What’s true about all these dishes is that they will make your stomach turn. So, get ready with a garbage can next to you because we’re about to give you some pretty nasty regional dishes.
Alabama -- Ambrosia Salad
If a time machine is ever invented I think that the most pressing initiative would be to locate the guy who decided that it would be a brilliant idea to combine pieces of disemboweled fruit with an amalgamation of marshmallows, pecans, and Cool Whip. Wow, was he sorely mistaken?
If we could travel back in time and find this dude, we would do anything possible to stop him from committing this awful crime against humanity. What's worse yet is that Alabamans love enjoying this indelicacy topped with some maraschino cherries, which if you weren't aware, are essentially cherry candies injected with radium after which any sign of actual flavor is extracted from it.
Alaska -- Akutaq
"Kids, it's dessert time!" says the Alaskan father living in the middle of nowhere. For all those vegetarians out there, this next one might make you queasy. Akutuq literally means "to stir." The dish involves whipping animal blubber and mixing it with berries. It is also commonly referred to as Eskimo ice cream. And there you have it. No spices, no cooking involved, all raw baby.
I can understand the people who a century ago were preparing large batches of this dish to stash it away in the family's permafrost cellar, but, my friends, those days are long gone. I know that food prices in Alaska are more expensive, but still... there are better options these days like baked Alaska or wild berry cobbler.
Arizona -- Sonoran Dog
This hot dog, which originated sometime in the 1960s in the neighboring state of Sonora, Mexico actually succeeds in being larger than the Chicago dog. It's wrapped in bacon (you can expect almost 99.9% of the time that the bacon will be undercooked) and then topped with pinto beans, jalapenos, tomatoes, onions, ketchup, mayo, and mustard. Try and tell Chicagoans that they have some competition from Arizonans and they probably won't be too happy to hear.
And for the most disturbing part of it all, this dog helped score Tucson a UNESCO title of a "Creative City of Gastronomy" and become the first city in the U.S. to be awarded the title. We only hope that other specialty dishes in Tucson were taken into consideration when awarding this title.
Arkansas -- Fried Fruit Pies
Really, Arkansas? That's all you've got for us? That's one big disappointment. All you managed to do is take a pie and deep fry it? Do you even have any college graduates there? Way to go. Whoever thought that it would be a smart idea to take a healthy item like an apple and add 500 calories to it by chucking it in a deep fryer, clearly had no appreciation for their organs and life span.
The fried pie can usually be found next to the cash register at convenience stores which only conveys one thing: this pie is anything but good for you. While I appreciate the times when country children and blue-collared workers got through their days with these things, I also am highly appreciative of science, research, and having a basic sense of nutrition.
California -- In-N-Out Burger
If you've ever been to In-N-Out and had less than a good experience (does anybody actually have a good one?) California natives will chalk this up to telling you that "you ordered wrong. First of all, the only "correct" way to order according to locals is to request something that isn't listed on the menu. That place is nothing short of nasty. And the burger is apparently the best part of the meal. Even Californians are quick to confess that their fries are just above toxicity.
The first mistake that they made was choosing to open the place in Los Angeles in 1948. And since then, many many more mistakes have followed.
Colorado -- Shredded Wheat
We'll admit that shredded wheat is far from the most disgusting of foods to be created. There are definitely some more horrible foods to make it on our list. But whoever thought to create a cereal that tastes like a cardboard box is out of their mind completely. To make matters worse, when you pour milk over it, the cereal turns soggy, real fast.
The shredded wheat was first invented by Henry Perky in Denver, Colorado in 1890. Initially, it was recommended as soup croutons. Dr. John Harvey Kellogg himself declined to buy Perky's patent on the cereal because he thought the cereal tasted "like eating a whisk broom."
Connecticut -- Steamed Cheeseburgers
I would pay to know which person in Connecticut took a burger and said "I know the perfect way to make you even better. I shall steam you!" I can't think of any reason for a steamed cheeseburger to exist. While it's healthier than a deep-fried burger, nobody trying to eat healthily is going to reach for a burger of any sort.
Some of you may have thought that instead of the steamed burger, we would have put New Haven clam pizza, but oh no it ain't, that stuff is delicious! At least you can be relieved about one thing — this burger is hard to come across outside of the state of Connecticut.
Delaware -- Frozen Custard
Delaware, enough. I understand that when you're in a state like your own, you need something, anything to get some attention. I mean, it's a sad cry for attention that your state motto is "Delaware-We Also Exist!" But, creating ice cream with eggs in it does just the opposite. It awards you some major backlash.
You should definitely go back to the drawing board and find something that can pass as real state food. We'll be waiting here. To all of those who grew up on this stuff, I'm sure you have very fond memories. But, let's keep those as just memories and move on already.
Florida -- Boiled Peanuts
I have nothing against peanuts. They are delicious, most particularly roasted. I would even eat them raw if I was starving. But, boiled? No. There is nothing that would drive me to eat boiled peanuts.
So, what would drive a person, especially somebody in Florida who has the best orange juice and taffy, to boil peanuts? You know a food item is no good when it comes from central Florida, which is basically the worst part of Florida.
