United States of Food: Official State Foods (Slideshow)
Dear people of Alabama, get ready to make some serious pies. Blackberries are the official state berry, pecans are the official state nut, and peaches are the state’s official tree fruit. That means that you can celebrate your state by creating delicious pies with the official state foods. Turkey is also the state game bird of Alabama and the state fish is the largemouth bass.
Arizona’s state fish is the Apache trout, but the state is known for its Mexican-American cooking. Chimichangas, otherwise known as deep-fried burritos, are a state favorite. We think that they should be considered as another official state food.
California produces most of our fruits and vegetables, so it’s no wonder they take pride in their crops. In 2013, when Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom became acting governor for a week while Governor Jerry Brown was in China, he declared avocados as the state fruit, almonds as the state nut, artichokes as the state vegetable, and rice as the state grain. But those symbols, alas, only lasted until the end of the year. However, if any of you Californians are going fishing this summer, try to catch the official state fish, the golden trout.
Even though Colorado hasn’t declared any official state foods, and though it's famous for its lamb, we think that steak would be a perfect nominee: Colorado is the10th largest cattle producer in America. If you're a pescatarian, on the other hand, take heart: the state’s official fish is the greenback cutthroat trout, so get ready to cook that up.
Fun fact: the first ever Subway was opened in 1965 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. It only seems fitting then that sub sandwiches should get a nomination for state foods. New Haven is also known for specializing in a white clam pizza that deserves the nod as well. Even with these iconic foods in their state, the state legislature hasn’t declared an official state food, but their official state shellfish is the eastern oyster and its official state fish is shad, perfect for big community shad bakes.
Delaware is the first of many states on this list alphabetically to declare milk as their official state drink. A cool glass of milk would go well with peach pie, which is the state dessert and the state pie. Or you could make your own strawberry milk, because strawberries are the state fruit. To round out the menu, the blue hen chicken is the state’s official bird and the state fish is the weakfish.
Key lime pie was invented in Florida and was declared the official state pie in 2006, so slice yourself off a piece this weekend. Floridians also know the value of a little vitamin C. Oranges are the official state fruit and orange juice the official state beverage. They’ve also declared the largemouth bass the official state fish.
It makes perfect sense that Georgia chose the peach as its official state fruit. It is after all the Peach State. Other state foods for Georgia are the peanut as the state crop and grits (with or without shrimp) as the state prepared food. The bobwhite quail is the state’s official game bird and Georgia shares its state fish, the largemouth bass, with Florida.
Hawaii is another state on our list that has no official state foods, but we have a couple of suggestions for nominees. The first is Spam. Spam and Hawaii have a love affair that dates back to World War II and Spam even carries the nickname “Hawaiian steak.” Our second nominee is the pineapple. Dole has its pineapple plantation in the state, which was opened in 1901.
Idaho’s state crop is the potato, which serves as the perfect excuse to eat some French fries if you’re in the state. Their state fruit is the huckleberry. Idaho also declared the cutthroat trout as their official state fish.
The people of Illinois must be movie lovers because they have popcorn listed as their official state snack food. Illinois also declared the Gold Rush apple as their official state fruit. The bluegill is also the official state fish of Illinois. Even with all those official state foods, we think that Chicago-style deep dish pizza deserves a nod.
Indiana is a real fan of the other white meat. The Hoosier sandwich is a state favorite in Indiana. It’s filled with a breaded pork tenderloin, and even though Indiana has no official state food, perhaps they should consider the Hoosier for a state symbol. Pork and beans should also be considered, seeing as Van Camp’s Beans were first made in Indianapolis in 1909.
If you’ve ever driven through Iowa, you’ve probably noticed one standout on the road: corn. The state of Iowa has no official state foods, but it is number one in corn for grain production in the United States. That kind of accomplishment definitely deserves some recognition. We nominate corn as the state food of Iowa
The legislators of Kansas have yet to declare an official state food. Though it isn't as famous for barbecue as it's neighbor, Missouri (and especially Kansas City), we've had so much good 'cue in the Sunflower State, from Lawrence to Hays to Wichita, that we wonder if barbecued ribs shouldn't be given the honor. Kansas also has a large population of bison, of course, so maybe a buffalo burger would be a good state food too.
According to the its government website, Kentucky has two state foods on their official symbols list. Blackberries are the state’s official state berry and milk is the state’s official drink. To us that sounds like a perfect excuse to make a warm berry pie paired with a cool glass of milk. In 2013, Governor Steve Beshear added the state's unique ginger-and-citrus-flavored Ale-8-One as Kentucky's official soft drink.
