really do it for me. The California burrito, however, is a different story.

              2 Replies
              1. re: beth1

                Beth, I am from San Diego and now in NYC. I could kill for a California burrito, a Rubio's fish taco and an In-and-Out burger.

                1. re: StatenEats

                  Me too, and I'm in L.A. It's just that it's after 10pm and I don't want to go out, though.

                  I'm not really into any region's pickled stuff, I agree with Beth. Not long ago in Prague I ordered a cucumber-tomato sandwich. What I got was pickles, grilled cheese, grilled tomato and mustard on hot bread.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Yes, by all means, scrapple. OTOH, What-a-burgers are one of the great sandwiches in the history of the world, particularly double meat and cheese. If you could have those with Chik fil a waffle fries and lemonade, it would be perfection. But scrapple, no way no how.

                  1. re: steakman55

                    I love scrapple and lug it 500 miles back up to Maine. My Yankee wife, however, is not enthused.

                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                      Scrapple is just a breakfast hot dog, shaped differently of course. Pig scraps mixed with cornmeal and flour, plain and simple. Now livermush, on the other hand...

                    2. re: steakman55

                      I've got to concur on the Scrapple thing. Gross. As a native Texan, however, I have never understood the What-a-Burger phenomenon. They were ok when I was growing up in a small town and they were the only fast food around, but we never eat them now. Those What-a-burger onions! Yech - they stay with you for days.

                    3. re: ipsedixit

                      Word. I shudder. I get scrapple with my hog share, and hand it over to friends / family that like it.

                    4. Philly Cheesesteak.... guess you have to grow up with it. But then, not a lot of Non-Germans 'get' our love affair with white asparagus --

                      22 Replies
                      1. re: linguafood

                        I'm afraid I'm a non-German who doesn't "get" white asparagus. I was in Germany a few Springs ago and kept ordering it by mistake. Once it was listed on the chalkboard as "spare ribs." I thought it would meat! I love green asparagus but white doesn't appeal to me at.

                        Another for me was chicken fried steak in Texas.

                        1. re: Glencora

                          Wait -- the asparagus was listed as "spare ribs?" Perhaps a really, really bad attempt at the word 'asparagus'? Whoa. I feel that's another customer I should add '-D

                          Speaking as one of those crazy Germ's who go absolulety apesh!t about that stuff -- one factor I'm sure being that it's _such_ a seasonal thing: only about mid April thru June 24, and that's it for the year -- I find that white asparagus has much more flavor than green asparagus. Well, not all white asparagus is created equal.... but I'm sure you got the 'good' stuff, and just didn't care for it. Neither does my man, who's non-German and doesn't get it either. That, and smoked herring with raw onions '-D ha.

                          1. re: linguafood

                            You want to see some faux-pas-riddled menus that tried their best to accommodate the English-speaking customer, go to engrish.com and take a look around.

                            1. re: EWSflash

                              Oh, I have that site bookmarked, but haven't gone on it in a while. Pee-yer-pants funny stuff....

                              1. re: linguafood

                                I have that site bookmarked as well! So hilarious....

                                The menu part is def my favorite

                        2. re: linguafood

                          I love both kinds of asparagus. The white kind is also common in France. And I love the German springtime meals designed around asparagus. Smoked herring, are you from the North, linguafood? That is also common in the Netherlands. I do like it, but not always the easiest thing to digest.

                          1. re: lagatta

                            Both my parents are from Northern Germany, tho my dad had the higher appreciation for all things fishy -- I still remember our last dinner with him, where matjes, raw onions, and pan-fried potatoes were served.... much to my husbands disappointment, who tried filling up on the potatoes. My dad was incredulous to hear that matjes was not everyone's cup o'tea.

                            Let's say it's not something I want to eat every day, but whenever I return to Germany, I get a LOT of the stuff I can't really get around here -- herring in dill creams sauce, herring salad with apples, onions, and red beets, smoked fish, teewurst....

                            ah. only two more weeks :-D

                            1. re: linguafood

                              We had herrings, rye, cheeses, and hard boiled eggs w/cold cuts for Easter breakfast.

                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                Ah -- hard boiled's a bit hard-core for me, I prefer a soft one for breakfast. Unless I have a toasted slice with cream cheese and sliced hard boiled egg on it.

                                Really looking forward to German breakfast again!

                                1. re: linguafood

                                  Sliced boiled eggs are an integral part of the Norwegian frukost bord, breakfast table; layered on smorbrod, open faced sandwiches.

                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                    Schmecksville!! Only... 9 more hours till breakfast --

                                    1. re: linguafood

                                      linguafood, please report on your gastronomic visit. Suppose that should be on the "international" board.

                                      1. re: lagatta

                                        Hmmmm.... which gastronomic visit are we talking? I leave for Berlin in a little over a week, and will be there till early August.... which means a LOT of resto visits :-D. I'm excited! And the international board is quasi my home!!!

                          2. re: linguafood

                            Agreed on Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches. Tasted like junky processed crap to me.

                            1. re: operagirl

                              You might have _had_ junky processed crap.... there's plenty of it. The good stuff is *VERY* good to me, but then I'm a native. You have to do someplace with a good rep among locals, with good meat and good rolls, and I prefer it with provolone (not Whiz), fried onions, mushrooms, and hot and sweet peppers.

                              1. re: Mawrter

                                It was par ... nothing like I thought. I make awesome cheese steak, but good meat, good cheese and cooked right. I did enjoy the atmosphere and I am sure that is what it is all about as many similar type foods. So overall, good, but quality, NO. But like I said ... atmosphere and history and tradition is just as important!

                                NY delis not impressed, some chicago style Italian sandwich, OMG, what is the deal with that. The south I enjoyed most. Oysters fried, I don't like but that is just me. CA, pretty good, TX didn't like the style of cooking at most places. OK, KS and NE had some awesome BBQ however and was impressed by the food. Seattle, I don't have a complaint, but I did eat mostly seafood, but impressed.

                            2. re: linguafood

                              Are you all talking about white asparagus like it's a Philly/PA thing, or is it just we're a bunch of SEPAians talking about white asparagus? I'm confused. And intrigued. I would be very happy to find a good local source for white asparagus!

                              I think of it as a Western European thing... the Spanish serve a lot of preserved white asparagus on salad, and in season in France and Italy. It's hard for me to find and if anyone knows of a good source, I'd be thrilled!

                              1. re: Mawrter

                                The latter. I've tried white asparagus in the U.S. and it's just not the same. The terroir is actually important for it to develope its flavor... and the best asparagus still comes from Germany :-D

                                1. re: linguafood

                                  Well, I can't disagree since I've never had it in Germany. I think the terroir thing might be partly because it's a perennial. That is why I don't allocate space for it myself - I need my garden to be producing something more than once a year.

                              2. re: linguafood

                                I'm German and I never understood the love affair with white asparagus. It was a religion with my grandparents on both sides, but it's just "meh" to me.

                                1. re: linguafood

                                  I lived with Germans (IN Germany) for about 6 years, I LOVE white asparagus! Fresh from the field, with fresh from the field (AKA organic - yes, you CAN taste the difference) boiled salted potatoes, a slice of boiled ham and a velvety hollandaise sauce on the asparagus. OMG my mouth is watering....

                                  1. re: jesssala

                                    Thanks, mine too, now '-). Ah well, 'only' have to wait another 6 months... >sigh<

                                  1. re: ElsieDee

                                    This is what I was going to post. Boiled peanuts are disgusting, IMHO.

                                    1. re: lynnlato

                                      good! more boiled peanuts for me!

                                        1. re: bayoucook

                                          Try them again Elsie. My first taste was like nibbling on a bo- weevil.
                                          When someone brought them back from a roadside stand -they were hot and they were worlds better. Still not something I seek out (I really don't like to eat with my fingers all that much) but they were better hot.

                                          1. re: bayoucook

                                            Me too. And I still remember the really good boiled-peanut pie at Billy Carter's restaurant in Plains.

                                            1. re: bayoucook

                                              and me! especially the spicy ones.... my favorite southern snack ever, and I dont' even like regular peanuts. Side note, anyone make them at home?

                                              1. re: kubasd

                                                I do, all the time. The easy way: in the crockpot with salt or cajun salt, cayenne etc. if I want spicy, even crab boil sometimes. Usually put them on before bed, then eat them sometimes the next day. Can just boil them stovetop too.

                                                1. re: bayoucook

                                                  bayoucook, from where do you buy your green peanuts?

                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                    Hi. Our Walmart Superstore has them a few times a year, and I also get them at farmer's markets and local stands. Just the smell of those green peanuts takes me back!

                                            2. re: alkapal

                                              Boiled peanuts, a Hawaiian favorite! My hubby introduced me to this, it is not bad. He wanted to make them but we couldn't find raw peanuts anywhere in Alaska.

                                              1. re: DishDelish

                                                harvest is in september, so you can get some fresh "green" peanuts online, soon.

                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                  I never thought of getting them online. What a great idea. Thanks! ;)

                                                  1. re: DishDelish

                                                    some sources mentioned here. i also recall "lee brothers" being mentioned: http://www.boiledpeanuts.com/index2.html

                                                    for roasted peanuts, i adore "golden gourmet" peanuts from n.c. crunchy, big, delish! http://www.peanut.com/locations.asp sign up for their email special offers. i just got a BOGO deal.

                                                    i'm going to find out if they'll sell them raw.....

                                                    look! "boiled peanuts" on facebook (notice the festivals): http://www.facebook.com/pages/Boiled-...

                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                      Thanks Alka! I think my hubby wants to make them himself though so I'm going to look for raw peanuts online. I just found some on Amazon and I'm going to add it to my wish list!
                                                      I'm going to have to become a friend of boiled peanuts on facebook. ;)
                                                      Or maybe I can just ask him to bring some home from Hawaii...

                                                      1. re: DishDelish

                                                        dish, call lee brothers and ask when the green peanuts will be in (sometime in september-october, iirc). then order them to boil! i think i'll have to do that this year -- and revive my boiled peanuts thread.

                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                          I just talked with my hubby yesterday about bringing home some raw peanuts from Hawaii. If he doesn't end up bringing them home for some reason I'll give them a call. =)

                                                          1. re: DishDelish

                                                            when's harvest in hawaii? raw peanuts are one thing, but raw "green" peanuts (fresh out of the ground) are another.

                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                              I have no idea??? I'll have to ask my hubby.

                                            3. re: lynnlato

                                              Perhaps they weren't salty enough, or were not cooked to right doneness, or mushy, or maybe you just didn't have them with a Coke. At any rate, done properly, they are unequalled.

                                              1. re: steakman55

                                                yes, or a cold Barg's in the bottle - I seek them and find them addictive

                                            4. re: ElsieDee

                                              Boiled peanuts. Couldn't get them down. I don't understand the love of them sorry.

                                              1. re: synergy

                                                synergy, you did shell them, i hope! ;-).

                                              2. re: ElsieDee

                                                Oh yeah. We were coming back north from Fla., stopped at a roadside place where they came right out of the big cauldron....I'd rather eat wallpaper paste or poi. Bleah.

                                                1. re: berkleybabe

                                                  OMG--poi--another regional favorite I just don't get! ;)

                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                    It is one of those tastes you have to grow up with I think, my kids love poi! I on the other hand do not ... but I try not to let them know that I don't because I want to encourage their adventurous palate. I added sugar and butter to it once and thought it was ok, but my hubby made me swear that I would never let the kids know I did this because he wants them to like it the pure Hawaiian way. I do like Kahlua pig in taro leaf though (which is the leaf of the taro root that they make poi from). Taro leaf sort of reminds me of spinach, which I love.

