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8 Regional Foods You Might Not Know

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A couple of weeks ago I linked to a map of the US in which each state was labeled with a kind of food associated with the state.

Many sites featured the map, and the comments were full of consternation and alternatives. Sure, Hawaii produces the pineapples, but the people who live there eat Spam. All over the world, people think fried chicken when you say Kentucky, but it's not a particularly native dish nor all that popular in the state. There are foods listed that some state's lifelong citizens had never heard of! So I looked up some of those obscure regional foods to see what they are all about.

1. Skyline Chili (Ohio)

Some of the confusion came because a food was attributed to a state when it is associated with one city. Cincinnati has a very particular way of eating chili, made famous by Nicholas Lambrinides, who opened Skyline Chili in Cincy in 1949. His Greek chili recipe includes spices not seen in American chili recipes elsewhere. The restaurant's recipe is secret, but those who made Cincinnati chili at home use cinnamon, cocoa, and/or allspice. The chili is served over pasta, and toppings are added depending on the diner's taste. Two-way chili is served over spaghetti. Three-way chili is served over spaghetti with Cheddar cheese on top. *Four-way chili is also topped with oyster crackers, and five-way chili sees the addition of kidney beans -which are not in the chili recipe itself. Image by Flickr user Susy Morris.

*Update: Lauren Doyle of Skyline Chili sends a correction on the way the chili is served:

A four-way is actually a three-way topped with either onions or red kidney beans, while a five-way is topped with both onions and red kidney beans. The oyster crackers are actually served on the side, and frequently are topped with a drop or two of hot sauce. These are small but important distinctions... at least, if you know and/or are a fan of Cincinnati-style chili! :)

2. Toasted Ravioli (Missouri)

Toasted ravioli is unfamiliar to many Missourians who live outside of St. Louis. The origins of this dish are in dispute, as several chefs in St. Louis' Italian neighborhood claimed to have originated the dish in the first half of the 20th century, although it may have traveled from Sicily. The ravioli is breaded and deep-fried, then sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and served with marinara sauce for dipping. You'll find toasted ravioli featured at several St. Louis restaurants or you can make your own with this recipe. Image by Flickr user jayne vidheecharoen.

3. Loose Meat Sandwiches (Iowa)

Loose meat sandwiches were not invented for the TV series Roseanne, which surprised me. The sandwich is described as a sloppy Joe without the slop, or a hamburger that falls apart. It is also called a Tavern sandwich, as it was served by Ye Olde Tavern Sandwich Shop in Sioux City, Iowa, beginning in 1934. The Maid-Rite chain has been selling loose meat sandwiches since 1926, so there is some controversy over the sandwich's origin. In Iowa, even national chains such as Dairy Queen serve loose meat sandwiches. If they aren't served at a restaurant near you, you can try them at home with this recipe.

4. Knoephla (North Dakota)

Spelled knoeplah in the map, this is actually knoephla, a dumpling of German origin that is used with chicken, potatoes, and spices to make knoephla soup. This picture is of knoephlah soup made by RoadFood forum member MTFoodie, from a combination of recipes posted in the same thread.

5. Benne Wafers (South Carolina)

Benne is a Bantu word meaning sesame. Sesame was brought from East Africa by slaves and planted in South Carolina, where it flourished. The seeds were used by the Gullah communities for many foods, including crackers and cookies. Benne wafers is a term used to refer to both sweet cookies and savory crackers, depending on the recipe used.

6. Chislic (South Dakota)

Chislic is deep-fried meat served on a skewer or toothpick. The name is believed to be derived from the German schaschlik or Russian shashlik, which were derived from the Turkich shish kebab. The meat can be beef, mutton, venison, or other game meat. It was introduced to South Dakota by a Crimean immigrant named John Hoellwarth in the 1870s. The reason this dish is not well known outside of South Dakota may be because other regions call it shish kebab. Image by Wikipedia member Gomboc2008.

7. Pasties (Michigan)

Michigan citizens cried foul when pasties were assigned to Michigan, as the dish is mainly popular in the Upper Penninsula (UP). Immigrant miners from Cornwall brought the delicacy with them in the 1800s, but other immigrant ethnic groups brought variants on the recipe. Cornish miners valued pasties because they were so portable, therefore easy to take to work for lunch. A fresh-baked pasty would stay warm for hours, even deep in the copper and tin mines. Pasties are made with a pastry shell resembling pie crust, folded over meat and vegetables and baked in portion sizes easily held in one hand. Ingredients vary, so here are several traditional recipes. Image by Flickr user Kevin D Weeks.

