There's nothing better than hot dogs, corn on the cob, and watermelon for the Fourth. But if you're in search of an adventure and a more creative way to celebrate, might I suggest scoping out the country's regional food scene? Whether you're in Cincinnati or Central Texas, the United States of America is a veritable chest of gastronomic treasures just waiting to be discovered. A few of my favorite local specialties are right this way.
- A conversation with Ina Garten.
- A conversation with Ina Garten. — Epicurious
- What Americans can learn from Japanese cuisine. — The Atlantic
- Harold McGee's top 10 Thanksgiving tips. — Serious Eats
- 12 beloved regional American foods. — Woman's Day
- Make your own amaretto. — Chow
- David Chang has confirmed he will be opening a Momofuku in a Sydney casino. — Eater
- Harold Dieterle's five favorite Thai ingredients and tips for using them. — Eatocracy
- How to maximize space in a small kitchen. — Huffington Post Food
In the process of declaring 10 regional dishes you must try this July, I discovered a shocking amount of specialties, from banana splits to stromboli, have their roots in various towns across America. For a little extra fun, I'm going to list a dish, and ask you to guess where each beloved culinary pastime got its start. Ready? Let's begin.Take the Quiz
It's an age-old question: is there a distinction between Cajun and Creole cooking — or are they really just the same thing?
The answer is somewhere in between. Creole cooking evolved out of the cosmopolitan culture of New Orleans, a city affected by the influx of international colonists who settled there after the Louisiana Purchase. New Orleans's denizens adopted spices from Africa and the Caribbean, butter and cream from France, tomatoes from Italy, and peppers from Spain and took advantage of the abundance of oysters, shrimp, and crab abundantly available in the Gulf.
Cajun cooking developed in Louisiana's rural backcountry. Acadians drew from their French and Southern roots, cooking whatever could be farmed and trapped locally, along with other inexpensive ingredients such as crawfish, rice, beans, and pork fat. Some of Louisiana's dishes are distinctly Creole, like shrimp rémoulade. Others — take crawfish étouffée, for instance — are credited to the Cajuns. But certain dishes shared by both cuisines, such as jambalaya, possess subtler differences: the Creole version typically contains tomatoes, while its Cajun counterpart employs a roux.
Over time, as the two terms have been used more generically and interchangeably, the differences between Cajun and Creole cooking have become blurred, and food historians have taken to focusing on regional differences within the state. What's your take on Cajun versus Creole? Which do you like more?