                                                    1. re: berkleybabe

                                                      I desperately wanted to try boiled peanuts so we bought a bag from a roadside stand... one peanut each and we were DONE. Talk about vile! Smushy, soggy, and burnt-tasting all at once. What a waste of five dollars. But at least we know NEVER to buy them again!

                                                      1. re: Kajikit

                                                        Boiled peanuts from those roadside stands aren't a very good example. Lots of times they use dried peanuts and you should use green. If they tasted burnt and were soggy, then they were overcooked. A good boiled peanut tastes a lot like a fresh, not dried, black eyed pea when cooked.

                                                    2. re: ElsieDee

                                                      I agree. I found them more than slightly repulsive...(shudder)

                                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                                          Me too!! So much so that I buy canned ones when they're not around.

                                                      1. Maidrites in Iowa. :) In the end, it's just steamed ground beef. ;)

                                                        9 Replies
                                                        1. re: Morganna

                                                          As a former Maid-Rite employee (DSM zoo - one summer before college), I can reveal only that there is also a mystery powder that gets added which makes it much more than just ground beef....oh so much more!

                                                          Oh, hell. I ate them everyday for a summer and I still never got them.

                                                          1. re: sebetti

                                                            They served them at our school cafeterias, and they always ran out of them because those would be days when everyone bought hot lunch. Along with taco and pizza days, too. Don't get me wrong, maid rites were better then the regular turkey tetrazini crud by a long shot. I mean, I like just plain ground beef and all, still, I don't get why it's such a huge "thing". :)

                                                          2. re: Morganna

                                                            Okay -- what, exactly, is a Maid Rite? Is it a burger?

                                                            1. re: RGC1982

                                                              Take ground beef, put in a pan, add water (some people add minced onion, or some other flavouring), stir and stir until meat is browned thoroughly, cook covered, so it steams, as well. Serve on a bun (usually pretty wet, as well). There is great debate over what it is proper to serve it with. Catsup, mustard, pickle, onion. There are purists who debate this, but I -think- the most common is mustard and pickle. Not sure on that. :)

                                                              The term "loose meat sandwich" is completely accurate. :)

                                                              1. re: Morganna

                                                                And this is as bad as it sounds.

                                                                1. re: Morganna

                                                                  I just had a flashback to grammar school. There was something called "beef crumble" served weekly over whipped fake potatoes. The beef was loose and definitely wet - I'm betting they were serving us bastardized Maid-Rite's under another name. :-)

                                                                  1. re: Morganna

                                                                    Too bad the middle part of the country didn't have more Asian immigrants early on. Sigh. (Though I have had great fried catfish and roasts there, and very respectable BBQ in KC.)

                                                                  2. re: RGC1982

                                                                    MaidRite's originated at a local (mostly small town) Iowa franchise named - MaidRite -- now owned and trademarked by the MaidRite corporation. There is a 'secret' spice blend that is added to the loose beef that makes it a MaidRite rather than a loose beef sandwich.

                                                                    I think there were a lot of towns that were simply too small to have a McDonalds so they had MaidRites instead, hence the nostalgia.

                                                                    Although I don't think it qualifies as gross or bad, they are exceptionally uninteresting.

                                                                    1. re: sebetti

                                                                      Oh I never thought they were gross. Just uninteresting, and messy . :)

                                                                2. Great thread.

                                                                  Boiled p-nuts -- most definitely. A vile product.
                                                                  Scrapple -- not quite that bad but still pretty bad.

                                                                  Now as for Maidrites -- AKA loose meat sandwiches -- I have to say that when I discovered these in Gainesville FL, at a place run by an ex-Iowan, I have to say I very much liked them and frequented that place often for a cheap relatively healthy lunch. This despite the disgusting name of loose meat sandwiches.

                                                                  Here's one that I know leaves people cold: RI clamcakes. They always ask, "Where's the clam?" The answer: "If you squint, you might be able to see a bit of clam." If you want to eat clams, you order clams. You don't order clamcakes to eat clams. You order clamcakes because you're really hungry and you're at the beach. Clamcakes are summertime comfort food for Rhode Islanders. They are basically the same as conch fritters, for people who have had them in FL.

                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Bob W

                                                                    I lived in RI for ten years and never really got "stuffies," aka stuffed quahogs. Really just half a big clam shell filled with Stove Top Stuffing and put under the broiler. They claimed to have chopped quahogs in them, but I could never taste it.

                                                                    The clam fritters we had in Vermont actually had discernible clams in them, but maybe that was a Long Island recipe, since the clams came from there (along with annoying relatives).

                                                                    1. re: al b. darned

                                                                      Oh yeah, stuffies are just like clamcakes in that there is little clam in either, but you should be able to see little bits of clam. In any event, stuffies are best eaten drenched in hot sauce (and accompanied by a cold Narragansett), so whatever clam flavor there might be is totally overwhelmed.

                                                                      Nuf said about all things Long Island 8<D

                                                                      1. re: Bob W

                                                                        I hear you can get Nastygansett again but I'm not sure why you would want to.

                                                                        The LI Clam Fritter recipe was very good, it was the relatives that came with them that were annoying.

                                                                    2. re: Bob W

                                                                      As a life-long southerner I have to defend boiled peanuts. Maybe yours weren't cooked correctly? I don't know ONE person who doesn't crave them down here - I guess b/c we're raised on them. I love them plain boiled with salt, or jazzed up with crab boil and cajun seasoning. I guess it's a regional thing....

                                                                      1. re: bayoucook

                                                                        We got some from a bus parked by the side of the road near Gainesville FL. I'm pretty sure that was a good source. LOL Mrs. W loves them -- she grew up visiting relatives in rural VA -- but me, not so much.

                                                                        1. re: Bob W

                                                                          A little OT, but one thing I loved about driving into NYC was that you could - if you wanted to - buy sugarcane off the back of a truck just over the bridge into the Bronx.

                                                                        2. re: bayoucook

                                                                          I've only ever had boiled peanuts at restaurants in Charleston, SC, but was instantly smitten. LOVED 'EM.

                                                                          1. re: bayoucook

                                                                            bayoucook, i think i've asked you before about your source for green peanuts?

                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                              Hi alkapal! Yes, they're sold at the local groceries in season, as well as at roadside farm stands and produce stores. When I can get them, I boil a ton of them and freeze them.

                                                                        3. Cincinnati chili. Not chili - just weird.

                                                                          30 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Ed Dibble

                                                                            It is weird. It is also indeed chili, albeit not of a bent that agrees with some other regions' conceptions.

                                                                            1. re: jmckee

                                                                              Not only doesn't it match other chilis, it just isn't good (and I've had the 2 major contenders). I guess only a local could stomach it. It tastes like someone read about chili and then went to their pre-war, mid-western pantry and threw stuff together.

                                                                              1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                I'm not local and I love it. We often stop in a Skyline when we're driving through.


                                                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                                                  I've always found it odd, too, but I believe Cincinnati chili came from Greek immigrants interpretation of chili.

                                                                                2. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                  That is the perfect description, of an awful food.

                                                                              2. re: Ed Dibble

                                                                                When I saw this thread topic, my mind blurted, "Cincinnati chili." There is room in my philosophy for the possibility that I just have never had a good version -- but I have to say, just by basic components, it seems like a terrible idea from the start.

                                                                                We have Whataburgers here, and I like to refer to them as Mustard Sandwiches. Doesn't seem to matter which location you make it to or what you order, it's just going to be swimming in fluorescent yellow mustard.

                                                                                But then, we have In and Outs here as well, and I haven't sussed out their appeal, either. I don't want to have to learn some sort of secret language to get a decent burger and fries. I just want a decent burger and fries, and I have never gotten one there.

                                                                                1. re: themis

                                                                                  I had the same reaction--my first thought on seeing the thread title was Cincinnati chili. I find it pretty horrible. My best friend is from Cincinnati and she insisted on taking me to Skyline, as well as some pizza place (Rose's, I think?) and an ice cream place (the name started with a G) that are all supposedly local standouts and her nostalgic favorites. They were all bad. Not just mediocre--bad!

                                                                                  1. re: travelmad478

                                                                                    I can't comment on the other two but Skyline is not bad. You just don't like Cinci chili is all.

                                                                                    I firmly believe if they called it some other name, more people would like it.


                                                                                    1. re: Davwud

                                                                                      Anything served atop watery overdone speghetti tastes evil.

                                                                                      1. re: Davwud

                                                                                        > I firmly believe if they called it some other name, more people would like it.

                                                                                        That may well be true, but no matter what you call it, I don't like cinnamon-tinged Sloppy Joe meat, which is essentially what Cincinnati chili is. And the vile hot dogs served with it don't improve matters.

                                                                                        1. re: travelmad478

                                                                                          That's fair enough but if you read threads on it people complain that it's not chili. It is, just a different kind. It really isn't anything like what is expected and is thought of as crap.
                                                                                          It's like saying that Tex Mex isn't Mexican. Of course not, it's Tex Mex.


                                                                                      2. re: travelmad478

                                                                                        Cincinnati chili was the first thing that pooped into my head, Skyline is pretty bland, and I never bothered to try any others. The pizza place is LaRosa's, and the ice cream place is Graeter's. LaRosa's is lousy, their sauce, which everyone raves about, is loaded with sugar. Graeter's I didn't get until I tried the Black Raspberry Chunk, which is their specialty. I love it, and any other flavors with the chocolate chunks, those are key. The other flavors are meh, not even close to the ice cream I could get in CT - sigh :-(

                                                                                        1. re: jacquelyncoffey

                                                                                          Those are exactly the places I was taken to. That pizza sauce was NASTY. I couldn't believe anyone would serve it! Since when is pizza supposed to be sweet?

                                                                                          I had the black walnut ice cream and it tasted like bad gum.

                                                                                          1. re: jacquelyncoffey

                                                                                            >>>>Cincinnati chili was the first thing that pooped into my head<<<<<

                                                                                            i'm guessin' that was a freudian slip?

                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                              It most definitely was a slip, an appropriate one at that ;-)

                                                                                          2. re: travelmad478

                                                                                            The ice cream place is Graeter's. I found it to be pretty decent. I have yet to try Skyline or any other Cincy chili, but my understanding is that you can't look at it as chili, that's a misnomer, it's actually a sort of Greek-style meat sauce.

                                                                                            1. re: BobB

                                                                                              ....except that it IS indeed chili. Not chili as understood by Texans or chile as interpreted by New Mexicans, but an oddly spiced chili.

                                                                                              As a native Cincinnatian I kind of wonder why folks are so opposed to our local specialty. Like it or don't -- but it is chili, and it is ours, and we love it. It's every bit as much chili as Philly Cheesesteak is a steak sandwich, as a Chicago deep dish pizza is a pizza.

                                                                                              1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                "It's every bit as much chili as Philly Cheesesteak is a steak sandwich, as a Chicago deep dish pizza is a pizza."

                                                                                                I actually agree with you there, but probably not in the way you'd like. ;-)

                                                                                                1. re: BobB

                                                                                                  Oh my goodness - I so agree. I thought I just hadn't tried enough places for either the cheesesteak or pizza - the chili I've, unfortunately, have had enough times and places to really know that it's just not very good (having not grown up there, I wasn't given the Cincy taste training).

                                                                                                  1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                                    I don't think it's training. I think it's genetic; we're born knowing that here chili is a more runny, oddly spiced concoction that naturally should be served atop spaghetti with cheese, onions, and beans.

                                                                                                    1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                      I am a native cincinnatian who now lives up North. It kills me that I can't get to skyline easily. So I just have to defend the stuff. I will say though that I think you really have to be from Cincy to enjoy it. The first time my now husband came to Cincinnati with me and tried skyline he hated it. I almost had to end our engagement. Now he loves the stuff. I also like Larosas so maybe I just have bad taste in food. :) Now I want a 3 way and a coney.