Georgia -- Peanuts in Coke
If it's one thing I've never thought to combine is peanuts and coke. Nope, never once when I've been drinking a Coca-Cola, have I paused, pondered, and thought to myself that it would be a good idea to throw some salty peanuts into the mix. I know that Georgia is renowned for being peanut land, I mean, it's where Jimmy Carter sold his peanut farm when he became president, but come on guys.
The trend apparently originated in the 1920s when workers didn't want to touch peanuts with their dirty hands so they tossed them in the coke. Makes sense but that was a food trend of the 1920s, people. Now we all walk around with clip-on hand sanitizers sipping on matcha lattes.
Hawaii -- Spam Musubi
This is an open letter of apology to everyone from Hawaii who eats spam. I am sorry. I really am. I'm sorry that you eat it, I'm sorry that you think it tastes good, and I'm sorry that you think it's food. But, I will not believe you. Your canned meat is sickening.
And I'm sorry for those of you who go to Hawaii expecting to enjoy a nice relaxing time on the beach with maybe even a massage and instead face confrontation by ukuleles and spam. A complete vacation ruiner. For those coming from the mainland (i.e. most of us in the country) they call it mystery meat.
Idaho -- Ice Cream Potato
Idaho, we know that you have no claim to fame other than potatoes. We are truly grateful that you supply us with so many potatoes because they are really an all-around great food. They can be creamy, crunchy, soft, and be used as a base for so many things. But, potatoes under ice cream? Is this some sort of April fools joke? It's not, actually.
It's not ethical to the potato and it's surely not healthy. Idaho, we know you have potato pride but the fact that you give us potatoes is enough.
Illinois -- Chicago Hot Dogs
There was a very close call here between Chicago hot dogs and pizza, but the hot dogs took the win. These hot dogs should be renamed "everything but the kitchen sink" because they are exactly alike. It seems like it's some sort of sacrilege there to pollute your hot dog with something poisonous like ketchup.
The Chicago hot dog which has the full assembly is said to be "dragged through the garden" thanks to its many toppings. The hot dog got its inspiration from the "Depression Sandwich," which we think says it all in itself.
Indiana -- Brain Sandwiches
There are some foods that shouldn't be put on a dinner plate, and brain makes the top (HA!) of our list. Now, making a brain sandwich... what in the world? I knew that people in the Hoosier state were gross... I mean we're talking about a state that gave us Mike Pence. But, this takes things to a whole new level.
Luckily, these sandwiches aren't found everywhere in the state, but they are found particularly in the south of Indiana in and near Evansville with the Hilltop Inn being the most famous place to dine on some brains.
Iowa -- Fried Butter
It seems like you were much too preoccupied with the endless possibilities of butter, that you overlooked the whole part about creating something disastrous and even more detrimental to one's health. Fried butter isn't a new concept, but, taking a whole stick of butter, dipping it in a cinnamon honey batter and deep-frying it is a new sugary and entirely bad for your concept.
Unsurprisingly, it can be found at the Iowa State Fair. For four dollars you can cause serious harm to your life. My cholesterol levels are going up simply from looking at these words. You've never heard anybody say "hmm, I wonder why American has such a problem with obesity?" And it's for reasons such as this.
Kansas -- Hamburger Casserole
Kansas is a state that's not known for much. You probably don't even know where it is. Kind of like this hamburger casserole. It's not so clear what goes inside of it.
One thing is for certain and it's that the hamburger would be better left in the bun. There's a good reason why they call them "flyover states."Kansas would have better luck sticking to jazz and BBQ meat.
Kentucky -- Lamb Fries
This next one is surely not for the faint-hearted. These would perhaps pass as acceptable if they were actual fries. But, news alert — they aren't fries! They are testicles. There are parts of animals that should just not be ingested by humans.
If you're wondering how it's made, they are parboiled, sliced in half, and submerged into boiling hot oil. Absolutely awful. It gets better, though (or worse). They are often served in gravy and are a traditional dish in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky.
Louisiana -- Nutria
It's no surprise to anybody when New Orleans chefs take a bucket of mud, three sticks, and most unfortunate canned okra, and magically turn it into something delicious. If you think that frog legs and guinea pig are questionable, how about eating this animal you see pictured above? That's just a big no-no on so many levels.
Let's start with the first and foremost, the fact that this thing is a giant, yellow-toothed semi-aquatic river rat that looks strikingly similar to a rejected Disney henchman. It seems like Louisiana chefs aren't able to turn a river rat into edible food, no matter how much they try to hide it with cayenne. For sure, no amount of spice and sriracha can get those images out of my head.
Maine -- Tomalley
When you think of food that Maine has bestowed upon us, you most likely think of lobster. But people, we aren't about to get into all that's wrong with lobsters. We are instead going to share with you the gross byproduct of cooking lobster. Meet the tomalley, the lobster's internal organs. Technically speaking, it's the lobster's liver and pancreas. When it's part of a soup dish, it adds a decent flavor. But on its own, it's inhumane to consider it as edible.
In Maine, locals think it's a good idea to put this on a plate and call it a dish. What's even grosser is that the report from the Maine Department of Marine Resources in July 2008 indicated the presence of high levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning toxin in some tomalley from lobsters in that state. There's a good reason you aren't seeing this as a lobster roll topping.
