As Americans, we are all partisans for the oddities and specialties of our own local cuisines. You can get a bagel anywhere, but only in New York are they great; you’re lucky to find a Goo Goo Cluster at all outside of Nashville. But the good stuff is boring—what makes your stomach turn?
I am a born-and-raised Marylander, and steamed blue crabs are my only birthright. On their own, they are unimpeachable—even if most come from Louisiana these days—but not so for the orangish mix of spices with which crabs and everything else in Maryland are customarily smothered. Old Bay on seafood or french fries or potato chips or chili is perfect; Old Bay in pasta or beer is unconscionable decadence.
In Philly, they have Peanut Chews. In Chicago, they have Jeppson’s Malört. (Tastes like pencil shavings and heartbreak!) In Arizona, they have Sonoran dogs. In Minnesota and the Pacific Northwest, they have lutefisk. (Jellied cod “rendered edible only by a special mustard,” says Seattleite Jay Hathaway, and “edible is kind of a stretch.”)
What about you? Which of your local cuisine’s specialties are bitter, pungent, trash-tasting, gag-making? What do your fellow residents eat—perhaps they even take pride in it, those cretins—that would make a junkyard dog turn up its nose? The only acceptable answers come from your home state; this is not the place to point fingers at others. Sound off below.