Almost every time I head to northern Kentucky to visit my aunts I swing by Kroger for oatmeal sausage. It’s one of my childhood favorite foods that my grandparents served. The quest for oatmeal sausage, also called goetta, has been a lifelong venture. When we used to live further away, I would freeze it and wrap it in newspaper to bring it home. When I lived in overseas, I’d bring packets of Skyline Cincinnati-style chili mix with me. To my delight, White Castle cheese burgers were sold at the American Club grocery store in New Delhi. We rarely bought them, maybe twice, but they were like an old friend to call on if need be. Then there’s Hatch green chile that is roasting in various spots of New Mexico this time of year. I used to buy a bunch and freeze it to use throughout the winter.
When going to Vietnam, one reason to head to Hoi An is the Cau Lau noodles. This particular style is only made here. In Taiwan, the town of Beipu has a tea that you grind up with seeds and nuts in a mortar and pestle. It’s the town’s signature beverage. No matter where you live there are regional dishes that you often can’t get elsewhere, and when you can, it feels as if home has followed you.
This month’s National Geographic magazine has an interactive map of the United States that you can click on to find out about regional favorites. In Ohio, it’s Buckeyes, a candy made with chocolate and peanut butter made to look like the state nut. Here’s a past post I wrote about them for Blogging Ohio. Sometimes the state’s entries have a story that goes with it. Click on New Mexico and you’ll find Elaine Thatcher’s chile verde story. Restaurants in New Mexico that sell Mexican and New Mexican food (there is a difference) have green chile and red chile options. Go for the green–or get both.
I’m sure you all are brighter than me, but to get the interactive map, you need to click on continue at the bottom of the page. Not all states have entries, but there is a new blog, Pop Omnivore at the bottom where people are adding stories about their regional favorites. Thanks, dear friend, Marilyn Terrell at Intelligent Traveler who sends us lovely tidbits to blog about. She sent this one our way.