Maryland -- Stuffed Ham
While Maryland may have given us crab dip, they also gave us stuffed ham. Stuffed ham is thought to have originated in Southern Maryland, and it is still popular in this area today. If you're wondering what stuffed ham is, don't worry, you aren't alone. Luckily, it's a very simple concept. For some reason, Americans are proud of their tradition of stuffing food into other foods.
It's boiled ham stuffed aggressively with cabbage and greens like kale. Then, it's wrapped in cheesecloth and broiled. Somehow, people in Maryland love this stuff without even questioning what it is they are eating. In all honesty, Southern MD is totally at fault here, which any Marylander will tell you is Here There Be Dragons territory anyway.
Massachusetts -- Boston Baked Beans
Baked beans are all that's wrong with America. They taste like sad mushy sacks of desperation. Massachusetts takes so much pride in its Boston Baked Beans which is equally sad. Then again, they also take pride in the Patriots all the while thinking that they're less narcissistic than New York Yankees fans.
Well, Massachusetts, I hate to break it to you but these beans belong in the compost bin rather than in your stomach. Decades ago, the beans were traditionally cooked on Saturdays and left in the brick ovens overnight to enjoy on Sunday. Fortunately now, we have other things to enjoy on a Sunday afternoon, like avocado toast.
Michigan -- Michigan Pasty
The pasty is made by placing meat and vegetables on pastry, then folding it in half to wrap the filling, and crimping the curved edge to form a seal before baking. This is basically a meat-and-potatoes Hot Pocket. In Michigan, particularly the Upper Peninsula, the pasty is as culturally ubiquitous as deep-dish pizza is to Chicago. Its origin is linked to the early 1800s when Cornish miners needed to take something with them into the mines for 12-hour workdays.
The pasty fails to live up to any standard. The problem is that these little half-moons are seasoned with nothing other than salt and pepper. Can we get some garnishings with that?
Minnesota -- Hotdish
Meet the "everything but the kitchen sink that you're still able to save from mold" casserole where you literally dump everything together in a dish and bake it. Could this get more Midwestern? (I sure hope not). The hotdish usually contains starch and meat (usually ground beef) which is mixed together with canned soup. I must admit, Minnesota, it would be hard to beat this one.
The hotdish originated back when farmwives needed to feed their families and congregations in the basements of the first Minnesota churches. Seeing as though the hotdish is filling and easy to make, it was the perfect (disgusting) solution. Minnesotans enjoy pairing the dish with potato salad, coleslaw, and Jello salad. I bet you're just dying to get an invite now to a Minnesota family gathering.
Mississippi -- Koolickle
Have you ever wished that your pickles were red? If your answer is yes, what kind of sick person are you? Or you must be from Mississippi... Because down south in Mississippi, they created the Koolickle. What a clever name for a pickle soaking in Kool-Aid. Do we need to expand on this more? Ok, good.
Apparently, this is actually a big thing in Mississippi. But let's be honest, the South is basically a different country where they do things in their own, very weird, way. Is this the pickle that opened the Ninth Seal? It looks like you can't dispose of it without the help of an old priest and a young priest. *sigh* Mississippi.
Missouri -- St. Louis Pizza
The St. Louis pizza is basically made like this: 1. Take a Ritz cracker 2. Top it with sweet tomato sauce 3. Cover with St. Louis staple Provel cheese aka plastic pretending it's cheese. 4. Throw it into the trash (I wouldn't even give it to the dogs). And don't forget to cut the pizza into squares because how can you fold a cracker? Then you're done.
While many of us others like to think of a good juicy steak as a delicacy, some of us others think that this abomination is a delicacy. They'll brag about this dish of theirs and their other regional delicacy- deep-fried ravioli. Of course, gooey butter cake deserves a mention here but at least that stuff doesn't give us nightmares from the Great Depression.
Montana -- Pemmican
Montana is underrated for its beauty, there is zero denying of that. But its culinary scene has little to be proud of. Take the pemmican which is described by Wikipedia as "a concentrated mixture of fat and protein used as a nutritious food." Props to you Montana for giving us the least appetizing food ever.
Pemmican was basically created as a nutrient-rich snack for fur traders and European explorers. That's kind of cool and I'm totally into history. But times are changing people!!! Why would you still eat this?
Nebraska -- Hot Beef Sundae
I don't know about you, but I prefer to just eat an ice cream sundae. Nebraska's hot beef sundae is created like this: you take a pile of mashed potatoes, you throw some beef and gravy on it, and there you have it, the disgusting dish is ready. READY TO BE THROWN IN THE TRASH. It's not that this dish is so horrible, but it's quite disturbing that people eat it as a dessert food. Don't let anybody try and tell you to commit such a crime.
These sorts of foods have become popular across America at state fairs, but in Nebraska, it's particularly popular and they jumped aboard the hot sundae train quite early on. I understand why it's called a sundae, considering that the mashed potatoes are the ice cream, the roast beef is the chocolate, and it's topped with some gravy which represents the caramel, and of course, it's topped with tomato, AKA a cherry.
