I have done it before, but it has been many years: taken too many credits for a given quarter. It will be a full Winter Quarter but I am jazzed. And one of my classes is called American Cuisine. This class is meant to give an upcoming chef a broad stroke perspective of American cuisine, by region. From Native Americans to colonists and a regular flow of new immigrants, America's food story is one of survival, novelty and reciprocity. It is a rich, layered story of learning from one another, learning from the land and respecting the seasons. Different regions in our country offer a unique culmination of food lore, supplied by heritage and homesteading, influenced by neighbors and history, informed by land and sea.
I am no expert. But I am curious, and intrigued, by the range of cuisines alive and well in America. In the text provided by the class, the regions are broken up accordingly, including a few states with their own chapter:
1. New England (Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut) 2. Mid-Atlantic (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia) 3. Southern (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, N. Carolina, S. Carolina, Tennessee) 4. Florida (Florribean cuisine) 5. Louisiana (Cajun & Creole) 6. Central Plains (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, N. Dakota, S. Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin) 7. Texas (Tex-Mex) 8. Rocky Mountain & Southwest (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming) 9. California 10. Hawaii 11. Pacific Northwest (Alaska, Oregon, Washington)
This is one book's breakdown on American Cuisine: note that it does not list each and every state, and is meant as an overview not an exhaustive deconstruction of American Cuisine. But budding chefs need to know---and cooks all over may be curious---about general cuisines in varying parts of the country. So with a grain of salt, or pepper or likely Old Bay Seasoning: I will share a bit about my experiences in American Cuisine.