                                                                                                      1. re: emmyru

                                                                                                        My husband is from Columbus Ohio, and my father is from Cleveland, move to florida when he was 19 and has been here ever since though. Anyway the first time I ever had cincinati chilli was when my husband, then boyfriend at the time made it for me. I thought it was delicious although I was weirded out when he said the meat sauce was what he always puts on his hotdogs for a chili dog.

                                                                                                        My southern roots, I had never heard of that, we always just put day old southern bean and meat chili on our chilli dogs.

                                                                                                    1. re: BobB

                                                                                                      Cincinnati chili is basically the meat sauce component of moussaka.

                                                                                                      A brief history is included with this recipe
                                                                                                      but it's fairly common knowledge:
                                                                                                      "Macedonian immigrant Tom Kiradjieff created Cincinnati chili in 1922. With his brother, John, Kiradjieff opened a small Greek restaurant called the Empress.
                                                                                                      The restaurant did poorly however, until Kiradjieff started offering a chili made with Middle Eastern spices, which could be served in a variety of ways.
                                                                                                      He called it his "spaghetti chili."
                                                                                                      Kiradjieff's "five way" was a concoction of a mound of spaghetti toped with chili, chopped onion, kidney beans, and shredded yellow cheese, served with oyster crackers and a side order of hot dogs topped with more shredded cheese."

                                                                                                      1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                        oh my! can't say that sounds very appetizing but next time I am in Cincinnati I am goin to try it - just to say I did!

                                                                                                    2. re: jmckee

                                                                                                      Here in the DC area we have a small chain called Hard Times Chili that offers a few different kinds of chili. I confess to always getting the Cincinnati. I kinda like it.

                                                                                                      1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                        Same here. It's actually the only time i've had cincinnati chili, and I loved it. I got it served over cornbread with cheese, sour cream, onions, and tomatoes... Just delicious and perfect after a late night of drinking.

                                                                                                        1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                          I also admit to getting the Cincinnati style at Hard Times in the DC area because my mom made a similar version and served it over spaghetti with cheese and onions even before Hard Times opened.

                                                                                                  2. re: themis

                                                                                                    Crystal Bergers are the same - mustard on a bun with dry burger to sop it up. Nasty bit of business!

                                                                                                    1. re: StewieBoy

                                                                                                      The ones I've had were delicious. Mustard, catsup and onions on a steamed soft roll. Heaven.

                                                                                                2. Grits. I apologize in advance to Southerners, but on annual golf trips to South Carolina, I tried - I really did - to get into grits, but just never made the leap. Honest to god home fries are what I want with my morning eggs.

                                                                                                  Love Waffle Hut, though!

                                                                                                  45 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: markabauman

                                                                                                      errrr....I don't think anyone actually likes Lutefisk. It's just tradition.

                                                                                                      1. re: sebetti

                                                                                                        My grandfather LOVED lutefisk. LOVED.

                                                                                                        1. re: hilltowner

                                                                                                          Oh yeah, lutefisk. bleah! Lefse, warm, fresh, with butter, YUM but lutefisk!? eeeww. :)

                                                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                          Eeee! You're EEEEVil. ;)

                                                                                                          Lutefisk is... just... weird texture, weird taste, ewgie. :) I will admit, I only had it once, back when I was in my teens. MAYbe I'd like it now... I like a lot of things now I couldn't stand then. :)

                                                                                                          1. re: Morganna

                                                                                                            I associate lutefisk w/ Christmas and a huge smorgosbord feed. I prefer lutefisk to Poptarts any day.

                                                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                              Yah, that's when I had it. Visiting a friend's family up in Minnesota around the holidays. Big party, food spread, ooo lala. I had fresh, gramma-made lefse with farm butter (one side of the family had a farm with cows, mOooooOOO!). I know I'll never be able to repeat that particular lefse experience, so I just cherish it in my mind. :) But the lutefisk, it... it scarred me. ;)

                                                                                                        2. re: markabauman

                                                                                                          Actually I'd like to try that sometime. My mom is from Sweden and I love Swedish food.

                                                                                                        3. re: KevinB

                                                                                                          I'm a heathen, I don't like grits in the south, either. Though I have to be honest, the only grits I've ever seen available in the south were plain, made with water, and maybe served with some butter. I prefer my grits doctored by cooking them in chicken broth and chipoltle powder then mixing in shredded sharp cheddar. :)

                                                                                                          1. re: Morganna

                                                                                                            That sounds like Southern polenta to me, and I'd like it. Nothing more insipid to me than polenta made with plain water ... it needs to be cooked with something flavorful!

                                                                                                            1. re: Mawrter

                                                                                                              Shhh you'll start a fight. :) polenta and grits are actually relatives of each other. Well, technically, they're the same idea, and they're also the same as cornmeal mush, from early American cooking, but don't say that out loud, we'll get whacked. They're cornmeal that's been cooked to soft in liquid. Those from the south have vociferously stated that the cornmeal used in grits is different from that used in polenta, and I don't have enough expertise in either product to either confirm or deny this (some people say southern grits are treated with lye, but that's hominy grits, and not all southern grits are hominy grits from what I understand). Aaaanyway, Alton Brown did a show on grits, and said that really, polenta and cornmeal mush, and grits were the same thing. I have known Alton to be mistaken about some things, but not very often. :) There, now we've gone and started a war!

                                                                                                              BTW, for those of you convinced that I am wrong, or Alton is wrong or whatever, I am not going to respond to posts "correcting" me. It is good enough for me that I've had polenta, grits, and cornmeal mush, and I've actually -made- all of them, as well. I'm content with my opinion, but thanks for trying to make me see the light if you're so inclined.

                                                                                                              1. re: Morganna

                                                                                                                Polenta = plain or corn grits, (not hominy). Maybe - but you ignore what people say about their differences at your own peril - not anybody else's. Your pre-refusal to engage in a good dialectic hurts us to some extent - there's nothing like a good debate that people can learn from. Is Polenta and Grits really the same thing? Can I make Polenta from a tube of grits? But mainly, it's up to you (as it is to each Chowhound) to learn to differentiate for your own benefit.

                                                                                                                The culture and lore - the origins and evolutions and names and products and recipes are different - and these differences are important in food. Is eating Italian beefsteak the same as the porterhouse at Peter Luger? Is blue-fin tuna carpaccio the same as sashimi? The products are somewhat the same, the experiences are not.

                                                                                                                Just because YOU can't tell the difference between hominy and plain corn or all the wonderful heritage grains (like the specialized Italian red trentino flint corn for polenta) or new-crop vs. stored, or any number of other incredible variations (including the grain size and milling method), doesn't mean that others can't or don't get into it and learn to appreciate the wonderful variations of corn.

                                                                                                                Have you even been to the Anson mills site or others like it? The background page is particularly wonderful. The founder, Glenn Roberts, speaks of the foods his mother used to talk about, growing up in the low country - the foods that were no longer available because people had stopped differentiating and understanding their heritage. People like Roberts have spent a lot of time bringing back the heirloom varieties and differentiating and experimenting with modern corns. Obviously, it's meaningful to someone.

                                                                                                                I'm no Southerner, but being Japanese, I get into rice seriously, and can taste differences in grades of rice, as well as types, freshness (again, new crop). I love to taste different rices side by side - compare a standard grade calrose, like Nishiki with their premium product, Tamanishiki, and really understand that underlying "riceness". Most Americans who didn't grow up with rice every day could care less whether they're eating Carolina long-grain rice or California medium grain calrose. Pass the gravy.

                                                                                                                Ditto corn. It's cultural, and there are real differences that the cultures understand - even if those on the outside do not. It may all be the same to you. But those that are seriously into grits or polenta will know what differentiates them, what corns milled in what ways, mixed with what ingredients, will yield the results they seek. You can certainly use Quacker Oats quick grits for your polenta, but if you tasted great examples of each, made by people who know and understand their heritage, they won't be made from the same product. (Of course, grits lovers wouldn't be caught dead with the cardboard tube stuff, either.)

                                                                                                                As far as Alton goes, his grits program perfectly shows the level he operates at. He simply didn't get into any detail - his research staff never delved into the real effects of nixtamalization, how its done today, and by whom, or just explore the differences in flavor between plain and hominy grits. It's a TV show - what you remember from it is what you wanted to. Unless you've got all his programs indexed to the scenes, in a searchable database, it's hard to use entertainment videos as references. You're much better off with BOOKS!!! With indexes! Get a copy of Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking. He gets into the size of milling, the differences between dry-milled and wet-milled products - he indicates that Polenta was originally a barley product, talks about the different ways the flavors are developed. Alton is rarely going to be the best person to quote or reference - he's not a primary source, neither a chef, a researcher, a writer nor a scientist - he's a TV star.

                                                                                                                1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                  Thank you, Applehome. A beautiful explanation of why real grits are worth soaking overnight, why they don't need anything other than plain water, and why I don't mind tending them on the stove for 60 to 90 minutes until they look just right.
                                                                                                                  Oh, and why, when that sweet, pure corn smell fills my house, I know in my heart and soul, why it's worth paying so much for them.

                                                                                                                  And I feel like that about good rice too. Ah, the sweet scent of it...

                                                                                                                  1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                    applehome, you say "tube of grits"; do you mean the quaker quick grits?

                                                                                                                    i love all kinds of good grits, but sometimes don't have an hour to make them, so i have and use the quaker. when i have the designer grits <irony intended>, i'll use them, too. right now, i'm using bob's red mill polenta/grits <their label>, which are light yellow. i need to re-order my rockland plantation stone-ground grits, too: http://thenibble.com/reviews/main/rub...

                                                                                                                    <ps, the link has some interesting info about white vs. yellow grits.>

                                                                                                                    1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                      Just fot the sake of clarity, I can tell the difference between hominy grits and cornmeal. I can even tell the differences between cornmeals (I happen to keep a fancy local cornmeal on hand that has a much more complex flavour and that I like a great deal, it's from Nitty Gritty Grains)..

                                                                                                                      What I was saying was that I couldn't tell the difference between polenta and cornmeal mush and grits. As recipes go, they're the same thing, the same process, pretty much the same end product with only the variations you get from -any- recipe when you vary the ingredients. From a technical standpoint, grits, polenta, and cornmeal mush are prepared the same way.

                                                                                                                      They're three names for the same thing. Just like in latin America, each country has their own name for tamale, but they all -mean- the same thing, the same general preparation method, even if the ingredients vary a bit and thus the flavour. It's the same food concept.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Morganna

                                                                                                                        Yes, of course, all corn mush is corn mush. All beef is beef, all sushi is sushi, and all beer is beer. But just like you don't barbecue real Wagyu Strip for 12 hours, you don't eat all grits as polenta. We're chowhounds - foodies. We yearn to tell the difference between Kurobuta and the supermarket leaned out pork - we want to learn the best ways to cook and eat both. So I'd be real interested in having some of that Italian heirloom red trentino flint, cooked by a polenta expert - maybe even several experts who would argue about cooking times and recipes. And I'd love to try some of those shrimp and grits that prize-winner made against Flay in his Shrimp and grits showdown in Georgia. I wouldn't have him cook my polenta, and I wouldn't have those Italian food expert chefs cook my shrimp and grits.

                                                                                                                        I really don't understand why, as a chowhound, you will distinguish some foods, but not recognize that others will do the same for other foods, perhaps ones that you do not appreciate. I realize that, that argument could be taken to the extreme - why, for example, l do I not appreciate those that wish to differentiate between McD's and BK, and write about that difference here. But, in fact, we have a board dedicated to that purpose, even if I can't appreciate it.