Nevada -- Buffets
Here's another thing on our list that shows everything that's wrong with America. Nevada doesn't have much of a regional dish, so we're going to have to go with this. What other unique foods are people eating in Nevada? Their retirement savings? Clearly, nobody goes to Vegas for a healthy getaway. In fact, people don't go there much for the food as they do for the shows and parties.
So, what's the best way to satisfy a bunch of drunk people together? Of course, legendary all-you-can-eat buffets. And best yet — when you're in Vegas, anything goes. The caviar is next to the noodle salad which is next to the mashed potatoes. It doesn't really matter. Because of everything that happens in Vegas, say it with me now, STAYS IN VEGAS!
New Hampshire -- Boiled Dinner
There is nothing worse than boiled anything. Boiled ham, boiled cabbage, vegetables, you name it and it's gross. And when they're all boiled together and thrown on a plate, things get pretty ugly.
If there was a competition for the worst things that Anglican heritage has disposed upon America (and New England in Particular) the winner would for sure be their tendency to boil everything.
New Jersey -- Bread Rolls
Who doesn't love a bread roll with some butter? America surely does, as they are served alongside a meal at almost every single diner, not that anybody needs those extra calories anyway. Bread rolls also aren't distinctive to New Jersey, although people from this state like to insist that they are.
This just had to be part of our list because it's so fun to make fun of New Jerseyans who so clearly believe that they gave us this food. I mean, I guess I could understand their need to have a claim to fame considering that they have the Jersey Shore.
New Mexico -- Chile Sundae
If you weren't aware, New Mexicans like to douse everything in chili peppers. Even things that should be the last thing on earth to touch a chili pepper also get destroyed by it.
So, why wouldn't they top even their deserts with chili peppers? Ice cream topped with chile, anyone? Duh.
New York -- Rochester Garbage Plate
Although you might think that New York encompasses only Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens, you'll be surprised (and probably disappointed) to know that there exists a whole very dead world up in the tip of New York. There is some weird stuff happening up there like the Rochester Garbage plate. This is basically a pile of meat, baked beans, fries, and potentially raccoon butt mushed together in a big, heaving mess of glomp.
Apparently, it started when a college student showed up at Nick Tahou Hots and asked for a plate with "all the garbage on it." So, he got exactly what he asked for: hamburgers, cheeseburgers, grilled cheese, eggs, home fries, black beans, and the list goes on but I won't take up more of your time. The point here is that it's about as trashy as it gets.
North Carolina -- Livermush
If you are going to create a gross dish, then you better be sure to give it at least an appealing name. But calling something that already looks disgusting "livermush"? Why in the world would you do something like that? You take any hope of the livermush actually being something great.
That's literally the same thing as calling your regional dish "vomitslorp," but there's nothing tasty about a combination of brain pieces, liver, and cornmeal. Don't be deceived by this Pop-Tarts look alike, they are not on the same level in the slightest.
North Dakota -- Lutefisk
If you have to soak a fish in lye for an entire week, you probably shouldn't eat it afterward. That's just like a basic rule in life that you should know if you want to survive. Apparently, nobody let people in North Dakota know this. The consistency in this dish is essentially jelly, except there's no jelly, it's just fish.
The gelatinous end product of whitefish was introduced to the Midwest thanks to the same immigrant population that gave us high-SPF sunscreen which as of late has been declining. Go home, North Dakota, you're sick.
Ohio -- Cincinnati Chili
The name doesn't sound deterring but that's because it's a ploy to get you to eat it. Stay strong, resist the temptation. The Cincinnati chili is basically cinnamon-soaked half-liquid meat thrown over noodles that even Top Ramen would reject because of concerns with its quality. It's then topped with enough shredded cheese to choke even a moose.
You know it's extra bad when Cincinnatians get all defensive about it. Those Cincinnatians are not to be trusted!
Oklahoma -- Fried Okra
I hate to break it to you, Oklahoma, but there's not much you can do to Okra to make it edible. Not even deep-frying it. Okra looks like the consequence of a bet that God made with an angel that he could make humans eat anything he wanted.
The only good thing you can say about Okra (as we're trying to stay positive here) is that it's slightly better than the state from which it originates. But, there are definitely some pretty low standards there.
Oregon -- Savory Ice Cream
Oregon is a happy hunting ground for the fancy ice cream craze that's taking America by storm. Savory ice cream sounds delectable, right? You plop a scoop of some ice cream in a bowl, maybe top it with a little chocolate sauce drizzle and chopped peanuts, and put on a good film. But Oregon's savory ice cream is on a whole other level of awfulness. While there are some savory flavors that suit ice cream well, i.g. maple bacon, there are others that don't.
Unsurprisingly, Portlanders discovered a way to ruin the ice cream. How? With ham-flavored soft serve. Bone marrow milkshakes. Tomato water olive oil sherbet (what even is "tomato water?"). Ice cream with turkey skin brittle in it. MY EYES. MY TASTEBUDS. ALL MY SENSES HURT.
Pennsylvania -- Primanti Brothers Sandwiches
Pennsylvanians love to pride themselves on their sandwiches. While you think that it might be a pleasant idea to throw fries on a sandwich, it's actually FAR from it. This is a terrible idea and you shouldn't listen to anyone who attempts to convince you otherwise. It's especially horrible when it is packed tightly into the worst sandwich in the history of sandwiches.
