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Visit All 50 States From the Comfort of Your Own Kitchen

Certain types of American food are unique to – or strongly associated with – a particular state. Some have achieved widespread popularity, while others have remained offbeat and peculiar, sometimes for obvious reasons. Here are some eye-opening examples:


The Inupiat Eskimos in Barrow, Alaska hold an annual spring ceremony celebrating the capture of a bowhead whale. During the celebration, a whaling crew serves whale meat and blubber fermented in blood. One non-native reviewer has said the blubber tastes like a huge lump of stout. Another adventurous traveler described the meat as tasting like the under-padding of a nasty ancient carpet. It would seem that a diet of whale meat would suit anyone who’s trying to lose weight.

People in Montana are fond of a dish called Rocky Mountains oysters, which are not oysters at all. You WISH they were oysters. They are really calves’ testicles. When calves are branded, the testicles are cut off and thrown into a bucket of water. They are then peeled, washed, rolled in flour and pepper, and fried in a pan. When properly seasoned and breaded, Rocky Mountain oysters have a slightly liver-like flavor, with a chewy texture similar to chicken gizzards. They are said to be equally tasty whether sliced thin or marinated whole. You have to be somewhat marinated yourself to try these, but Montana restaurants serve them all year round, and “Testicle Festivals” are well loved throughout the state. Festival activities include chugging beer, starting fights, and buying souvenirs with catchy slogans like, “I Had a Ball at the Rocky Mountain Oyster Fest.” Bon Appetit!


The state of Maine is well-known for the largest, freshest, juiciest, most flavorful lobsters anywhere, and lobster festivals are well loved throughout the state. The taste of fresh lobster bears a passing resemblance to crab, but lobster is richer, meatier, smoother, juicier, and sweeter. The best (some say ONLY!) way to eat these beauties is steamed whole and served with lemon and drawn butter. But many lobster lovers agree that a fresh Maine lobster needs no accompaniment and should be served plain. Maine lobsters are shipped live all over the U.S., but the largest, juiciest, healthiest ones are snapped up by Maine fisherman and local consumers before they even leave the dock. If you really want to eat a Maine lobster, there’s no place like Maine.

Louisiana, having more miles of ocean shoreline than any other mainland state, is very proud of its seafood. Alligator, a well loved ingredient in Cajun cuisine, is probably the state’s most unique contribution to the American seafood diet. Alligator tastes somewhat like shark or swordfish, only meatier. It’s often prepared blackened, or with sweet & sour flavorings. So the next time you visit New Orleans, don’t be worried of the alligators on your menu. They are just as tasty to you as you are to them.


The Saguaro Cactus blossom is Arizona’s official state flower. The sweet, red fruits of this cactus are edible, and are often used to make jam.

The state of Georgia produces a sweet crunchy onion called the Vidalia onion. The town of Vidalia holds an Onion Festival every April, featuring many award winning recipes. Vidalia onion products are packaged & sold in stores locally and online. These include many unique dressings, marinades, relishes and salsas.


Utah has a large Mormon population, and Mormons shun alcoholic beverages. This has led to the invention of a local product called Apple Beer, a non-alcoholic variant of a German beverage called Fassbrause. Apple Beer is produced by The Apple Beer Corporation in Salt Lake City, and is used in many recipes, such as APPLE BEER BBQ PORK CHOPS and APPLE BEER GRAVY & MEATBALLS. Some courageous souls even drink the stuff straight.

Two of the best known culinary contributions to American culture are Kentucky Bourbon and Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey. These products appear in hundreds of recipes. Nevertheless, many Jack Daniels & Bourbon enthusiasts prefer to bypass the recipes and delight in the key ingredient directly. These folks might also delight in the Rocky Mountain Oysters.

For a state-by-state list of regional delicacies, visit top50states.com top50states.com

Judee Shipman is a professional writer, avid traveler, and creator of Top-50-States.com

Tags: cookbook, low stout recipes, food, tasty, Fruits And Vegetables, recipes snacks, today show, Flavors, simple recipes, gourmet

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