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8 Regional Breakfast Favorites That Should Go National

What’s better than waking up to sizzling bacon and fresh-cooked eggs? Waking up in Delaware to the smell of scrapple, or in New Jersey to the hangover cure that is Taylor Ham. Across the U.S., people are cooking up some unreal—and unusual—breakfast dishes, including these eight regional favorites that should be on every morning menu.

1. SPAM MUSUBI // HAWAII

You read that right: Spam for breakfast. Hawaii took that questionable blue can and turned it into a popular snack-turned-breakfast dish. Spam musubi puts a slice of grilled Spam between two blocks of rice, wrapped up with a sliver of dried seaweed. In other words, Spam sushi.

2. GOETTA // OHIO

Goetta, a mix of ground pork shoulder, beef, onion, spices, and pinhead oats, may sound more bizarre than appetizing, but it’s actually a breakfast icon in the greater Cincinnati area. The dish (pronounced get-uh) is a product of Cincinnati’s German roots, and is celebrated so widely that it has its own annual festival—the Glier’s GoettaFest in Newport, Kentucky. Meat lovers, mark your calendars: the next GoettaFest is August 2017. Until then, you can make your own at home to serve up with other breakfast staples like eggs and hashbrowns, or pancakes and syrup.

3. SHRIMP 'N' GRITS // THE SOUTH

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While it started as a quick breakfast for busy fishermen, shrimp 'n' grits have evolved into one of the south’s most sought-after comfort foods. Southerners dress up this porridge-y mix of seafood and cornmeal with toppings like bacon, jalapeños, peppers, and mushrooms.

4. TAYLOR HAM // NEW JERSEY

Taylor Ham—or "pork roll" depending on who you ask—has been an east coast favorite since 1856, when John Taylor of Trenton, New Jersey, introduced his secret pork roll recipe. Taylor Ham is sliced, grilled, and served on a round roll, typically accompanied by egg and cheese. While various types of pork rolls are served worldwide, New Jerseyans agree: The secret Taylor Ham recipe is the only way to go, and a bill was even introduced in April 2016 to make it the official state sandwich.

5. BEIGNET // NEW ORLEANS

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New Orleans locals know the best mornings begin with powdered sugar and carbs. The beignet—a pastry made from deep-fried dough—originated in France, and has evolved into a staple Creole dish, served fresh and hot with bananas, plantains, and a heavy dash of powdered sugar.

6. JOHNNYCAKES // NEW ENGLAND

With a recipe that only requires cornmeal, boiling water, and a dash of salt and sugar, the Johnnycake may seem like a dull breakfast option, but it's a tradition New Englanders have sworn by since the pilgrims landed at Plymouth. When their wheat spoiled on the Mayflower’s journey to America, the pilgrims adapted and learned to cook with corn as the Native Americans did. Today, the unleavened Johnnycake is served with maple syrup, honey, and a variety of other sweet toppings.

7. SCRAPPLE // DELAWARE

As a loaf of pork trimmings combined with cornmeal and flour, it’s easy to see where scrapple got its name. Scraps of pig snouts. Scraps of leftover livers. Scraps of (gulp) hearts. But Mid-Atlantic residents know the "don't ask, don't tell" approach is well worth it for the absolutely mind-boggling tastes this Delaware delicacy has to offer.

8. ENCHILADAS MONTADAS // NEW MEXICO

New Mexico turns the traditional enchilada into a huge, gooey, scrumptious breakfast meal. The enchilada montada consists of enchiladas stacked with red or green sauce, and onion and cheese layered throughout. The cherry on top of this southwestern delicacy? A fried egg. Elastic waistbands recommended.

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Oreo, Amazon
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Food
Try New Oreo Flavors Each Month With a Cookie Club Subscription Box
Oreo, Amazon
Oreo, Amazon

The best cookies are the kind that are delivered directly to your doorstep. Now, as delish reports, the Oreo cookie brand is offering that service to its customers on a monthly basis. Oreo fans who sign up for the Cookie Club will receive a curated box of goodies around the beginning of the month.