How difficult is it to ruin a sandwich? Pretty darn challenging! But Pennsylvania manages to do it. Well... they do have a cracked bell and I thought those were also quite difficult to break. Perhaps there's a place in the world where fries on a sandwich works, but in PRI-MAAAAAAA-nee, it just doesn't.
Rhode Island -- Stuffed Quahogs
Stuffed clams aren't the worst thing in the world, but visually they basically look like you threw up into a clam and decided to call it food. You can basically get a whiff of it just from looking. It's like a stare n' sniff. If it's true you eat with your eyes, now I wish I was blind.
Stuffed clams are very popular in Rode Island. They consist of a breadcrumb and minced clam mixture that is baked on the half shell of a quahog hard shell clam. Other ingredients that may be found in the breadcrumb mixture are meat, chili pepper, lemon juice, bell peppers, celery, onion, garlic, and spices. I'm sure you're already looking for flights to Rhode Island.
South Carolina -- Fried Pig Ears
America loves pork and for good reason. There are many delicious parts of a pig that can be turned into a stunning dish. But who in the world looked at a pig's ears and thought that it would be a nice idea to deep fry them? That's literally disgusting.
We want to love South Carolina for giving us shrimp and grits, but this kind of sours things for us.
South Dakota -- Chislic
While we aren't surprised that Chislic comes from South Dakota, we are still disappointed. Basically, it's greasy dice-sized chunks of meat on toothpicks. That's about all that they are. And somehow, it's a regional delicacy.
Sorry, I don't know why I said it somehow. Considering that it's from South Dakota, it makes perfect sense.
Tennessee -- Chitterlings
First of all, if they're pronounced "chitlins," why would you spell it like that? While you might be confused by the name, what it actually is will confuse you even more.
There's nothing so wrong about eating intestines considering that most of us are eating hot dogs on the reg, but there's something so unfortunate about a dish that actually looks like intestines. Like, at least disguise them to look like something else. People in Tennessee must not have Instagram.
Texas -- Frito Pie
We have absolutely nothing against Fritos. They are perfectly salty and a great chip for some dip. But, Texans like to act like their state is a bastion of haute cuisine. Austinites in particular will poo-poo a taco from literally anywhere but Austin. So, we'd like to take the time to so graciously remind them that they've also given us the wild Frito pie.
It's basically a casserole made with processed corn chips. And there you have it. That's all it is. We're just a bit surprised that it originates in Texas and not Missouri, to be honest. We did have higher hopes for Texas.
Utah -- Jell-O Salad
If you ever dream of taking a step back to the 1950s and don't want to wait around for a time machine to be invented, then you might want to visit Utah. Utah residents eat more Jell-O per capita than any other state in America. They love the gelatinous dessert so much that they even have Jell-O-themed legislation and a Jell-O week is a thing. When the Olympic Games came to Salt Lake City in 2002, there was an officially licensed Jell-O pin.
If you consider that 62% of Utah's population is Mormon, you can safely assume that a lot of Mormons are eating Jell-O. What other dessert is better to bring to large church gatherings where you need to feed plenty of mouths on a tight budget? Some Jell-O here and there (like when you're barfing and can't stomach anything else) is okay. But Utah goes overboard in a major way.
Vermont -- Raw Milk
If you've heard of the raw milk phase but haven't a clue as to where it came from, look no further. The culprit is our minuscule, maple-obsessed state to the far North, AKA Vermont. I'm not sure why anybody would choose to drink raw milk, but really, Vermont just takes their whole love of all things local, organic, and farm-to-table too far.
Drinking unpasteurized nutrients from a wrinkled cow udder. We have no problem with being more environmentally friendly and knowing where our food comes from. But we do have a problem with dying and diarrhea from E. coli.
Virginia -- Brunswick Stew
If you think this looks unappetizing, that's because it is. It's basically overcooked veggies and chicken drowning in broth. Its original version was even more revolting and was made with squirrel, which is how you know this didn't come from one of the nice parts of Virginia.
But, people back then had to resort to using the ingredients they had access to. Needless to say, veganism wasn't all the rage.
Washington -- Green Tea and Pea Soup
This should actually be called Green tea and PEE soup. Green tea tastes like pee. Pea soup tastes like something that a lunchroom lady would plop on your plate in the dreaded cafeteria.
Combining the two together? WHY? Why would somebody do such a thing? I wouldn't eat this if it was the last thing left on this earth.
West Virginia -- Fried Squirrel
West Virginia is a state with an annual roadkill cook-off. I mean, what else do you need to say about it? "Wild and Wonderful" indeed. They like to eat this savory dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Can you imagine waking up in the morning and sitting down for some fried squirrel? Well, that's quite the depressing way to start off your day! I even saw a fried squirrel nacho recipe roaming the internet... way to ruin nachos West Virginians!
Wisconsin -- Beer Cheese Soup
Beer cheese is just plain disgusting. Chefs all over America keep trying to make it a thing. But it's just not! Do you know that there's something even worse than beer cheese? When it's made into soup.
Cheese should never be made into soup, and it definitely doesn't need beer in it to make it worse. Wisconsin, you're good with cheese. Just let it be cheese!