8. Jelly Pie (Arkansas)

The item that seemed to cause the most confusion and/or outrage was jelly pie for Arkansas. Many native Arkansans had never heard of it. But the Food Timeline has a recipe for jelly pie tied to Arkansas.

Jelly Pie (Arkansas)
4 eggs
1/2 cup currant jelly
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Cream the butter and add the sugar and beat well. Add well-beaten yolks and jelly, and fold in the whites of eggs. Add lemon juice and bake without upper crust."
---The National Cookbook: A Kitchen Americana, Sheila Hibben [Harper & Brothers:New York] 1932 (p. 368)

I found another recipe in the November, 2002 issue of the Sandyland Chronicle from the 1944 Hempstead County Home Demonstration Clubs Cookbook. It differs in that it doesn't specify any particular type of jelly, which leads me to wonder how varied the resulting pies would be. Another recipe calls for strawberry jelly. It came from "an old copy of Southern Cookbook" which might possibly be from Arkansas. A commenter at the recipe page said the exact same recipe in her cookbook dated back to 1947. A grape jelly pie recipe is said to be from "an old food magazine," but it doesn't specify how old, or whether there's any connection to Arkansas. However, most recipes found by searching for "jelly pie" were for peanut butter and jelly pie, a sweet variant of peanut butter pie. The picture used for the map is clearly a slice of peanut butter and jelly pie, which is not connected to Arkansas in particular. Arkansas jelly pie appears to be a delicacy that has gone into history.

If you are familiar with these foods, let us know what you think about them!

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entertainment
10 Surprising Facts About The Babadook
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In 2014, The Babadook came out of nowhere and scared audiences across the globe. Written and directed by Aussie Jennifer Kent, and based on her short film Monster, The Babadook is about a widow named Amelia (played by Kent’s drama schoolmate Essie Davis) who has trouble controlling her young son Samuel (Noah Wiseman), who thinks there’s a monster living in their house. Amelia reads Samuel a pop-up book, Mister Babadook, and Samuel manifests the creature into a real-life monster. The Babadook may be the villain, but the film explores the pitfalls of parenting and grief in an emotional way. 

“I never approached this as a straight horror film,” Kent told Complex. “I always was drawn to the idea of grief, and the suppression of that grief, and the question of, how would that affect a person? ... But at the core of it, it’s about the mother and child, and their relationship.”

Shot on a $2 million budget, the film grossed more than $10.3 million worldwide and gained an even wider audience via streaming networks. Instead of creating Babadook out of CGI, a team generated the images in-camera, inspired by the silent films of Georges Méliès and Lon Chaney. Here are 10 things you might not have known about The Babadook (dook, dook).

1. THE NAME “BABADOOK” WAS EASY FOR A CHILD TO INVENT.

Jennifer Kent told Complex that some people thought the creature’s name sounded “silly,” which she agreed with. “I wanted it to be like something a child could make up, like ‘jabberwocky’ or some other nonsensical name,” she explained. “I wanted to create a new myth that was just solely of this film and didn’t exist anywhere else.”

2. JENNIFER KENT WAS WORRIED PEOPLE WOULD JUDGE THE MOTHER.

Amelia isn’t the best mother in the world—but that’s the point. “I’m not a parent,” Kent told Rolling Stone, “but I’m surrounded by friends and family who are, and I see it from the outside … how parenting seems hard and never-ending.” She thought Amelia would receive “a lot of flak” for her flawed parenting, but the opposite happened. “I think it’s given a lot of women a sense of reassurance to see a real human being up there,” Kent said. “We don’t get to see characters like her that often.”

3. KENT AND ESSIE DAVIS TONED DOWN THE CONTENT FOR THE KID.

Noah Wiseman was six years old when he played Samuel. Kent and Davis made sure he wasn’t present for the more horrific scenes, like when Amelia tells Samuel she wishes he was the one who died, not her husband. “During the reverse shots, where Amelia was abusing Sam verbally, we had Essie yell at an adult stand-in on his knees,” Kent told Film Journal. “I didn’t want to destroy a childhood to make this film—that wouldn’t be fair.”