                                                                                                                        There are an incredible number of different tamals and tamales all over Mexico alone, never mind the other Latin and South American countries and regions. It would indeed be a wonderful Chowhound tour to try to experience every one.

                                                                                                                        1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                          That isn't the point or the distinction I'm trying to make. Frankly, your attitude in this discussion is precisely why I was unwilling to engage in the first place. Yes, there are tons of different styles of tamales but they're all STILL TAMALES and no one tries to say "no, these aren't tamales" when you are talking about them.

                                                                                                                          Yet people like you continually insist that polenta and grits and cornmeal mush are -different- which is -confusing- to people who don't know much about this cooking stuff or about cooking with cornmeal specifically. So what happens is newbies ask "What is grits? Is it like Polenta?" they get rebuffed, told very pedantically "No, they're not".

                                                                                                                          Which, in one respect might be technically correct, it is still misinformation for the poor schmuck who has fallen into this little web of elitism. Yes, grits are -too- like polenta. And cornmeal mush. It's the same food concept in the same way that the diversity of tamales in Latin America are all still tamales and you can still just call them tamales even if one set is wrapped in corn husks and another in banana leaves.

                                                                                                                          As for why I'm "picking on" grits, it is grits/polenta that I see this elitist attitude happening most frequently with. People come away confused, thinking that they're missing some very obvious difference given how vociferously grits hounds defend the difference between grits and polenta.

                                                                                                                          And, by the way, anyone who can make good grits can make good polenta can make good cornmeal mush. Thinking that you need to be some special sort of person to prepare one or the other successfully is also elitist. It's liquid, cornmeal of some sort, and flavourings. It's not rocket science. Folks implying that there's some special secret you have to be born knowing or spend years learning is just another reason I hate this conversation.

                                                                                                                          For those folks who have never had grits or never had polenta, and who have been confused (as I was for years) about what magical difference there is between them that you think you're too much of a visigoth to undertand because of how emphatically people defend one or the other from being likened to one or the other... there is no magic. It's cornmeal of some sort, cooked in a liquid of some sort, with whatever spices or flavourings you might apply.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Morganna

                                                                                                                            Absolutely - And steak is red meat of some sort, cooked over heat in some way, with whatever spices and flavorings (sorry US spelling) you might apply.

                                                                                                                            You can't make too much of this food stuff, you'll end up being a food nerd of some sort - a foodie or even a chowhound, for crying out loud...

                                                                                                                            1. re: Morganna

                                                                                                                              Morganna - the first time I had polenta (creamy, in Italy) I loudly said "But this is just like grits, with cheese!" - loved it. And I make great grits, polenta and cornmeal mush. Love that stuff!

                                                                                                                        2. re: applehome

                                                                                                                          Just another note on "heritage grains". There are so few grain varieites in use in the US now that Americans don't seem to understand how vast is crop genetic diversity and have come up with "heritage varieites" when one or two traditoinals somehow leak back into the system. Rice, maize, potatoes, and beans each still count with thousands of traditional varieties still grown around the world. Just go south of your border to start finding many, many traditional maize and bean varieites.

                                                                                                                  2. re: KevinB

                                                                                                                    I don't "get" grits as a breakfast food - my tastebuds always wanted to know why there wasn't any brown sugar and maple syrup on it (they always confused grits w/ cream of wheat). But I like grits as a savory side with shrimp, scallops or even as a substitute for polenta (they are very close cousins).

                                                                                                                    1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                      I totally agree! The watery, run-of-the-mill ordinary grits are a real yawn. Only had grits once that were truly wonderful...coarse ground, flavorful.

                                                                                                                      If given a choice between regular grits and regular cream of wheat, I'd choose cream of wheat!

                                                                                                                      1. re: poptart

                                                                                                                        Depending on how they're prepared, grits can be stellar or terrible. I had some at a plantation bed and breakfast that were incredibly good-cream maybe?

                                                                                                                    2. re: KevinB

                                                                                                                      if I had only tried grits at waffle hut(waffle house maybe?) I would hate them too. thin watery grits. go to a better restaurant and get shrimp and grits. then tell me. The best way to have them is stone ground made with milk and/or stock. it ike the difference between boiling bag white rice and good basmati

                                                                                                                      1. re: quazi

                                                                                                                        Amen! Well said, quazi. I love shrimp and grits.

                                                                                                                        1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                          Then you still don't really like grits.
                                                                                                                          You could just as easily pour the shrimp sauce over pasta, couldn't you?
                                                                                                                          Proper grits should be stone ground, made with water. http://ansonmills.com/recipes-corn-2.htm
                                                                                                                          Maybe you have never had really good grits, prepared properly.

                                                                                                                          They are perfect breakfast food with butter, salt and pepper. Never, ever with syrup! That hurts my teeth to think about it.
                                                                                                                          If you're at home, you can cut up your fried eggs into the grits but that looks tacky when you're in a restaurant.

                                                                                                                          1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                            Making Sense - agree totally. A quick grit or an instant grit (ugh) never gets in this house. If we can't get stone ground, we get the original long-cooking ones. Salt, freshly ground pepper, real butter....yum. Grillades and grits, a favorite too.

                                                                                                                            1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                              We have some quick grits around but they're usually covered up when we cook them.
                                                                                                                              I have to admit, I was stunned how exponentially better stone ground grits are.
                                                                                                                              Instant grits are about as good as rice cakes.


                                                                                                                            2. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                              I have had them prepared "properly" and I don't like them. The only way I like them is shrimp and grits style. Call it what you want, but that's my preference. I think generally Northerners look at grits and think "oh, like cream of wheat" but then taste it and are shocked that it is a savory dish, not a sweetened one. I understand that they are not traditionally served w/ syrup or anything sweet. I was just saying that's the expectation from someone not from the south, generally speaking.

                                                                                                                              1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                That is so odd. I was visiting some friends in the Nawth and was served a bowl of what I assumed to be some sort of textureless, overprocessed grits, until I put the vile crap into my mouth.
                                                                                                                                OMG!!! What was that? Wallpaper paste???? Nope. Cream of Wallpaper Wheat. That stuff isn't even fit for hospital food. Why would anyone eat that?

                                                                                                                                1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                  Are you referring to shrimp grits or cream of wheat? I love a bowl of steaming cream of wheat with brown sugar stirred in. Actually, now that you mention it, wallpaper paste isn't so far off! Even so, l love it. It's good chilled, sliced, and fried in butter, too.

                                                                                                                                  I have never had grits! I ought to change that, yes?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: fern

                                                                                                                                    Just make sure they're good.


                                                                                                                              2. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                tacky, but Betsy's pancake house doesn't seem to mind...2 eggs over easy, grilled andouille and double grits, please ~ $5.65 and I can mash it all together without one sideways glance

                                                                                                                                LOVE me some grits

                                                                                                                                1. re: chef4hire

                                                                                                                                  Me too, chef. In fact, it may be my main comfort food. When I get sick, I crave them - just grits in a bowl with a spoon, real butter and freshly ground black pepper (stomach growling).

                                                                                                                          2. re: KevinB

                                                                                                                            As a Northerner, I don't get grits, either. To me they taste like bland Cream of Wheat. They're ok once in a while, but not every day for b'fast. I'll take home fries with my bacon & eggs, please.

                                                                                                                            1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                              Grits are like popcorn - not much by themselves, but are a vehicle for salt and butter.

                                                                                                                              If you can eat polenta, you can eat grits. Purists will tell you they're different. They're not.

                                                                                                                              I also like grits baked in a casserole with lots of garlic and cheese. BTW, I'm a northerner whose completley northern family always likes cheese grits at holidays. I don't know how this came to be.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Avalondaughter

                                                                                                                                Maybe the milkman had a southern accent? JK, JK! ;)

                                                                                                                                1. re: Avalondaughter

                                                                                                                                  Well, um, yeah, they ARE different; polenta is made from cornmeal. Grits are hominy. Texture is very different, a bit more of a firm bite to grits.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Avalondaughter

                                                                                                                                    They ARE different and you can taste the difference once you eat REAL grits and polenta. You'll never do that if you're covering up the corn flavor with garlic and cheese. The pure corn flavor is missing from supermarket grits and most standard products. God save us all from <shudder> instant grits which must be one of the last vestiges and outrages of Reconstruction.

                                                                                                                                    Anson Mills markets their own grits grown organically from heritage seed.
                                                                                                                                    For a description of the differences among the types of corn used for polenta v. grits and among the various types of grits:

                                                                                                                                    And they are something all "by themselves." Clouds of Southern Dreams that make the butter and salt proud.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Avalondaughter

                                                                                                                                      Corn or plain grits = polenta, made from the whole corn kernel. Hominy = posole, made from corn that's had the hull removed and stripped of their bran and germ, either mechanically or by nixtamalization (processed with alkali). Hominy grits = grits made from the processed hominy. So not all grits are = polenta.

                                                                                                                                      Quick grits = finer cut grits which cook quicker.

                                                                                                                                      Instant grits = tasteless junk, just like instant oatmeal, etc... parboiled, powdered, processed beyond recognition... it's not even the same food

                                                                                                                                      Nixtamalization not only enhances digestability, but also offers nutiritional benefits - conversion of niacin and amino acids to a more absorbable form. Its invention probably saved the Meso-American civilizations.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                        Well, all this exposition might explain why I still don't like grits; I don't like polenta either. Flavourless mush. If I have to have a starch, I'd rather have pasta, potatoes, or bread (white rice is OK for Asian food) than grits or polenta.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                          applehome, your explanation is right on!

                                                                                                                                          and to think many chowhound threads on grits have gone on and on and on!

                                                                                                                                    2. re: KevinB

                                                                                                                                      I can't remember ever liking grits in the South, either, although recently my dh started making a breakfasty thing with polenta meal - you know, cook it like cereal, add salt, butter, honey. I like it. But we all do better with protein in the morning, so I never bothered to see exactly how unorthodox his is.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: KevinB

                                                                                                                                        I've never had either grits or polenta (with the exception of firm polenta in a tube bought at the grocery store and fried in a pan with some sliced cheese on top, didn't love it, didn't hate it as far as I can remember) but I'd like to try some sometime.

                                                                                                                                      2. Paella. Maybe I've just never had a great version, but every time I have had it, some of the seafood has been overcooked and the rice tends to be gummy. I love the idea, but the execution has always fallen short for me.

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: mollyomormon

                                                                                                                                          Ah, see. Good paella is a whole other story --

                                                                                                                                        2. Sweet Tea. It is so syrupy and excessively sweet. I like iced tea with maybe a little bit of sugar but sweet tea is over the top.

                                                                                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: mnos

                                                                                                                                            Actually I prefer mine unsweetened. That stuff they sold at McD's last summer was enough to melt your teeth. If that was even a faint example of sweet tea, no thank you.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                                              mickey d's sweet tea (year round here and florida, i know for sure) is the "sweet tea" sugar profile.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                                                The kid at McD's drive-through told me they put 4 pounds of sugar in for every three-gallon recipe of sweet tea they make. Made my teeth hurt and my stomach churn. Sweet tea is an abomination of the tea leaf. And I lived in Tennessee far a few years as a kid.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                    That's no more, and possibly less, sugar than what's in a soft drink (and the reason I don't drink them).