Wyoming -- Chicken-Fried Steak
I didn't previously think that chicken-fried steak comes from Wyoming. Chicken-fried steak is just wrong in too many ways to count. If you have a D-grade cut of meat, you must be able to do something better with it than just say "let's deep fry it and dump some gravy on top."
Eating it just feels like the food equivalent of laughing so as not to cry.
Arizona -- Mesquite pods
If you've ever vacationed in the beautiful Arizona desert, you may have noticed that vegetation is scarce but there are plenty of these 8″-long, yellow-green-colored spider-like pods hanging from the tree branches. As strange as these stringy legumes seem, they are actually edible. But just because something is edible doesn't mean that it should be eaten... I mean, grass is edible, technically.
And they have the nerve to say that mesquite pods taste like "Skittles". Yeah right. But at least you can say that the people of Arizona are quite open-minded...because no one could convince me to try this dry, wormy-looking twig. No. Won't do it!
Arkansas -- Buffalo Ribs
Driving through the Ozarks region, you'll run into plenty of catfish joints, and some may even serve buffalo ribs. You're probably wondering how the heck they were able to hunt buffalo in Arkansas? As exciting as that may sound, you'll be disappointed to find out that it is just a fish actually. Yep, they may appear quite large to come from a fish, but that is just because buffalo fish aren't exactly goldfish.
So the next time you end up in Arkansas it's straight to the closest buffalo ribs joint, right? Wrong!
Connecticut -- New Haven Clam Pie
Pizza can be a sensitive topic, similar to politics, and there are a few schools of thought when it comes to how people prefer their cheesy pie. Some believe that a good pizza should be minimalistic, while others think it's all about the crust and the more topping the better...pepperoni, anchovies, pineapples...and in Connecticut, clams.
People from other states will never understand Connecticut's weird obsession with loading clams on everything. Most will agree that Clams are good, and even more, will agree that Pizza is delicious, but that doesn't mean they go together! Or does it? If you have the guts to try, please let us know. Thanks.
Delaware -- Slippery Dumplings
Just the sound of the name of this unappealing sounding dish is enough to make me gag. Dumplings alone are one of the foods that you either love or hate, there's really no in-between.
Slippery dumplings are basically a Crock-Pot dish of savory chicken and noodles soaked in a gravy-like chicken broth. It doesn't sound too bad based on that description, does it? But let's see if you feel the same once you're served a big bowl of it. Good luck. You'll need it.
Florida -- Gator Tail
A wise one once said that the craziest people in America are from Florida. Well, this dish is surely making us think that there's some truth to that. Seriously, while "the Sunshine State" is known for having a plethora of culinary options, gator tail surely exposes its redneck, roots.
They stick the gator meat in stews, they mash it into burgers., they eat them along with gator ribs, for Jeb's sake! But while eating a (literal) cold-blooded killing machine might make some northerners queasy, the people of Florida dig right in. To be perfectly honest… it tastes just like chicken. Rubbery, succulent chicken. Reptile wins. And so does Florida. For once.
Georgia -- Ham Hocks
Ham Hocks is as Southern as it gets. If you think this mound of meat looks like a large swine knuckle, in fact, you're oddly correct because they are, indeed, pig knuckles. You should take a visit to the Queen state of the south if you want to try this "delicacy", where it'll probably be served in a stew or alongside a healthy serving of collard greens.
Most would say that ham hocks have an "acquired taste," so if you haven't been munching on these paws from a very early age, you'll probably never really get into them.
Washington -- Geoduck
At some point in time, some beachcomber wandered the shores of the pacific ocean and spotted what appeared to be gigantic... well let's just say it has a phallic shape, stuck in a clam-shaped mousetrap and for some reason, we will never understand, thought "I wonder what that tastes like."
Apparently, they liked what they tasted, and managed to get others to join in on the "goodness", and voila, it's become a loved dish. I couldn't imagine eating something like that in my nightmares, so even if you're one brave enough to try it, please don't tell me about it.
Idaho -- Sturgeon Eggs
Stereotypically you'd expect Idahoans to thrive on a steady diet consisting of fried chicken, occasional steak, tots, and 'tallboys' but did you know that the state is also famous for its prime American beluga, which is basically American caviar, which is just an even fancier way of saying huge sturgeon eggs from Idaho's rivers.
So if you'd like to taste these salty miniature balloons full of fish goop that cost more than $100 an ounce look no further. Just don't be surprised if you have an egg on your face when the locals see your facial reaction. Pun intended.
Illinois -- Gravy Bread
As someone who hates soggy bread with a passion, I want to meet the people who love this dish just to see what type of people they are. If you have never heard of this dish then let me describe it to you. You take the Chicagoland delicacy known as Italian beef, put that to the side but take the juice. Yes, just the juice. Then you soak a white bun in it, and there you go, a wet, soggy roll saturated in seasoned beef juice.
Sound appetizing? Some locals love this so much that they even order this for delivery. So just imagine that horrendous description but just cold. I can't...
Iowa -- Loose Meat
It's hard to believe how much the classic combination of ground beef and carbs can go so wrong. Well, Iowa's famed loose-meat sandwiches (most associated with their famous Maid-Rite chain) will surely make you a believer.