Kent explained a “kiddie version” of the plot to Wiseman. “I said, ‘Basically, Sam is trying to save his mother and it’s a film about the power of love.’”

4. THE FILM IS ALSO ABOUT “FACING OUR SHADOW SIDE.”

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Kent told Film Journal that “The Babadook is a film about a woman waking up from a long, metaphorical sleep and finding that she has the power to protect herself and her son.” She noted that everybody has darkness to face. “Beyond genre and beyond being scary, that’s the most important thing in the film—facing our shadow side.”

5. THE FILM SCARED THE HELL OUT OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE EXORCIST.

In an interview with Uproxx, William Friedkin—director of The Exorcist—said The Babadook was one of the best and scariest horror films he’d ever seen. He especially liked the emotional aspect of the film. “It’s not only the simplicity of the filmmaking and the excellence of the acting not only by the two leads, but it’s the way the film works slowly but inevitably on your emotions,” he said.

6. AN ART DEPARTMENT ASSISTANT SCORED THE ROLE AS THE BABADOOK.

Tim Purcell worked in the film’s art department but then got talked into playing the titular character after he acted as the creature for some camera tests. “They realized they could save some money, and have me just be the Babadook, and hence I became the Babadook,” Purcell told New York Magazine. “In terms of direction, it was ‘be still a lot,’” he said.

7. THE MOVIE BOMBED IN ITS NATIVE AUSTRALIA.

Even though Kent shot the film in Adelaide, Australians didn’t flock to the theaters; it grossed just $258,000 in its native country. “Australians have this [built-in] aversion to seeing Australian films,” Kent told The Cut. “They hardly ever get excited about their own stuff. We only tend to love things once everyone else confirms they’re good … Australian creatives have always had to go overseas to get recognition. I hope one day we can make a film or work of art and Australians can think it’s good regardless of what the rest of the world thinks.”

8. YOU CAN OWN A MISTER BABADOOK BOOK (BUT IT WILL COST YOU). 

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In 2015, Insight Editions published 6200 pop-up books of Mister Babadook. Kent worked with the film’s illustrator, Alexander Juhasz, who created the book for the movie. He and paper engineer Simon Arizpe brought the pages to life for the published version. All copies sold out but you can find some Kent-signed ones on eBay, going for as much as $500.

9. THE BABADOOK IS A GAY ICON.

It started at the end of 2016, when a Tumblr user started a jokey thread about how he thought the Babadook was gay. “It started picking up steam within a few weeks,” Ian, the Tumblr user, told New York Magazine, “because individuals who I presume are heterosexual kind of freaked out over the assertion that a horror movie villain would identify as queer—which I think was the actual humor of the post, as opposed to just the outright statement that the Babadook is gay.” In June, the Babadook became a symbol for Gay Pride month. Images of the character appeared everywhere at this year's Gay Pride Parade in Los Angeles.

10. DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH FOR A SEQUEL.

Kent, who owns the rights to The Babadook, told IGN that, despite the original film's popularity, she's not planning on making any sequels. “The reason for that is I will never allow any sequel to be made, because it’s not that kind of film,” she said. “I don’t care how much I’m offered, it’s just not going to happen.”

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Space
NASA Is Posting Hundreds of Retro Flight Research Videos on YouTube
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If you’re interested in taking a tour through NASA history, head over to the YouTube page of the Armstrong Flight Research Center, located at Edwards Air Force Base, in southern California. According to Motherboard, the agency is in the middle of posting hundreds of rare aircraft videos dating back to the 1940s.

In an effort to open more of its archives to the public, NASA plans to upload 500 historic films to YouTube over the next few months. More than 300 videos have been published so far, and they range from footage of a D-558 Skystreak jet being assembled in 1947 to a clip of the first test flight of an inflatable-winged plane in 2001. Other highlights include the Space Shuttle Endeavour's final flight over Los Angeles and a controlled crash of a Boeing 720 jet.

The research footage was available to the public prior to the mass upload, but viewers had to go through the Dryden Aircraft Movie Collection on the research center’s website to see them. The current catalogue on YouTube is much easier to browse through, with clear playlist categories like supersonic aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles. You can get a taste of what to expect from the page in the sample videos below.

[h/t Motherboard]

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