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                    Sweet tea is a staple here in the South. For a gallon of tea I use a scant 1/3 cup of sugar; my family has always made a very lightly sweetened tea, the way we like it.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                      That sounds much nicer. I have nothing against sugar--just can't fathom having more gallons of sugar per gallons of liquid as outlined above.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: mnos

                                                                                                                                                  To me, the key to sweet tea is to ask for it half sweet and half unsweet so you can taste the tea along with the simple syrup. Any restaurant in the South I've been in is pretty much used to people sometimes asking for it that way.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: beachmouse

                                                                                                                                                    A cut sweet tea or an Arnold Palmer will make any day better.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: mnos

                                                                                                                                                    Ugh! I hate sweet tea too! I don't get it!

                                                                                                                                                  3. I visited Wisconsin and tried the boiled whitefish that everyone raved about. HORRIBLE. I am a huge fish eater and just could not understand it.

                                                                                                                                                    Just for the record I am a native Texan and absolutely love Whataburger, one of the main things I missed when living in Wyoming for a few years. Pickled jalapenos make them even better.

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: swamp

                                                                                                                                                      When I was living in WI, I never understand the deal with fish boil either. But of course I don't practice the meatless Friday thing and I like fishy fish. I also think it is more of a symbolic ritual rather than a meal that people consume just for the taste. Most locals I knew of treated the Friday fish night as a social outing.

                                                                                                                                                      Cheeseballs also scared me, a lot. Especially when they were pinkish.

                                                                                                                                                      On the other hand, bratwurst on mash is something I dream about every other day.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                        I live in Milwaukee, and I still don't get the fascination with butter burgers. One of the most famous burger places in the city (Solly's) puts a ridiculous amount of butter on the burger. I cannot describe the amount in words, so I'll let the link do the talking. Regardless, I think its quite disgusting.

                                                                                                                                                        (And yes, that puddle below the burger is all butter)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pastry634

                                                                                                                                                          I was born and raised in Milwaukee. I miss butter burgers (along with good frozen custard, stuffed pizza and the cheesecake squares from National Bakery), especially from Kopp's. Culver's opened a store here in metro-Phoenix, but they've never been as good as Kopp's, imho.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pastry634

                                                                                                                                                            I love butter! That looks delicious :D When I was a kid we were too poor to afford real butter so when we bought it instead of margarine for Christmas I'd eat it straight in tiny spoonfuls :P

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                            There is a very fine art to the spreading and eating of Vegemite. Spread right, on white toast, with lashings of butter, it is God's own food. The key is to have a very thin layer.

                                                                                                                                                            White toast with Vegie and sliced tomatoes = best hang/bong over food ever.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: purple goddess

                                                                                                                                                              "Hangover" food I eat five to six hours after the event. But when does one eat "bong over" food? 5 or six minutes later?!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: KevinB

                                                                                                                                                                yep. Great food for the munchies.. or so I've been told.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ola

                                                                                                                                                              I'm Québécoise and don't like poutine. Think it is a waste of frites. But often people use it as a greasy thing to ingest upon pub-closing time.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ola

                                                                                                                                                                I just find that restaurants use such crappy gravy. I love a good poutine with squeaky curds and good gravy.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ola

                                                                                                                                                                  Living in Montreal, I can have it about once a year and enjoy it. Any more than that and it's too much. It's hard to avoid when you have friends inviting you to La Banquise every weekend. If I have it, it has to be the classic, non of this 20 toppings thing. And the cheese MUST be squeaky curds...

                                                                                                                                                                  If you can't hear the squeak, it's not poutine.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ola

                                                                                                                                                                    I was all excited to try it.... and finally got a chance about five years ago, after many poutine-less trips to Montreal. And.... yuck.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Mawrter

                                                                                                                                                                      I had the same reaction to poutine when I had it in Montreal this past winter. Yech, mainly. I had plenty of other great food in the city but that was a major disappointment. I'd rather just have french fries with gravy, diner style.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: travelmad478

                                                                                                                                                                        Good eating in Montreal! Love that city!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Mawrter

                                                                                                                                                                          Great poutine is absolutely world-class. I'd kill for good poutine in NYC! And yes, Montreal is a fabulous city.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: BrooksNYC

                                                                                                                                                                            You can find "good poutine" anywhere in Canada.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Fried tenderloins (pork) in Indiana. I lived where they supposedly have the best tenderloins and they are shipped even to Great Britain. I simply wasn't impressed with them at all.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Wow, the South is taking it tough, eh?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. I'd been told not to miss the toasted ravioli in St Louis,, MO but I wasn't thrilled.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. Okra...no matter how it's prepared, I think I'm missing its appeal.

                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mom22tots

                                                                                                                                                                            Have you tried indian style okra ( bindi)?

                                                                                                                                                                          2. I think the South gets the brunt of the hate because they have more distinctive regional cuisine. I really can't think of very many regional foods here in Southern California. Anything that's any good gets exported pretty quickly(French dip, pastrami burger, ranch dressing).

                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: huaqiao

                                                                                                                                                                              Ranch dressing! I never got that one. Milky dressing on a salad is kind of gross to me.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: poptart

                                                                                                                                                                                Ranch dressing on a pizza! Don't get it, don't want to

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Gjetost (Brown cheese) from Norway.

                                                                                                                                                                                Marmite and Vegemite.

                                                                                                                                                                                Foie Gras in France. Regardless of the price/treatment/presentation, it just tastes like underdone fatty liver to me, and I'd rather eat other things in France.

                                                                                                                                                                                48 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: phoenikia

                                                                                                                                                                                  Proper Foie Gras IS underdone fatty liver, is it not?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: phoenikia

                                                                                                                                                                                    Gjetost is just Norwegian peanut butter, enjoy it just the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                      Is that salmon paste in a tube? A Swedish friend of mine used to turn his nose up at peanut butter, saying "it's the most vile thing on Earth" and in the same breath would tell us how he grew up in Sweden eating salmon paste in a tube. This I found to be the most vile thing ever. I guess another example of a regional thing. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                                                                        Gjetost/Geitost/Brunost is brown cheese, traditionally made with Goat's milk - although I prefer versions that use part cow's milk, as it's a bit milder:

                                                                                                                                                                                        "Brunost is made by boiliing a mixture of milk, cream and whey carefully for several hours so that the water evaporates. The heat turns the milk sugar into caramel which gives the cheese its characteristic taste."

                                                                                                                                                                                        People usually hate it or love it, but I think the flavour's tangy, sweet and delicious! I kind of think the psychological thing of it being brown has a lot to do with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                        IMPORTANT NOTE:
                                                                                                                                                                                        If you are in Norway and want to try Brunost, do not confuse it with Gamalost, another brown cheese. Literally translated, it means "old cheese", and it's much more of an acquired taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Wikipedia compares the flavor to Roquefort, I compare it to old socks.


                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hangrygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                          In case I forget, happy 17th of May! I might work as a kayak guide in Hardanger Fjord in the summer of 2010.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hangrygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                            Interesting... I have to say, it sounds good to me. The Brunost, that is. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hangrygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                              That's funny--I do think "old cheese" is reminiscent of old socks. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                See, honestly, I think "old socks" is a good thing on some cheese. I haven't tried the Norwegian thing, but I would, given the chance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Mawrter

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I know what you mean as there are enough cheeses in the world that fit the "old socks" flavor profile, so clearly people eat them and like them. They just don't do it for me. I tried one just the other day when I was cheese shopping and what it was, I don't recall (no need to remember something you'll never buy). I was especially grateful for the next cheese nibble I sampled after that to get that socky taste outta my mouth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I know exactly what you mean. When it's bad, it's bad, and you want that taste OUTTA your mouth!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                      So many tastes are learned. After living in Norway for 5 years, we are very fond of gjeit ost. There is always a block of Ski Queen in the fridge and when we go to Portlnd, we pick up a better grade of brun ost. It is as common in Norway as horrid American (erzats) cheese is here. We usually have the gjeitost at the start of a frukost board breakfast on top of Wasa Knekebrod and topped w/ warm sliced hard boiled egg.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      I hate these "what don't you like" threads' so un chowish and very whiney. Too much negative energy. I feel that if a culture or large group of people like something, there must be something to it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                        yet those very threads are some of the longest! go figure! passa, i agree with you; i think the "what i don't like" threads are not very useful. <although i cannot claim that i've *never* posted on one. ;-) i think this thread, though, is not quite in that category.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                          While I'm grousing, I also wonder about this Northern dislike of Southern food. Scargod and I just finished a road trip through the deep south and the best food we had was southern. Grits are new to me and I love them; especially w/ a thick slab of country ham and a couple of eggs. This was in southern Georgia. An incredibly beautiful area. Savannah may be my favorite US city.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think sometimes people want to share in the experiences of others by joining in with a "Yes! I know what you mean!" or a "Listen to this one!".

                                                                                                                                                                                                          What is unfortunate is when we devolve into "That is DISGUSTING. How can anyone eat that?" and "Jane, you ignorant slut, if you weren't so far beneath the real chowhounds you'd be eating this thing the right way and loving it."

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Now I have to go google some of the foods in your post. I can't resist. :) I learn so much here. Love that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fern

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I love cheese so had to look into those you mentioned. Saw the brun ost described as caramely. Sounds delicious. I will watch for it, although life in suburbia doesn't always provide.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            All of the recent travel focus on the area has gotten my attention. I could begin my trip research here with some cheese. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Not implying we're taking a big trip, it will be a long time off.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Still, it doesn't hurt to prepare.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Did you and Scargod post about your trip? I'll search around.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            eta: Found it. Here's the link in case others are interested:

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: fern

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Fern, we are on the tail end (2 more years) of putting 5 kids through college. We drive 21 and 23 year old SAABs; eat from our garden and from what I hunt, catch and forage; we seldom dine out; but boy do we save up for vacations when we usually visit our kids. My "new" Miata is 21 years old, but it gave me reason for a chow trip w/ Scargod, God bless him. June 20 we go visit 2 of our kids that live in Asia and see my new grandkeg.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Carpe Chow!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                My hat is off to you! Our last one (of 6, but one didn't really go to school much) goes off in the fall. 3 in school next year. I think we can, I think we can...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Miata sounds like a howl, and your trip! What a blast!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                We're like you, driving the cars until they give a little cough and then wander off to die. No cable TV, even had dial up until less than a year ago! Our kids think we're Amish. I've always planted a garden but have decided not to buy ANY flowers for pots or beds this year and only put in edibles. I'm excited about that.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                We've never had lots of extra $ but we have managed to get the kids through college (so far!), give them study abroad experiences, and take some great trips ourselves. Just depends where you want your money to go, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 kids in Asia at the same time, wonderful!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                *Hearty congratulations* on the new baby, what an exciting and joyous trip it will be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: fern

                                                                                                                                                                                                              fern - that is exactly what I objected to earlier in this thread. It's so unpolite to say that a region's beloved food is disgusting. Much better to say it just wasn't to your liking. I had a hard time with this thread a few times since it seemed to dump on the South a lot. Then I realized 1) we're a very distinguishable area; and 2) most people lump all southern food into one place, like Making Sense talked about in one of the earlier responses. Virginia food is not the same as Mississippi food - even Mississippi food isn't like Mississippi food! We have the Delta region, the central part that is a country of its own, and the south, totally different from the rest of the state. So - I got over it! But I still cringe at "disgusting". It's rude!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm with you. My guess is people don't necessarily intend to be that rude but fail to realize that when you dis my food you dis my culture/family/history. Don't talk about my Momma, either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I find the history of it all fascinating but I'm generally curious, anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I've enjoyed this thread for that reason, learned many things about who eats what and where. Like you said, it's too bad when folks don't approach with an open mind or at least try to be polite if their experience wasn't positive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I do think the insults and snobbery get ridiculous but also believe most of the time the poster just didn't think that part through.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Maybe I have to believe that in order to justify my addiction to this site. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fern