It kinda resembles a Sloppy Joe minus the sauce, seasoning... and everything that makes a Sloppy Joe good for that matter. It's not that the taste is absolutely disgusting — again, it's essentially bread and meat — but it just seems lazy, and even offensive to waste such ingredients on such a mediocre dish.
Kansas -- Bierocks
This German pastry is pronounced "bee-rock", and as if the name of these pastries weren't off-putting enough, they're stiffed with one of the most boring vegetables in the produce aisle, cabbage, because among the German's achievements is the ability to find a way to stuff cabbage into anything possible. In Kansas, a state with heavy German ancestry, you can find the "cabbage rolls" nearly everywhere.
Once you bite into what seems like a harmless pastry, you'll quickly notice that the innards resemble cat food, then probably keep taking bites because although it's not yummy, it really isn't horrible. They're basically bland Hot Pockets.
Massachusetts -- Marshmallow Fluff
This one is just plain weird, and makes you wonder, "why"? Marshmallow Fluff is exactly what its name implies, a gooey white substance that salutes the infamous all-processed American food industry.
Whoever thought to make a shelf-stable marshmallow spread that you could ruin any dish with and put the eater at risk of getting diabetes, should definitely spend some time in jail.
Michigan -- Something Your Neighbor Killed
Eat in Michigan at your own risk. You never know what your gonna get.... on every corner of Detroit and Flint and pretty much everywhere in between, you'll probably come across some guy in a camo hat selling venison chili, whitefish dip, possum jerky, or God knows what else he hunted and gutted on the spot.
You'll be surprised that sometimes it's absolutely delicious but other times you'll end up with a chipped tooth or stomach poisoning. But hey, in life, you gotta take chances.
New Hampshire -- Grape-Nuts Ice Cream
Some things should be left alone, like ice cream for example. There are toppings that work and others that don't. Grape-Nuts AKA grandpa's favorite cereal is surely one of the toppings that should never touch ice cream.
New Englanders claim that this adds a crunchy counterpoint to the loved dessert but I argue that the concrete pebble texture and dry taste do nothing for the already-perfect-as-it-is dessert. Not sure if this was just a sneaky plan to get more fiber into the local's diet...whatever it is. It isn't right and it must stop.
New Jersey -- PRE&C (Pork Roll, Egg, and Cheese)
PRE&C is a devastatingly overly-salty processed pork product that's a clear threat to the cholesterol levels of anyone who consumes it. The first time you bite into this sinful sandwich you should make an appointment with your doctor.
The taste isn't what will gross you put, but the smells that will emit from your body afterward surely will.
New Mexico -- Carne Adovada
Pork? Delicious. Red chile? Also tasty, yet when you look at a platter of Carne Adovada, it strikingly resembles a plate of wet dog food soaked in marinara sauce. But, what's surprising is that even people from outside of New Mexico seem to love this dish.
So, if you're not from the Southwest just the sight of this dish is enough to gross you out, and that's why we recommend you just close your eyes and get to chewing. Be sure to pair it with sunny-side eggs and hash browns for the ideal experience.
Oklahoma -- Fried Rattlesnake
While most (normal) people may experience the sight of a rattle snack as a clear threat to their dear life, there are others that kill, slice up, and fry these creatures to create an anecdotal delicious dish (because I'll never try it).
Some have gone as far as saying that it tastes like chicken. The blasphemy!
Pennsylvania -- Scrapple
Ok, this one is pretty easy to describe. Think of a Funfetti cake and then imagine leaving it out in the sun for 20 years, and that's what the people of Pennsylvania call scrapple. And yes, they actually put it in their mouths and even swallow it. Similar to North Carolina's livermush, it's basically a meat cake (or rather log, or brick) made with various animal parts that normally get sold to the glue or dog food factories (or hotdogs).
This Pennsylvania Dutch delicacy usually incorporates pork scraps along with flour, buckwheat, cornmeal, and spices. It's so dense that you can cut a slice straight from the loaf and eat it or fry it up in a pan and put it between some Wonder Bread. "A scrapple a day keeps the doctor away." I just made that up now but I'm sure I'm right.
Rhode Island -- Chop Suey Sandwich
Chop suey, the good ol' Chinese-American dish consisting of meat, eggs, vegetables, and noodles cooked in a starch-thickened sauce that looks like wormy mush in a dry hamburger bun. It's probably one of the most unattractive dishes on our list. It looks like a New York subway rat but locals claim that it's insanely delicious.
It's packed with umami and salty flavors distinctive from your favorite Chinese takeout but better because you don't have to use chopsticks. Sure, it's messy, but we're blessed to live in a country where napkins are plenty.
Tennessee -- The Fat Elvis
When we think of "the King", we think of him singing and dancing his classic songs in his iconic jumpsuit. But not many know of his strange diet which consisted, among other things, of a peculiar sandwich made with peanut butter, banana, and bacon. Yes, bananas, we can't make this up.
In a state known for its great BBQ and fried chicken, this abomination of sandwiches also exists…one of the things that don't exactly contribute to Elvis' legacy.
