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Old 06-22-2006, 06:39 AM   #1
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Regional annoyances

Okay, I'm from the Pacific Northwest. We don't claim to know much regarding food around here, aside from coffee, Pacific Salmon, Dungeness Crab, and maybe a couple of other things.

The thing that annoys me are the people who come to my neighborhood, and then claim that their neighborhood is the only place to get good... whatever. For instance, there are a lot of people from a certain notorious east-coast city who claim their city is the only place "real" pizza is ever made, despite what people from Italy might think. (There is even disagreement among towns in Italy over who makes the best pizza!) I won't even go into this east-coast city's wacked-out pronunciations of various foreign foods, like gyros or jalapenos.

Then there is a mid-western city that claims to be the chili capital of the world, and yet they pour their "chili" over noodles, something that isn't even allowed in the chili competitions in the states where chili came from.

And speaking of the states where chili came from, the inhabitants there often scoff at the traditional method of alder-smoking the Indians have done around here for centuries. Apparently alder isn't "real" smoking wood.

I also know people from that afore-mentioned notorious city who claim it is impossible to get fresh fish in Seattle. I mean, come on! Seattle is a port city; you only need to go down to the piers to get fish right off the boat!

So what's my point? Okay, I know that as an individual, you can't do much about what your city or state claims. However, what you can do as an individual is refrain from commenting on how much better the food or anything else is back home, and maybe even learn something about the local food while you are at it. As to bragging about what you are used to and putting down what your hosts like, trust me. Most people don't want to hear it, even if you are right.

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Old 06-22-2006, 08:06 AM   #2
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This has never bothered me. Unless someone makes a personal stab at something that I make, I enjoy hearing about all the different ways people make things or think theirs is the best and why.
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Old 06-22-2006, 08:15 AM   #3
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I agree with TG. I love hearing that NY has the best pizza and then going there and experiencing it for myself. I can then make my own determination as to if I agree or not. I happen to agree that NY has the best pizza in general that I have ever had.

On the other hand I was disapointed with Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago. I have had better (again only IMO) deep dish pizza elsewhere.

Each person has their own tastes and opinions. I for one, love to hear about them and compare them to mine.
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Old 06-22-2006, 08:19 AM   #4
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Aww, but, unlike you GB, I don't get a chance to try it for myself. LOL
I just have to take their word for it.

and as for the chili on pasta, I've never tried it, but, don't see that it wouldn't be good. Any meat dish, imo, is good with pasta, heck, just about anything is good with pasta.
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Old 06-22-2006, 08:24 AM   #5
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It's a combination of regional pride and the understandable feeling that what you grew up eating is the best version of that food. If you grew up eating rice pilaf with raisins in it, no pilaf that lacks raisins is going to taste right to you.
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Old 06-22-2006, 08:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texasgirl
and as for the chili on pasta, I've never tried it, but, don't see that it wouldn't be good. Any meat dish, imo, is good with pasta, heck, just about anything is good with pasta.
Ah, now, Texasgirl, you disappoint me. I thought everyone in Texas knows what makes good chili, and that pasta ain't a part of it!
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Old 06-22-2006, 08:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
It's a combination of regional pride and the understandable feeling that what you grew up eating is the best version of that food. If you grew up eating rice pilaf with raisins in it, no pilaf that lacks raisins is going to taste right to you.
Sure. I agree. My point is, just don't go complaining to your host about the lack of raisins, or telling them how much better the pilaf is back home when they plunk some pilaf in front of you.
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Old 06-22-2006, 08:51 AM   #8
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Kelly, This just my opinion, but I think your brush might be a little broad. More than a few times I've sat at a picnic table while a Texan and a Tennessean argued passionately about whether it was brisket or pork butt that was just a waste of a good smoke oven. I've never heard any malice in these discussions. Just friendly rivalry and pride of place.

In fact I think the influences that homogenize the pallet are much stronger and regional differences need to be cherished and preserved.

The snoot nosed disdain of some visitors, that is a mask for ignorance and intolerance is of course, what I think you meant in your post, and I agree that it's disgusting.
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:00 AM   #9
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There are regional and national diversities in cooking and naming the same dish. For instance, I've just learned that the exotically name Greek gyros talked about here is our bog-standard, leave the pub-treat of a doner kebab! Whodathunkit?

And the idea that the ONLY way to cook something is silly. I cook 'national' dishes, like clooty dumplings, cottage pie, dundee cake etc.... but my cousins and sisters and sisters-in-law make the same dish.... None of them taste exactly the same - so what chance foreigners, with different milk, butter, flour etc making EXACTLY the same as my version? Best to eat graciously, thank your hosts and then go home thinking 'thank god, next time I eat that, it'll be cooked the CORRECT way!)
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:03 AM   #10
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Living in beautiful Southern Illinois, this is a particular sore point with me, and here's why.
I ran a greenhouse business here for 22 years, and just about everyone in four counties came in sooner or later, plus a lot of travelers who saw my sign when they turned off the interstate to get food and gas.
A lot of people from upstate, Chicago in particular, choose to retire down here. Living expenses are cheaper, the pace here is slower, the people are friendly, and our warm season is two months longer.
BUT...all I'd hear from them is, "In Chicago we have this...in Chicago we have that...yadda, yadda, yadda."
I had to be courteous, so I couldn't suggest they go back to Chicago, but I finally came up with a good comeback.
"I wonder why nobody retires and moves to Chicago?"