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i disagree. if i find, say, natto disgusting, that reflects nothing more than my personal taste about a food. it reflects nothing about how i might or might feel about japanese culture, or your family.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I love southern food, however I did say the philli steak was gross or disgusting. Please don't put me in that category. I just can't agree with cheese whiz and processed meat. Southern cooking is fresh local ingredients. Now beef on weck, NY, fresh meat good rolls, fresh made. Chicago pizza, Yuck, but not disgusting, Just not my idea of pizza is all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    All cultures and regions have different cuisines which is what makes cooking interesting, we may hate the pizza or the burgers or the style of cheese steaks but over all cuisine in unique and is what makes the area. Southern as a generalization is wide spread but very unique in many areas. I like most southern cooking, but from what I have found. Fresh local ingredients which I think makes it great food with a unique style.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    So if I said disgusting to NY Philli Cheese Steaks, sorry, but I didn't see much fresh meat or cheese in the one I ate. Sorry Philli lovers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A good cheese steak is steak and provolone on great bread. I won't eat the cheese whiz ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Now true, good beef and good cheese is nice. Just everyone I had while up there was cheeze whiz and crappy beef. Maybe the wrong places which could of been. My cheese steak has good steak and cheese. Next time is there recommend a place for me. I can't remember the name but it was recommended as a landmark, but to me ... not good. but I am sure there are good places. Provolone is great

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "South Street, South Street, where all the hippest meet..." is a tourist trap of Philly. Hollyeats and the local chow board have some good recs. I left the area in '71! I did, however, teach our maid in Bolivia to make dynamite cheese steaks, using tenderloin and freshly delivered baguette.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Now that is my type of cheese steak!! I wish I remembered where I went recommended, but just not good to me. Maybe just expected more. I'm going up next month and will get some recs before I head up there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Maybe I was just too damn COLD to enjoy anything to eat last time. It was 35, cold rain, drizzle sleet which didn't help. My taste buds were probably froze. This FL gal doesn't like anything under 70, lol.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I differentiate between a "cheesesteak" a la Philly, which in my humble opinion consists of uniformly bad ingredients that when combined create something unique, and a "steak and cheese" like what I'd get in Mass or RI, the basic ingredients of which -- meat, cheese, and bread -- are all better than what you get in Philly. For example, the "steak bomb" at the long gone Ann's on Needham St. in Newton, Mass. Now that was something hound-worthy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think I seen the Diners Drive in and Dives and pretty much expected what I got, but at the same time with all the hype over it and I can eat junk food and it doesn't bother me, but I just expected more. Now one of the NY hot dogs on the street as bad as it was for me was good. So next time I go, I will get some good places to go. When we went we didn't have much time so we went to some famous corner in Philli, 1 place on 1 corner and another on the other side. Both longtime favorites I guess. Well, I ate it and it was fine but I wouldn't eat it again. There was this small restaurant in upstate MI years ago, no longer but the owners were from Philli and NY. They sold beer of weck, good NY hot dogs, Philli cheese that was awesome like you are saying. Real meat, real cheese and good bread. Now that was good. But by the time I was old enough to enjoy those classics, they were closing. Yes Bob W I am in search next time of a GOOD real cheesesteak.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "When we went we didn't have much time so we went to some famous corner in Philli, 1 place on 1 corner and another on the other side. Both longtime favorites I guess."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That's gotta be Pat's and Geno's on S. Passyunk Ave in South Philly, right across the street from each other. I've been there once, during my pre-internet chowhounding days. I got a cheesesteak at Pat's and like you said, it was ok. But the cult that has arisen around these things is, IMHO, way, way out of proportion to the actual product. Surely a roast pork sandwich with broccoli rabe -- which I sadly have still not had the pleasure of devouring, since I've been to Philly only four times in my life, all of which came before I even heard of roast pork sandwiches -- is a superior sandwich.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There is good Philly w/ above ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think this thread has been fun as so many people have chimed in to "defend" their regional favorite that someone else "just didn't get." In fact, through those posts, we've all had a chance to learn about what's considered good or authentic about a particular regional favorite, so some might try a dish again in search of a better version.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If you have learned to love the flavor of old socks, please continue to enjoy it--and have my portion, too. Everyone won't love everything--that's life. Alternatively, I think it would be "un chowish" for people to visit an area and say, "That just SOUNDS gross--I'll never try it!" People who have posted at least gave something new a shot and decided, "Not for me!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We have a friend who often brings a cheese we refer to as "The Sweat Sock Cheese". It fits and we enjoy it. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree, it's been fun to see what others say in defense of "their" food. Good info, things to be learned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: fern

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          HA HA...one of my mom's oldest friends would always refer to our Pecorino Romano as "that stinky cheese!!!" Pecorino Romano of all things--can you imagine? And yet, for sure, there are others who would chime in and say, "You know--*I" think it's stinky, too!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cheers and happy eating!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But, keg, you've posted 489,321 times about how you dislike Spam!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "I hate these "what don't you like" threads' so un chowish and very whiney. Too much negative energy."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Isn't it a little inconsistent for you to say that when you routinely add a bit of negative energy to any thread mentioning spam? I understand that you don't like it and it was probably associated with some terrible experiences for you, but there a lot of people who genuinely do like it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            When I was kid my mom used to cook me spam and I enjoyed it. When I became a smart aleck teenager, though, I gave my mom the whole "spam is disgusting and unnatural" spiel whenever she tried to buy a can even though I continued to like the taste. Now I realize that there are a lot of worse things than spam out there and I should just enjoy spam because I like it, instead of being faux-repulsed by it because of what other people say.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            However, my mom really liked Arby's roast beef sandwiches, too, so maybe I'm genetically flawed...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            p.s. I like gjetost, too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Humbucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hmmm- A big fat plain Arby's roast beef with a little horsey sauce and a little of that weird sweet arby sauce is probably my biggest guilty pleasure. That and Kraft mac & cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If that constitutes a genetic flaw then so be it. I yam what I yam, as Popeye said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: hangrygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My grandma loves Gjetost, and I've bought it a couple times on my own. Never managed to get through a whole package of it though -- after a few nibbles, it starts tasting like an odd combo of caramel and kraft mac 'n cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: operagirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I sell it in my cheese shop, it's a very good selling product.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Many folks enjoy Gjetost melted over a slice of apple pie or apple dumplings.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I like it with a slice of crisp apple or pear on a cracker.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But a little goes a long way, it is sweet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pacheeseguy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          it is also delish melted on a tart apple pie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Kalvi Salmon paste in the tube, yum! The perfect topping for the perfect smorbrod. We have a tube of salmon w/ dill in the fridge right now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not sure if it's the same kind but I bought a tube of salmon paste at Ikea and it was soooooooo good!!!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        so many wonderful possibilities of what you can spread it on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: phoenikia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I despise live in all its forms EXCEPT foie gras. Chicken livers? Blech! But, for me, foie gras is fatty, creamy goodness. I don't get the iron/metallic tastes that I get from other liver dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: phoenikia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Gjetost tastes a little like peanut butter rubbed on a goat. It is admittedly an acquired taste that if you live in the US there is not much reason to acquire.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      However, it is transformed when thinly sliced on hot toasted whole grain bread and gets all melty. It is also delicious whne you are crossing the fjords on a norwegian ferry on a rainy day and go into the little cafe for gjetost on a waffle and a cup of steaming coffee. Then you start to love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LJNew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I love your explanation of peanut butter rubbed on a goad! Priceless. Should I ever cross the fjords as you describe, I shall find a little cafe to experience gjetost just as you outlined above.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        P.S. The dog in your avatar cracks me up--looks like a smiling dog when it's small, then when you mouse over it looks like an attack dog! ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks kattyeyes - I thought it was a good "chow hound"!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Actually the cafes are on the ferries. It is much quicker to cross the fjords by ferry than try to drive around them, so the norwegian highway dept. operates a whole system of ferries along the west coast. My recolleciton is they all seemed to have little cafes on them, so if its too cold and nasty to stand outside you go inside and have a snack. I assume it is still the same, although I have not been in about 10 yrs or so. Need to go back and research this I guess!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. As I noted in a previous post in this thread, I grew up in Vermont and live in central NY state. My "problem" with most Southern food is it is so often deep fried, covered in thick gravy, or over cooked. My general perception of Southern food is "unhealthy."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      IMHO, chicken-fried steak is a good example.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Greens to me mean Swiss chard, beet greens, spinach, etc. steamed until just heated thru, crisp, and bright green in color, served with a sprinkling of lemon juice, salt & pepper, and sometimes butter. To me, greens fried in fat until they are mushy and are more brown than green is not only unappetizing, but also unhealthy. Even Alton Brown prepared greens this way on one show and proclaimed how good they were, but not to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It seem that I am not the only "northerner" to feel this way. About ten years ago, Bob Evans" opened a bunch of restaurants around here. Within five years they were all closed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      47 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LaLa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I just got a few of the dawgs from under the porch to walk down to the tackle shop with me to get me some chew.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Spittin' makes all us Southern hicks feel better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LaLa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yeah, well, sorta me to, and I'm no southerner. Fried steak, done right, is wonderful. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LaLa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              another southerner really biting her tongue (they just don't know)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well, don't bite your tongues, then. Change the perception if it's out of line with reality. I'm sure al b. darned comes in peace and I do, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                al b. darned said:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My "problem" with most Southern food is it is so often deep fried, covered in thick gravy, or over cooked. My general perception of Southern food is "unhealthy."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't know about overcooked, but most Southern foods I've loved are covered in gravy and unhealthy (biscuits and gravy is a great example). I love biscuits and gravy--just don't consider them health food. And, thought you may not have voted for her as such, Paula Deen (Queen of Butter) hasn't helped the image of Southern cooking much. Help us out here!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Okay, I can only speak for South Mississippi b/c it's my home, but I have relatives in North Mississippi. Here on the coast we have an abundance of fresh fish and seafood and that's probably the basis of our diet. We might fry the fish or seafood, at most, twice a year, if that. Our fried seafood comes from poboys and church fish fries. Yes, we will have the occasional un-healthy meal (we have to/we crave it), but mostly we eat lean chicken and little red meat along with our seafood. Growing season lasts all but two months of the year, so we have fresh fruit and veggies most of the time. We grow oranges, limes, and lemons in the back yard. We "overcook" our turnip greens because they taste good like that and the potlikker is richer. I haven't had a biscuit and gravy since I left home at 18. Breakfast is oatmeal and fresh fruit, eggs on Sunday. We get takeout Chinese, pizza or fast food maybe twice a month. We make soups, stews, and gumbos, and make a meal of garden veggies and never miss the meat. We're known for growing fresh catfish and we love that too - I haven't fried any in over 30 years, love it baked/grilled/broiled. I've been here almost all my life and everyone I know eats like this. We're as health-minded as people in other states are. We KNOW we can't live on breaded/fried/gravied things all the time, but oh! what a delight it is when we can have those goodies! Does that help?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Speaking just for myself, and smiling while saying so, I never thought all southerners were eating fried food daily...any more than I think anyone anywhere else is these days. I'm willing to guess ol' al b. darned didn't think so either. But the fried/gravied goodies ARE traditionally southern, no? Shoot, I'm of Italian heritage. Would I love to eat a cannoli daily? Sure! Do I--of course not. Wait, one edit: I DO think Paula Deen probably eats naughty, fried, buttery meals of her choosing every day. More power to her!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm jealous every time I read about a Chowhound (from the South or California) picking citrus fruits in their yards. I say all the time "I wish we all could be California girls!" Lucky you! My cat is anxiously waiting for her new lemongrass to grow again in place of the *lemonhay* that's left behind since last summer. Right now, the only thing that's growing back outside is chives and it's just refreshing to see something GREEN again!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe it would be akin to people not from my neck of the woods thinking New Englanders only eat lobster, fried clams or N.E. boiled dinners. Or that people from Philly only eat cheese steaks and cream cheese. :) But I honestly don't think any of us are quite so narrowly defined--north or south.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    P.S. I don't know how many years it's been since you were 18, but I think you might be overdue for some biscuits and gravy. ;) I agree, it is truly a delight!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks kattyeyes - it was never a fave of mine or I probably would've had it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I really dislike that white sausage gravy on a biscuit, don't know why. I think it is akin to what you said about New Englanders, etc., the south is a pretty well defined region, and we are capable of eating some weird stuff to those not used to it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        HA HA! OK, well, I'll eat your portion, then.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You know what I did love? Tomato gravy! Just remembered it. Mmmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've never made it, but you make a roux out of bacon drippings, add some onion and probably other stuff, then chopped tomatoes and water, seasonings, until it's thick and gravy-like. It was good on biscuits with eggs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                love tomato gravy. my mom serves it on plain white rice (or toast). hers is simply made with bacon drippings & white flour roux, and finely chopped peeled and seeded tomatoes, milk, salt and a little pepper.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                so simple, so summery good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  that's right, alka, it did have milk in it
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  gonna try some this weekend