Arkansas -- Chocolate Gravy
Made from fat, flour, cocoa powder, and sugar, chocolate gravy doesn't sound too bad if it's a topping for ice cream or cake. But in Arkansas, it goes on plenty more, like steak, mashed potatoes, and turkey. If you're feeling adventurous and your traditional brown or white gravies have lost their appeal, take a spin on this Arkansas delicacy and see if you end up liking it.
The words “chocolate gravy” give all of us pause, but there are plenty of southerners who swear by it, and it's simple to make, too. We can't argue it sounds great on top of a pile of hot biscuits.
California -- Burritos With French Fries
Burritos: good. French fries: good. Together? Well, I don't know. I've never tried this unexpected food combo, and there aren't many places that offer it outside of the west coast. You might not think this is all that odd, but the french fries are actually going IN the burritos, not just served on the side.
The latter seems almost sensible, but the former is much more of an acquired taste. Some people from the state maintain that it isn't THAT weird – burritos usually have rice inside them, and they often come with tortilla chips, so why not fries? I'd be open to trying it.
Colorado -- Rocky Mountain Oysters
Ever heard of Rocky Mountain Oysters? It's unlikely that there are many real oysters that come from the state since it's landlocked, but at least they have these. Before you reach for the dipping sauce, make sure you know what you're getting into.
Do you know the difference between a bull and a steer? Well, a Rocky Mountain Oyster is the difference. Yes, if you've ever had this famous Colorado snack, you enjoy some deep-fried bull testicles. I've never...enjoyed this treat, but they seem to be popular enough to get offered to visitors to the state. I have to guess it's often just a gag to watch their face.
Georgia -- Pear Salad
Right out of the gate, this doesn't sound that bad at all. Salad is good, and pears are great. How could you go wrong? Well, this southern dish also includes mayonnaise, shredded cheddar cheese, and maraschino cherries. They're a constant sight at family gatherings in Georgia.
This dish is simple to make and light on the tongue, but the mixture of sweet fruit and heavy dairy is going to be a strange one unless you're used to it. They're good as a side dish or as hors d'oeuvres, so if you happen to be attending a family gathering in Georgia, keep your eyes open for this odd combo.
Hawaii -- The Loco Moco
If you're familiar with the Spanish language, you might be laughing at the name of this dish – it translates to the crazy burger. There are a number of variations of a dish that has made a name for itself in the island state, but here's how it usually goes: white rice, with a hamburger patty on top of it, followed by a fried egg, and everything covered in brown gravy.
There are lots of restaurants that put their own spin on the dish, but they're all crazy. Just as the name suggests. Some use soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce, some use beef broth, some use chicken broth, but it's always a wild ride.
Illinois -- Horseshoe
If you need to go a little crazy with your carbohydrates, try out something that people from Illinois call “horseshoe.” Don't worry, there's no horse in it. Not usually, at least. It's actually a pair of slices of Texas toast topped with hamburger patties, french fries, and cheese sauce. You can use chicken, ham, or bacon instead.
There's also chili, you can top it with ranch, and lots of other options. It's a crazy mess that you're absolutely going to slop down your chin, but if you have a big hunger, this is the kind of thing you might want to reach for. Ignore this if you're a neat eater.
Indiana -- Roast Beef Manhattan
Now, this is a new one. If you tried to guess what this dish would be, what would you come up with? Maybe roast beef with a long island iced tea poured on top? That's not a bad guess, but it's far from the truth. A roast beef Manhattan is a roast beef sandwich and mashed potatoes – nothing crazy too far – which are completely covered in brown gravy and sugar cream pie.
Sugar cream pie is its own special thing since it requires no fresh fruit and isn't very tough to make. There was even a push to make sugar cream pie the official pie of Indiana.
Wyoming -- Elk
Did you know that Wyoming is the least-populated state in the entire union? It's true. It has a mere five hundred and seventy-nine thousand people at the latest count, with mountains, long plains, and great swaths of open areas. Along with all that open space comes plenty of wildlife like bears, wolves, and elk.
Elk are big beasties who can be just as dangerous as some of the other animals on that shortlist, and they're a common hunting target. The meat is gamey and lean, and people who live in Wyoming, whether by necessity or simply because everyone else eats it, tend to eat it more than most.
Vermont -- Sugar on Snow
When we were kids we'd all scoop up a handful of snow and take a bite. Did we enjoy it? No, not unless it was fresh. It can include dirt, salt, and far worse things. Vermont decided to take this childhood tradition and bump it to the next level with sugar on snow, which is giant bowls of fresh snow covered in maple syrup.
Vermont is famous for its maple syrup, so maybe they're just trying to get rid of it, but there must be easier ways. This unique dish is also often served with a pickle on the side. For some reason. Is Vermont known for its pickles?
New Mexico -- Green Chile Sundae
Being in one of the hottest states in the nation will probably have you yearning for some frozen treats, but be careful when ordering. Green chile sundaes go by a couple of different names (such as the New Mexico sundae), but they all work the same way.
Take some frozen custard and top it with green chile sauce and salty pecans to make this unique treat. You can get the official version at both Caliche's locations in New Mexico, but it isn't too difficult for you to make your own. Enjoy something that is straight from the Mexican roots of this southwest state.