To celebrate this year of the Olympics and a presidential election, Cooking Channel asked fans what dishes represent their states and then worked with our kitchens to create original recipes for each of the 50 states. (Read all about the project here.) Each state has its own unique food scene, but we couldn’t help but notice some trends across the map from coast to coast.
When I first heard Cooking Channel planned to tackle the best state food recipes, I immediately started campaigning for the dish I thought most represented my home state of Florida: key lime pie (pictured above). I distinctly remember thinking, “Florida’s dish better be key lime pie,” (I even threatened as much on my Facebook page.) and not just because I think it’s pretty darn tasty, but because as a Key West native, to me, there was no other option.
I have vivid childhood memories of going to Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe to get Chocolate-Dipped Key Lime Pie Pops. Each time I pulled the hunk of pie out of its wrapper, little droplets of condensation formed as the frozen chocolate started to thaw in the thick, humid summer air. It was always a race against gravity to see if I could finish lapping up the chocolate before it started to dribble down the stick and all over fingers.
Years later, as I moved upstate to go to college, making key lime pie for dinner parties and get-togethers became my trademark. No store-bought juice here (although Nellie and Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice makes a pretty good substitute when you’re in a pinch for fresh key limes), my mom sent bags of key limes up by the bushel before I finally found a small specialty store that carried the suckers year-round.
Key lime pie is the easiest thing in the world to make: some sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice and a graham cracker crust. (If you’re feeling daring, use a chocolate graham cracker one. It’s just as good, I promise.) Nothing beats that first tangy bite. To me, it tastes just like summer.
Although I’d like to think pie is strictly a Florida thing, multiple states across the country named the dessert their dish of choice.
Lattice-Top Georgia Peach Pie (pictured above) is kind of a no-brainer. The sweet, plump peaches peeking out of a beautifully woven lattice crust almost make it look too good to eat. Keyword: almost. I’ll take my slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, please.
Every chocolate lovers dream, Mississippi Mud Pie is as decadent as it is moist. Don’t forget the perfect finishing touch of toasted pecans and chocolate shavings.
Vermont’s Cheddar Cheese Apple Pie is a savory-sweet must-have when the leaves begin to change in fall. Feel free to use sharper and differently-colored cheeses to enhance the contrasting flavors.
See all 50 dishes and the completed project here: Across the Country in 50 State Dishes.
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