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Let's not get into trouble. Here is the link to the Saveur recipe:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Note when you are viewing the recipe online, there's an "address" that begins with http://www.saveur... That's what you can cut and paste so you don't need to go to the trouble of paraphrasing the recipe. Ca va bien? :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      trying again:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      that's what I get time and again after following your directions

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Okeydoke, so you posted (another regional favorite MANY don't get!) fried okra. Is that the page you were trying to share? If so, it worked perfectly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Edit: Please check your e-mail. We'll figure this out offline, K?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          good post. i've never seen fried okra like that, though. ;-).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's one way my family has always cooked it. The other is to put the slices of okra into a mainly cornmeal mixture (after dipping in egg white) and frying in oil in a cast iron skillet. It gets kind of loose that way, and tastes so so good, different from the other recipe, but both delicious.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            One friend I have uses tempura batter on his.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i use a mac, and select and copy the url address in the header of the item i want to link, then paste into my chowhound post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        re saveur's recipe, let us know how you like it. they've fancied it up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        mom's recipe doesn't have garlic, thyme, cream (!) or even onion. (maybe some onion, but maybe not). try it on rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oooh, I'll bet. Sounds good and fattening and not unlike that other "health food" I enjoy from your part of the globe. ;) I'll have to try it, so thank you for explaining. I went 20 years without knowing about biscuits and gravy, either (we were an SOS family).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      alkapal: It's like the Depression-era food thread in which so many dishes were served on toast! When my mom doesn't feel like making a big dinner, she'll often still go to something on toast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        a quickie way to make the tomato milk gravy is to use canned tomatoes, when you have no good summer tomatoes. updated technique: use a stick blender!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              < "But the fried/gravied goodies ARE traditionally southern, no?" >

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Nope. Not just Southern. Anyplace that people flour/bread or otherwise coat meat and cook it in fat on the stovetop and cook it in or serve it with a sauce is the same thing. Swiss steak, braised meats, etc. are common across the US. They're part of the tradition of German cooking that was spread throughout the Great Plains during the Westward Expansion.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Southerners love their Chicken Fried Steak but there are similar "nameless" items on family tables and as Blue Plate Specials in diners across the country. Heck, down to Salisbury Steak, whatever that is supposed to be.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Here's a recipe for Braised Cube Steak from last month's New York Times. We used to call this Smothered Steak. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/04/din...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Paula Dean is like Gypsy Rose Lee - she's got a gimmick. Nobody I know eats like that or uses any of those so-called Southern recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm sorry if I offended anyone...it was not intended. I was not as clear as I meant to be. I guess that's what happens when you try to be lucid at 4 am. Even if I didn't offend, but you have a differing opinion please do not bite your tongue. Speak up...that's how we learn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                To all who did respond, thank you for your enlightenment. Your points are well taken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I did not mean to imply I thought that all southerners, or anyone else for that matter, ate unhealthy every day. I know that is not the case. With the exception of the over cooked greens I like most "southern" food, but I still don't get fried green tomatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I guess I meant that the perception of southern foods is as I described. And this perception is not helped by FN or Travel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Paula Dean is like Gypsy Rose Lee - she's got a gimmick. Nobody I know eats like that or uses any of those so-called Southern recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's not just Paula. Whether it's AB, Bourdain, Zimmern, Fieri, or whoever, whenever they do a show on or in the South they inevitability feature something drowned southern style gravy, fried green tomatoes, fried dill pickles, fried okra, or some similar "classic southern dish." And there is some southerner right next to them happy to oblige them and gush about how this is "true southern food and we eat this every day."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In all fairness, tho, buffalo wings and chili cheese fries ain't exactly health food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                OTOH, while I have spent a good portion of my life in NE, I had never heard of a "NE Boiled Dinner" until I was living somewhere else.,,and have never had one. I don't know anyone who has. Lobster and/or clams were/are special treats.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                BTW - Philly cream cheese is not and never has been made in Philadelphia. It is made in upstate NY.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  al, you didn't offend anyone, I think the south had to be targeted b/c we ARE a distinct region of the US, and my state is #1 in obesity, so we all know the score here. My reply answered for me and those people I know and come into contact with on a regular basis, and we do eat pretty normally I think. But that fried stuff is never far from our minds!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I never knew that about Philly cream cheese. That's pretty funny, actually!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I made a N.E. boiled dinner for the first time Saturday night so I could have leftover corned beef for hash, then reuben soup. It was really tasty! But I don't remember having it very often growing up and I've lived in CT my whole life (OK, not yet!). I know my mom made it this past St. Patrick's Day (we used her leftover CB for our maiden reuben soup voyage). And I don't remember anyone referring to it as a N.E. boiled dinner, either, but that's what the recipe was called on the corned beef packaging.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I do agree the perception of southern foods is as you described, though, as that was my perception, too. And also agree FN and TC don't do anything to shatter those perceptions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Don't worry about it, but please try not to buy into to stereotypes about the South. Central Casting does more than enough of that to us and we're an easy target.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Food Network and media do the same thing to most areas of the US because it's easy. They pick the outlandish or colorful or things that people are already familiar with so they don't have to do a lot of set-up. And they're into entertainment.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hey, let's face it, the South has some colorful people who actually work at being colorful. When they do New England, they want that good accent and the stereotypical Yankee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There were good reasons for the original recipes for long-cooked greens and fried green tomatoes which don't really exist anymore. I've moved on and I think a lot of others have too.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hardscrabble subsistence farmers in the rural South grew what they could in their yards. They grew greens year-round and picked them as they needed them. Those greens were often tough and HAD to be cooked until they were tender enough to be edible. They long-cooked greens out of habit.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I now cook greens as a seasonal food, knowing that they're best young and fresh, and especially after the first frost in the Fall. Those cook quickly and stay bright, even a little crisp, and still have a lot of flavor.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Green tomatoes were making-do food. When Fall came, the tomatoes stopped ripening on the vine and there was no way that you would waste precious food. You figured out a way to make dinner out them, so you fried them up or made relish from them. Since they were good, people started cooking them as a regular thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There's a lot of history in most of our Southern food just as there are in the foodways of most of the heritage foods of America.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We've lost so many of those stories today. Why we eat what we eat in certain sections of the country. There are probably things in Vermont that you ate for certain reasons at certain times of the year before refrigeration, long haul shipping, and supermarkets.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That's the basis of local, seasonal and regional foods that we got away from for so long in the US. What a pity! And how nice that we are rediscovering it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Maybe some of these traditions don't really translate very well to other sections. Maybe they do.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I actually think it would be a shame to homogenize American food so that we all eat the same things everywhere. I don't cook with walnuts and maple syrup. I use pecans and cane syrup. My food is who I am.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Why should you eat Southern food in Vermont unless you're a Southerner pining for home?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I actually think it would be a shame to homogenize American food so that we all eat the same things everywhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I couldn't agree more!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As I read thru the the comments here, especially yours, it got me thinking about "stereotypical ethnic cuisine." Being of Russian/Polish heritage, I cringe when I think that some people think Hillshire Farms kielbasa or Mrs. T's perogies are authentic. Fortunately there are a couple of stores locally that make a mean kielbasa and the perogies they sell at the Ukrainian church down the road a couple of times a year freeze nicely. So is all locally made Polish food to die for? No. The perogies from one of the places that makes great kielbasa are kind of nasty and so are their cabbage rolls.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I certainly wouldn't put most of this food in the "health food" category, either. There seems to be an abundance of "brown food" in the typical Polish cookbook. But just as with "southern food," this is what the poor folks ate in the "old country," brought it with them, and fed it to their kids. There is plenty of that "traditional" food I don't care for, either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As for green tomatoes, we used to (and still do) just bring them in and put them on the window sill and let them ripen. (Some people put them in a paper bag to do this.) The one year I had too many green ones I made marmalade and "green tomato mincemeat" from them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Brown food"- LOL
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That's my opinion of German food in general (never been there, I admit). Brown and either sour or overly sweet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I haven't had enough Polish food to form an opinion of it, but perhaps it's tsimilar. I've got German on all sides of me, inc. near-100% on DH's side. My beloved mother-in-law will combine raw hamburger, sauerkeraut, and minute rice in a big bowl, mix it up, throw it in a casserole and cook until the rice is "done". Surprisingly, with a whole bunch of salt and pepper it tastes pretty good, but wow, is it ever German. My mother was much more into fresh foods, aside frorm frequent forays into the 1960s-style American culinary abominations-you know, TV dinners and so forth..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            German food is neither brown, nor overly sour (not even well-made sauerkraut is) or sweet. Whatever that concoction your MIL cooked up doesn't sound like anything I've ever heard of -- it may well be one of those home invented dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            German food beats the crap out of Polish food, that's for sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Visit. Eat. Enjoy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I hope to. I'm not claiming to be any kind of expert on German food, just pointing out to al b. darned that my experience with Brown Food is usually German rather than Polish.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Linguafood, I looked up what she called that dish online and what I found bore little to no resemblance to what she makes. But if you saw what she calls "chalupa" and had a deep appreciation for Mexican food you'd flat-out gag- underseasoned overcooked pork mixed with canned refried beans, slopped on a plate and covered with Fritos. Fritos! She's not a bad cook, actually, I think she mostly suffers from having graduated from college in 1948 with a Home Economics degree- not a lot of World Cuisine being taught in South Dakota at the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Or unless you adore both cuisines, as do I.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I must say, Al B, as another northerner I theoretically hated overcooked southern-style greens for a long time, right up until I actually tried them. These greens are freakin' awesome! I've come to the point where I'll go to a barbeque restaurant and just order a big dish of turnip greens, with cornbread to dip into the leftover broth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This is not to detract from your opinion, but just to support the southerners in their love for long-cooked greens!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This southerner appreciates your support. They have an almost creamy taste, don't they? I've had lightly cooked ones before, but they don't touch the smoky/sweet/salty/earthy taste of over-cooked greens with hot cornbread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hmmm. This makes me want to try them now. I always thought they looked rather...well...gross. They reminded me of the "cream of spinach" soup I was given in the hospital after surgery when I was a kid. It was rather unpleasant to say the least. But, I do love cornbread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Jen76