I think it's a matter of good manners. If you're a guest in another city, or recently moved there, don't knock the local foods, customs, etc.
If you're a guest...sure it's different. If it were the same, you might as well stay home.
If you've recently moved, well, you're not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy. It's time to roll with the changes.
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:06 AM   #11
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We all come from a different background, with different experiences and customs. And of course, every person has their own preferences. If someone thinks certain things is the best FOR HIM/HER, it doesn't mean that person is right or wrong in any absolute manner. It is just a personal opinion, which we all need to accept and respect, just as well as other people should with yours, if they don't particularly share your opinion.

You are right about the issue with pizzas in Italy, and here also there are lots of regional prides. But it should be more like a conversation piece with lots of positive stimulation, rather than a cause to pick a fight.

It doesn't mean we should argue and get hostile just because we don't share the same opinion upon certain things. Like GB pointed out, you never know, you may learn something new from these "different" people. Hey, the life may get easier and you will have a bit more peace of mind if you can ease up a bit more...
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:09 AM   #12
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There ARE regional differences, usually based on historical ethnic migration patterns and availability of food supply.

But people in some places are just "naturally" better at some things than people in others. Here in Utah for instance they make the best Green Jello in the world... and probably as much of it as the rest of the world too.
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:11 AM   #13
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Kelly... In my opinion, it seems that you're doing the very thing that you're complaining about. I don't think there's "one singular right way" of doing anything. I have an open mind, especially where cooking is concerned. This is something you seem to be advocating in one breath... and then stating that "pasta ain't part of [good chili]". That is your opinion, but you seem to be stating it as fact.

(edited to add): This is not intended as a personal attack of any kind. I'm only saying this to point out that we all have our preferences about what is done and what is simply NOT done. I understand your point is more about people degrading what is available (or not) in your area. I just see that as bad manners.
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:11 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB
I agree with TG. I love hearing that NY has the best pizza and then going there and experiencing it for myself. I can then make my own determination as to if I agree or not. I happen to agree that NY has the best pizza in general that I have ever had.

On the other hand I was disapointed with Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago. I have had better (again only IMO) deep dish pizza elsewhere.

Each person has their own tastes and opinions. I for one, love to hear about them and compare them to mine.
I agree, to an extent. I just get tired of hearing about how even the movies are better back east.

I've heard the same thing about Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago, BTW. It's a completely different thing out here. Some friends of mine went back east to visit relatives, and when they were in Chicago, they asked where the best place was to get Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Everyone had the same answer, so they went to the recommended place. They didn't like it at all.

I'm really not trying to be as intolerant here as I probably seem. I've been to states where the coffee was not very good, for example, no matter where I drank it. My point is, I drank it and refrained from commenting on it to the locals, who apparently thought it was just fine. And for them, it was. They didn't need me to come there and tell them what lousy coffee they were accustomed to drinking.

I just want the same consideration from the people who come here.

Perhaps it's different for you, but I was born and raised here, and most of the people I meet these days are from somewhere else. Really. An adult Washington native is a rarity these days, so I probably get more "opportunities" to hear how much better everything is elsewhere.
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:12 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by KellyM
Ah, now, Texasgirl, you disappoint me. I thought everyone in Texas knows what makes good chili, and that pasta ain't a part of it!
Well, sorry that disappoints you. My opinion is, just because Texas is known to make the best chili, doesn't mean that someone in another state can't make it just as good. And adding it to pasta doesn't make it any less tasty.
I know how to make chili. I just don't care all that much for it.
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:18 AM   #16
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I love going to cities that are famous for something, Kelly, maybe everything annoys you, you complain about this, you complain about trivia, does anything make you happy?
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:19 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by texasgirl
Well, sorry that disappoints you. My opinion is, just because Texas is known to make the best chili, doesn't mean that someone in another state can't make it just as good. And adding it to pasta doesn't make it any less tasty.
I know how to make chili. I just don't care all that much for it.
Please don't be offended; I was kidding. Sorry if that didn't come across the way I intended it to.
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:29 AM   #18
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First off let me tell you that I think Seatte is one of the most fabulous cities in the country. We spent 5 months in Issaquah and couldnt stay away from the city. No fresh fish in Seattle? They've got to be kidding. Some of the best fish and oysters we've ever eaten was in the Seattle area, As for pizza, that's a very personal opinion. I've sat next to friends who said "this is the best pizza I've ever had" and thought to myself, "this is just as mediocre as it can get."
As for chili over noodles, this is more a midwestern thing and it's called Chili Size in restaurants. If people want to put chili over noodles, let them, I love it and make it that way at home sometimes. Every region has it's own "thing" that is considered the best and that makes traveling so much more interesting. Don't let the critics bother you. Unfortunately Las Vegas, where I live, isn't famous for anything but gambling, but in Michigan where I spend my summers the fruits and veggies are to die for. Doesn't mean there isn't good produce in other parts of the country.
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:35 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef_Jimmy
I love going to cities that are famous for something, Kelly, maybe everything annoys you, you complain about this, you complain about trivia, does anything make you happy?
Jimmy,

I love going to cities that are famous for things as well. I just don't like having people come to my city, and tell me how poorly we do whatever their city is famous for.

My whole point is, I wouldn't go to another place and say to the people there "this sucks" and yet I hear this frequently from people who come here from other places. This is rude behavior.

Regional differences are great, and I love food from other parts of the country. So we do pizza differently here than folks do in Chicago. Who cares? So our lasagna is different, and our tacos, and our Ceasar salad, and our chicken, and our biscuits. We eat hash-browns instead of grits. Again, who cares?

All I'm trying to say is that people should be polite when they go to where other people live, and not tell them how much better things are where they come from.
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:41 AM   #20
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Can I tell you that I was recently in an hotel in Perth. When I was half way through breakfast, a group of young Americans came in, clutching their boxes of Kellogg's cereals, brought all the way from the US.... Yep, exactly the SAME cereals that were standing on the buffet. Now that REALLY annoyed me....!!!
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