Each subscription package comes in a box decorated with the cookie’s iconic design. Inside recipients will find two snacks, which can be any combination of the brand’s many cookies and candy bar flavors (such as classic Oreo and golden Oreo cookies as their examples).

The delivery also includes a recipe card and an Oreo-inspired gift. That gift could be a mug, a hat, a game, or any piece of Oreo-branded swag the company can fit into the box. According to one Amazon user, the box for January included cinnamon Oreo cookies, chocolate hazelnut Oreos, Oreo hot cocoa mix, Oreo socks, and a recipe for cinnamon Oreo mug cake.

The subscription costs more than it would to purchase the cookies from a store, but for true fans the higher price tag may be worth it. The Cookie Club is an opportunity to try out new Oreo flavors that you may have had trouble finding otherwise. It also makes a great gift for any adventurous cookie fans in your life. Subscriptions are available to purchase exclusively through Amazon in 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month packages, with the prices for each coming out to around $20 a box.

[h/t delish]

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©Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello
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Stones, Bones, and Wrecks
Inside the Kitchen of Thomas Jefferson's Acclaimed—and Enslaved—Chef James Hemings
 ©Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello
©Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello

James Hemings once prepared lavish dishes for America's founding fathers at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's Virginia plantation. Though enslaved, he trained in France to become one of colonial America's most accomplished chefs. Now, archaeologists have uncovered the kitchen where Hemings created his elaborate banquets, LiveScience reports.

Researchers at Monticello are conducting a long-term effort, the Mountaintop Project, to restore plantation premises, including slave quarters, to their original appearance. Archaeologists excavated a previously filled-in cellar in the main house's South Pavilion, where they found artifacts like bones, toothbrushes, beads, and shards of glass and ceramics. Underneath layers of dirt, experts also uncovered the kitchen's original brick floor, remnants of a fireplace, and the foundations of four waist-high stew stoves.

"Stew stoves are the historic equivalent of a modern-day stovetop or cooking range," archaeological field researcher manager Crystal Ptacek explains in an online video chronicling the find. Each contained a small hole for hot coals; centuries later, the cellar floor still contains remains of ash and charcoal from blazing fires. Hemings himself would have toiled over these stoves.

During the colonial period, wealthy families had their slaves prepare large, labor-intensive meals. These multi-course feasts required stew stoves for boiling, roasting, and frying. Archaeologists think that Jefferson might have upgraded his kitchen after returning from Paris: Stew stoves were a rarity in North America, but de rigueur for making haute French cuisine.

Hemings traveled with Jefferson to France in the 1780s, where for five years he was trained in the French culinary arts. There, Hemings realized he was technically a free man. He met free black people and also learned he could sue for his freedom under French law, according to NPR.

And yet he returned to the U.S. to cook for Jefferson's family and guests, perhaps because he didn't want to be separated from his family members at Monticello, including his sister, Sally. He later negotiated his freedom from Jefferson and trained his brother Peter as his replacement. Hemings ended up cooking for a tavern keeper in Baltimore, and in 1801, shortly after turning down an offer from now-president Jefferson to be his personal chef, he died by suicide.

"We're thinking that James Hemings must have had ideals and aspirations about his life that could not be realized in his time and place," Susan Stein, senior curator at Monticello, told NPR in 2015. "And those factors probably contributed to his unhappiness and his depression, and ultimately to his death."

Hemings contributed to early America's culinary landscape through dessert recipes like snow eggs and by introducing colonial diners to macaroni and cheese, among other dishes. He also assisted today's historians by completing a 1796 inventory of Monticello's kitchen supplies—and he's probably left further clues in the estate's newly uncovered kitchen, says Gayle Jessup White, Monticello's community engagement officer—and one of James's relatives.

"My great-great-great-grandfather Peter Hemings learned to cook French cuisine from his brother James on this stove," White tells Mental Floss. "It was a spiritual moment for me to walk into the uncovered remains of Monticello's first kitchen, where my ancestors spent much of their lives. This discovery breathes life into the people who lived, worked and died at Monticello, and I hope people connect with their stories."

[h/t Live Science]

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