Louisiana is all about cooking — Cajun and Creole. Beignets are the official state donut, and crawfish, which means gumbo, is Louisiana’s official state crustacean. Milk is once again the official state drink for Louisiana, but the state has also declared the sweet potato as the state vegetable and the Creole tomato as the state vegetable plant.
Everyone associates lobster with Maine, but as it turns out Maine has not declared the shellfish as a state food. Their official food symbols are the wild blueberry, blueberry pie, Moxie (a soft drink), and Whoopie Pie. The people of Maine clearly have the right mindset when it comes to snack foods. And if you’re looking to go fishing in Maine this summer, keep in mind that the landlocked salmon is the state’s official fish.
Everyone loves cake, but no one so much as Maryland. They made the Smith Island Cake, an eight- to ten-layer yellow cake with chocolate frosting, the official state dessert. Milk is also the state’s official drink, which would probably go perfectly with that cake. But seeing as Maryland is one of the largest suppliers of crabs in the country, we think the crab should be considered as well — though they have listed the striped bass as the official state fish.
Massachusetts takes its food very seriously, and is one of the states with the most official state foods. It shares its official state game bird, the turkey, with Alabama, and its state fish is the cod. Cranberries are the official state fruit, the chocolate chip cookie is the official state cookie, and the Boston crème donut is the official state donut. Other state foods include the corn muffin, the navy bean, and cranberry juice.
The upper peninsula of Michigan was home to many Cornish immigrants in the early 1850s, who brought over small, handheld meat pies called pasties. Now the pasty is representative of the area, and we think Michigan should consider it for as a state food. Michigan did declare the rainbow trout as the state fish in 1988, which is a great excuse to take the day off to go fishing.
Minnesota has a variety of official state foods. The honey crisp apple is its official state food and northern wild rice is the official state crop. Other food symbols include the blueberry muffin as the official state muffin, morel mushrooms as the official state mushroom, and milk as the official state drink. The walleye is also the official state fish.
We’d have thought that Mississippi mud pie would have gotten a nod for official state dessert. After all, it is named after the state. Surprisingly, though, Mississippi hasn’t given it the recognition. Mississippi is actually the sixth state on our list to name milk as their state drink. It, like other states, has also declared the largemouth bass as the official state fish.
Everyone loves ice cream, and Missouri loves it so much that it declared it as its official state dessert. The Norton is the state grape of Missouri and the eastern black walnut is the state crop. The bobwhite quail is the state game bird and the catfish is the official state fish.
Montana does not have an official state food, but huckleberries grow in abundance in the northern Rockies. Even though the season for them is short, huckleberry pie would be a good state food for the state. The official state fish is the blackspotted cutthroat trout.
Nebraska, like Missouri, declared the catfish as its official state fish. But we have a few more exciting suggestions. Runzas, also called bierocks, are pockets of dough traditionally filled with ground beef and other good things, and are a Nebraska classic. There are a number of Runza eateries (the term has been copyrighted) throughout the state. Nebraska also produces a large amount of popcorn, and the popcorn ball is a favorite treat.
Nevada doesn’t have any official state foods yet, but when we think of Nevada we think about Las Vegas. And when we think about Las Vegas, we think about all you can eat buffets. They aren’t exactly a food, but they’d make a great state meal. The lahontan cutthroat trout is the state’s official fish, though.
Elementary school students nominated New Hampshire’s state vegetable, the white potato, which is adorable. They also had a hand in naming the pumpkin as the state fruit. The state game fish is also the striped bass.
New Jersey has two state official foods. The first is the blueberry, which was given the honor in 2004. We think that means that all you New Jersians out there should start baking some blueberry treats. The second is the Jersey tomato, which is the state vegetable.
If you’re looking to make some chili, New Mexico has got you covered. It honors its Hispanic roots by declaring chiles and pinto beans as the state vegetables. And for dessert, try the state cookie, the bizcochito. The treats are usually star shaped and flavored with cinnamon.
If you think about it, cheesecake really should be the state dessert. It’s an iconic food of the state, but New York has actually thought up some different foods to honor. The apple is their state fruit, and the apple muffin logically follows as the state muffin. We see milk again as the state drink, but New York also declared yogurt as the official state snack.
North Carolina likes to get specific when it comes to its state foods. It has a state red berry, the strawberry, and a state blue berry, the blueberry. We like both of those fruits on their own, but they’d be even better together on top of some ice cream. The Scuppernong grape is also North Carolina’s state fruit, the sweet potato its state vegetable, and milk its state drink.
We have to say that we’re a bit sick of writing this, but milk is once again the state drink of North Dakota. Clearly the United States in general is a big fan of the drink. But North Dakota has also declared the chokecherry as its official state fruit. It has a pretty intimidating name, but we bet that it's delicious.