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bayoucook, the greens I've had are indeed almost creamy in texture, but I like that the creaminess comes from the vegetable starch cooking out and not added dairy. I also really like how there is a contrast of textures in the vegetables, between the leaves and stems and whatever else is in there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Jen, I agree that greens are not much to look at, especially next to a colorful spring vegetable saute or something, but close your eyes and give them an honest try. They have a very intense, earthy, vegetable flavor, and even though I am a lightly-cooked-fresh-vegetable-fan I still love them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    RMJ - you summed it up perfectly for me! Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      RMJ - I just read your bio and we have something in common: I CANNOT bake. I can bake a cake from scratch (hate it tho') and make pretty good biscuits (southern women learn that at age 7 ha), but if it has yeast in it, forget it. Love my bread machine. Ruined refrig. yeast rolls for the 10th time for Easter. Cook's Illus. Almost No-Knead Bread hated me, quick breads are out of the question. I carefully measure wet and dry ingredients and use a thermometer for the water for the yeast. It ain't gon' happen! Poor us!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Well, I grew up in NE and we had Yankee boiled dinner every week or two the entire time I was growing up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I suppose that you don't know what "tonic" is either... :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chard and beet greens but especially kale HAVE to be cooked to death so they're not horrible woody nightmares. You can't speak of chard and spinach in the same breath and cannot prepare them the same way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John Manzo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I respectfully disagree. Chard and beet greens take longer to cook than spinach, but not by much; they can certainly be done as a simple saute. And kale takes more time than either, but absolutely does not need to be "cooked to death" to be palatable. I have nothing at all against stewed greens, but that style of cooking isn't necessary to avoid "horrible woody nightmares." I hate piles of tough or woody greens, but I never do the long-cooked style at home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John Manzo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You can't speak of chard and spinach in the same breath and cannot prepare them the same way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I also disagree because I *do* prepare them the same way. I cut out the woody stems so I mostly have leaves. Maybe you have different chard, but the chard grow is about the same size and texture of spinach. The main difference is chard grows all summer and into the fall, where spinach bolts at the first heat wave.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Spinach is a lovely saute. And I have had mustard/collard/turnip greens cooked lightly, and they were horrible. Bitter and just woodsy and earthy. Those I will continue to pair with some sweet turnips and cook down, long, and slow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              mustards and collards are not good when sauteed like spinach, imo. they need long cooking to be tender. but fresh mustard greens, cooked right, are sweet and tender. mmm mmm good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: John Manzo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Many greens are related to squid and octopus - either cook for a minute or two or cook em for hours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So true. And either way is fine by me. There's a recipe in Chez Panisse: Vegetables for broccoli cooked to a fare-thee-well. And it is awesome. I know broccoli is not a green, per se, but heck, not everything needs to be crunchy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. While not "regional" as in America, I don't get mushy peas. When I was in Great Britain, I was told I "had" to try the meat pie with mashed potatoes and mushy peas. The meat pie was pretty good, albeit a bit greasy, and the mash was good, the mushy peas were just wrong. I'm glad we won the war.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Good mushy peas (homemade) are wonderful, especially with lots of black pepper and a mound of creamy mashed potatoes. Commercial mushy peas are usually dyed lurid green and is often mint flavoured - disgusting, I agree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I agree....have had both horrible mushy peas (very bland and boring) and wonderful ones. I guess like grits, they can be either one extreme or the other! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh, I'm so on board for disliking mushy peas! Especially minted mushy peas. *shudder*

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Though I have to put in the disclaimer that I find peas mushy and pasty to begin with, so celebrating that fact and ruining my fish and chips with them...unforgiveable!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Here in the U.P. of Michigan, it would have to be pasties. Unless made at home with some good steak and spices in them, IMO anywhere you buy them, they are bland and nothing to write home about........

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Lindseyup67

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Three out of three votes from my family that pasties are inedible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Lindseyup67

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've been in West MI for the last 15 yrs. but I grew up outside of Detroit. Pasties were a MUST have on our vacations to the U.P. (along with good smoked whitefish). I've always thought that bland was the hallmark of them (and love 'em just the same). I'm interested in what is done with them differently in a home kitchen up there to spice them up vs. what you find in the restaurants/roadside place's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I cobbled together my own version, LOTS of rutabaga and potato, small amounts of onion and carrots boiled till tender. Browned ground beef (I've never liked the shaved/chopped beef) with a bit of garlic salt and fresh cracked pepper then all into the crust and baked. The result is less than stellar but better than nothing. I went online a few years ago to search for recipes and was surprised to find so many that had raw ingredients going into the oven. I suppose I didn't think everything would cook well enough from raw (especially the rutabaga) without burning the crust.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As time has marched, I've wanted to add more flavor but I'm torn.. There's no end to the ways I could ramp it up but then it wouldn't be the pasty I know any longer. Just adding a side of gravy doesn't do much (first time I ever even encountered it being offered was in Copper Harbor about 15 yrs. ago).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So Lindsey, any tips from a true Yooper? BTW, my hubby had never had a pasty until I introduced him 20 years ago, he wouldn't get on board and still calls them Nasties! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Alicat24

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think you're talking about what we call Cornish pasties. I love them. Traditionally they are made with skirt steak, swede (rutabaga) and a little onion which is not cooked before putting in the pastry. Delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cornish pasties are one of the things I want to try when we finally get a chance to visit that part of the UK. Though the first visit, it turns out, will be in the Manchester area for our best friend's wedding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What's a "local delicacy" or treat in the Manchester area? :) and are they over-rated? :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Morganna

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Manchester is probably the right place to try an Eccles Cake, which can be delicious but are definitely not diet food.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Other good things to try from that region: black pudding from Bury, Bakewell tart (from Derbyshire), Cheshire and Lancashire cheese (both crumbly white cheeses), Lancashire hotpot, potted shrimps from Morecambe Bay (strongly recommended).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As I understand the history they are indeed an offspring of Cornish pasties or meat pies. Immigrant's to the US in the 1800's who made their way to our Upper Penninsula to work in the copper mines brought the pasty with them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If you trust Wikipedia (I'm wishy washy) later waves of Finnish immigrant's round about 1864 decided to adopt the pasty as thier own. The Finn's (if true) might explain the distinct accent/way of speaking that our Yooper's have. Very similar to the way of speaking those in Minnesota and the movie "Fargo" had but distinctly different.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Rather frustrating to not find concrete information and trust me I've searched!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Lindseyup67

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think of pasties as being an English thing--do I have the wrong version? I didn't care for them either--high fat meat in a pastry pocket, served cold. Something about cold congealed fat that didn't sit well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        They should NOT be served cold, so I think you should try them again!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was served slices of meat pie (not individual pasties) as picnic food in England. Cold, fatty meat, with a hard-cooked egg in the middle. Is that not typical? It was a bit bland, but not bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Glencora

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That reminds me of Scotch eggs. I didn't "get" that at all. Though I want to add that I had lots of really wonderful food as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Glencora

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That's a pork pie (or I think with an egg it's a picnic pie, but I'm not certain on that). And you're right - cold congealed grease. Back when I ate meat and was a poor student I used to buy a slice of freshly made pork pie in Sheffield market - it would still be warm and juicy and delicious - that is the right time to eat them I think, not out of supermarket cellophane.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was lucky enough to stay with my friend's granny, an amazing baker. She made the pie from scratch, so I think it was a pretty good version, just not my thing. She also made scones and rock buns for tea almost every day, and for dinner, wonderful Yorkshire pudding with beef and boiled potatoes (and, unfortunately, some nasty cabbage.) What DID come in supermarket cellophane was a pink and yellow checkerboard-patterned cake with stiff, icky frosting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Glencora

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pork pie is excellent if you get a well-made one. Unfortunately there are a lot of bad pork pies around.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Scotch eggs are great hangover food and one of my guilty pleasures!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hangover food! I think I'd rather have a bacon sandwich. (see other thread)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. New York Italian. I still am not sure how Manhattan's Little Italy manages to stay in business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. As a RI native, I suppose I should love jonnycakes, but.... Maybe it's because I'm a northern Rhode Islander and jonnycakes are more of a southern RI thing. (Yes, I know you think RI is too small to have such differences, just humor me)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A few years back, I saw a bag of RI jonnycake meal (from Kenyon's Mill in beautiful Usquepaugh) at the market. I bought it and ended up throwing most of it out. We made them a couple times but the interest quickly wore off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What do people (RI or otherwise) think of jonnycakes? One famous place to have them is Commons Lunch in Little Compton. If you're going to try them, that's where you should do it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            20 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              On the kicking RI while it's down, I don't get coffee milk. It's like watery melted coffee ice cream. At least chocolate milk has taste, but coffee milk is not much more than overly sweet milk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But I do like clam cakes about once a summer. And even good stuffies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: thinks too much

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm a big coffee milk fan -- I once had the VA license plate COFE MLK. Autocrat is my syrup of choice, but they are all made by the same company now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And check this out. One time I was driving around when I had that tag on my car when I guy pulled up along side me and yelled, "Are you from RI"? When I said sure am, he told me he was too (from Smithfield, I think) and was toting around a CASE of coffee syrup in his trunk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Now, if you want a really hard-core RI specialty, how about snail salad? Unlike fried calamari, snail salad hasn't caught on nationwide. Can't imagine why. 8<D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Coffee milk is a very common drink in Asia. I'm sure that's how most people in places like Japan and Taiwan consume coffee. I'm curious how different the RI version is compared to the Asian versions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: huaqiao

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Coffee milk in RI is made by adding sweet, coffee-flavored syrup to milk. There are three main brands of coffee syrup, now all made by the same company. In order of increasing coffee flavor, they are Autocrat, Eclipse, and Coffee Time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Supposedly coffee syrup was created by immigrants to acclimate their children to the taste of coffee. I don't know about the accuracy of that, but I did start drinking coffee milk as a youngster and moved right into coffee in high school (weak Dunkin Donuts coffee with plenty of milk and sugar). The sugar soon fell by the wayside as did most of the milk, but I never moved all the way to black coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I also love Thai and Vietnamese iced coffee, btw.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I need to get a hold of some RI coffee syrup so I can conduct an informal tasting of coffee milks from around the world. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huaqiao


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Coffee milk is the official state drink of RI, beating out Del's Lemonade, which was awarded a consolation prize of official summertime treat or something equally idiotic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: huaqiao

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Common in Taiwan are large packets that contain instant coffee, powdered milk, and sugar. Just add hot water.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: thinks too much

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I miss being able to grab a pint of Garelick Farms coffee milk in the mini mart. All is not lost, tho, as I have a quart of Autocrat Syrup in the fridge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Now if I could only get Del's lemonade....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Long displaced RI'er here, kind of southern RI to divide it even more, I guess, near Wickford and I never liked jonnycakes either, though I love most corn based foods. I did like coffee milk back then but what do high schoolers who don't drink coffee know. I did love Del's lemonade but not crazy about it since it's gone nationwide. I did love clam fritters, then--deep fried hunk of dough on the beach. What's not to like?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I know--I love fried dough, too. And, think about it, when we're wearing beach attire, can you think of a less appropriate thing to eat? ;) But we were young and it tasted SO GOOD. Still does.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Fried dough rocks! Doughboys in Maine, clamcakes in RI, zeppoles in NYC, funnel cakes in the Mid-Atlantic, conch fritters in Florida....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Why stop at dough? I've told my husband that one day I'm going to buy a huge fryer and open a stand at fairs. I won't have food but it'll be a "you buy it, we fry it" stand. People can bring whatever they've bought, we'll dip it in a special batter and deep fry it. Maybe we'll have an assortment of things that don't go bad, too--candy bars, Twinkies, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mmm... deep-fried snickers or mars bars. I wish I could get those in Montreal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Andria

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Andria, please introduce yourself to bigfellow on his "What's for dinner tonight" thread. He's in Montreal and he posted about making deep-fried candy bars in the restaurant where he worked. Deep-fried bliss is in your future. :)