The Great American Menu: Foods Of The States, Ranked And Mapped
What are the United States’ best regional foodstuffs? Its worst? These are the questions that bedevil the mind of man—but no longer! For here, we have ranked them. Rigorously scientific (not), ardently researched (nope), and scrupulously fair (not even a little bit): this is the Great American Menu!
40. Hotdish (Minnesota)
This is basically the same thing as Kansas’s hamburger casserole—some meat, some starch, some mushy overcooked vegetables, and some canned soup, dumped into a deep pan and baked for a while—only with a name that makes it sound like Rod Stewart should be humping its leg in a London disco in 1974.
Here’s how the rest of our Upper Midwest neighbors “ranked”:
29. Corndog (Iowa)
Who doesn’t love a corndog? Nobody, that’s who, and also idiots. On the other hand, when a region’s entire concept of cuisine is to take ordinary foodstuffs (hot dogs, brownies, fucking honey), dunk them in batter, mount them on a stick, and deep-fry them, the successes (corndogs) tend to be shadowed somewhat by the excesses (deep-fried Snickers bars), the horrors (chocolate-covered deep-fried cheesecake), the oh-fuck-this-has-to-be-some-kind-of-goofy-Iowa-troll-job jobs (fucking deep-fried honey), and the lingering suspicion that Midwesterners suffer from a congenital lack of tastebuds.
33. Bratwurst (Wisconsin)
The bratwurst is among the more boring and dumb tube meats, even before you penalize it for being a pillar of the beers, brats, and bros! triad of meathead tailgating culture. The authentic-replica-Bryan-Bulaga-jersey set like bratwurst because they’re less interested in tasty food than in a large meat comma they can use to divide alcohol-abuse clauses. Be honest: Would you rather have another boring bratwurst, or a hot Italian sausage with sautéed peppers and onions? Or a grilled kielbasa with a pickle spear, sauerkraut, and grainy mustard? Exactly. Shut up.
42. Chislic (South Dakota)
Picture a kebab. Can you picture a kebab? Meat, veggies, skewer, maybe some cucumber dressing and tasty pita bread or naan on the side? Fresh and flavorful and varied and exciting? Got it? OK. Now, eradicate that appetizing image from your mind, and replace it with a bunch of small cubes of greasy, chewy beef on toothpicks, sitting on a sad plate next to some plastic-wrapped packets of saltines. Congratulations. You have now pictured chislic, as well as everything you need to know about the culture of the upper Midwest.
44. Lutefisk (North Dakota)
Lutefisk (Norwegian for “lye-fish”) is a traditional Nordic preparation whereby dried whitefish is soaked in fucking oven cleaner for no goddamn reason for a long time until it is no longer dry, salty, and disgusting, but gelatinous and pungent and five trillion times as disgusting. There is no reason to eat it ever. There is no reason for it to exist. What the fuck is wrong with Nordic people.