Ohio must be the perfect state for brunch, because it declared tomato juice as its official state drink. To us, that sounds like an invitation to indulge in some Bloody Marys next time we’re in the state. We’d also pick up some Buckeye candies, which aren’t an official state food, but we think they should be.
Oklahoma knows that when it’s time to indulge, it’s really time to indulge. Their state meal is more like a 12-course feast. It consists of fried okra, squash, cornbread, barecued pork, biscuits, sausage and gravy, grits, corn, strawberries, chicken fried steak, black eyed peas, and pecan pie. Just thinking about it is making our pants tight. That great meal incorporates some other state foods, like the strawberry and corn. Milk is also the official state drink and the watermelon is listed as the official state vegetable. Oklahoma explained that choice by saying that the watermelon is in the same family as the cucumber so it is a vegetable (though we know that the cucumber is really a fruit, so…).
The state nut of Oregon is the hazelnut, which screams Nutella to us. Nutella isn’t an American creation, but if you’re in Oregon, you should have some anyway. To celebrate the state nut of course. Oregon has two other state foods, the pear, the state fruit, and the Pacific golden chanterelle, the state mushroom.
Pennsylvania declared the perfect food combination as their official state foods. Milk is their state drink and chocolate chip cookies are their state cookie. We think that their decision to make those two their official state foods is one of the smartest things anyone has ever done. However, we do think that the Pennsylvania’s famous sandwich, the cheesesteak, and beloved breakfast treasts the pork roll and scrapple, should be nominated for official state titles too.
The smallest state in our nation decided to keep its list of official state foods small too. The only food symbol for Rhode Island is the greening apple, but you can do so many things with an apple. Apple pie, apple cake, apple ice cream; really the possibilities are endless.
There’s no better place for Southern charm than South Carolina. In fact, they take their manners so seriously that they even named tea as their state hospitality drink. So next time you’re visiting a home in the state, request some tea. Or you could as for some peaches, the state fruit; some milk, the state drink; or a big helping of collard greens, the state vegetable. Either way, your host will probably be happy to get it for you.
South Dakota is another state on this list that is honoring its heritage. It’s listed kuchen ("cake" in German) as its official state dessert, which is pretty all-encompassing. Think of all the options! On top of its German roots, the state honors its Native American heritage as well by declaring fry bread as the official state bread. Milk is also the state drink, a fact that South Dakota shares with so many other states.
Tennessee decided to keep things simple with their list of official state foods. Instead they chose two American favorites. The tomato is their state fruit and milk is their state drink. Ramps are plentiful in Tennessee, though, enough so that they have gained the nickname Tennessee truffles. The state legislature should work on getting those as a state food.
Texas is big, brassy, and super fun, just like their list of official foods. They honor their Tex-Mex roots by naming the jalapeño the state pepper, the chiltepin as the state native pepper, and tortilla chips and salsa as the state snack. Sopapilla, a fried dessert with Hispanic roots, also shares a spot as the state pastry along with strudel. Chili is also the state meal, which fits perfectly with the cowboy image of the state. Other state foods include the red grapefruit, the native pecan, and the sweet onion. Texas goes big, even when it comes to state foods.
Apparently the people of Utah are fans of jiggly, brightly colored desserts because they named Jell-O as the state snack. They also have the sugar beet as the state vegetable and the cherry as the state fruit. We salute Utah for official celebrating its sweet tooth.
Vermont is about as American as apple pie, and as it turned out, apple pie is the official state pie. And you can’t make apple pie without apples, which we guess is why Vermont also declared the apple as their official state fruit. We see milk popping up again in this state too as the official state drink.
Virginia ham would be a logical choice for a state food, especially since it bears the name of the state. But Virginia doesn’t have it listed as one of its food. In fact it only has one state food, and we’ll give you three guesses. That’s right! Their state drink is the ever-popular milk.
Seattle's native Starbucks might be sad to hear that coffee hasn’t made the cut for official Washington state foods. Instead, the apple sits proudly as state fruit and the Walla Walla sweet onion claims the place of state vegetable. Don’t worry, Starbucks, we’re sure coffee will get on there eventually.
The last three states on this list don’t have any official state foods unfortunately, but we’ve come up with a few options for them just in case. For West Virginia, we nominated the pepperoni roll. It’s a standard in convenience stores throughout the state and deserves a little bit of state approved love.
The Rocky Mountain oyster goes by many names. Some people call them prairie oysters, some call them cowboy caviar, some call them what they are: bull's testicles. Any way you look at it, they are a representative food of the West, including Wyoming, and since the state has no official foods, we nominate the Rocky Mountain oyster as their first.