Policies Of My Administration: Regional Foods



crab cakes

Maryland crab cakes. Maryland is the important part (Photo credit: qwrrty)


There are certain foods that are tied to specific geographic regions. When you think crab cakes, you must think of my home state of Maryland. The best clam chowder comes from New England. The Cuban Mix sandwich is a delicacy from South Florida (and Cuba, I suppose).


Barbecue differs depending on what style the chef uses – Kansas City, Texas, Memphis and North Carolina style barbecues are different foods. In fact, barbecue in eastern or western North Carolina are not the same dish. South Carolina barbecue? Forget it. Mustard based sauce is just not acceptable, but they call that barbecue too


I recognize the deliciousness of the cuisine particular to each region. Getting a dish that is created in the area it is native to is a real joy. People in those places have a vested interest in providing a dining experience that meets expectations. That is why my administration will enforce a policy designed to help regional chefs protect their cuisine and the dining experience.


The Recipe For Disappointment



I will use a personal example to demonstrate the need for this policy.


Heaven on Cuban bread (image via roadfood)

The Cuban Mix sandwich is a sacred thing. I’ve expressed my bond to the holy sandwich before. I’m certain I will mention it again some time; that is how this bit of heaven on bread affects me.


In the past, my adoration for the holy sandwich has caused me to order it in places that are not south Florida. This has always been a recipe for disappointment. The bread is never just right, and what’s between those slices doesn’t measure up. Disappointment is not tasty. It thrives on the anticipation of finding the real thing in an unexpected place. But Disappointment is smart, it knows that the real thing is not available in unexpected places.


Without The Seal…


So often, I talk to people who say things like “why did I order Maryland crab cakes in Iowa? I’m smarter than that”. All I can say to them is “I don’t know and yes, you are”. To protect those who order landlocked crab cakes, and other regional food mistakes, I have created my True Menu Policy.


It will be against policy for any restaurant to serve a regional dish (such as Maryland crab cakes) unless they –


  1. Are located in the region associated with that dish or
  2. Can provide recent affidavits from 100 natives of the area associated with the dish as to its authenticity


It’s real! (public domain via wikimedia)

Either of these things will get that menu item my administration’s seal that says it is real.


Never again will you and I be tempted to make poor menu choices that harken back to favorite dishes prepared by chefs who understand those dishes.


A famous attorney once said “if it does not fit, you must acquit.” With my policy, you’ll be able to say “a menu without a seal does not appeal”.


Until my administration takes power, you’re on your own on this sort of thing. Remember, it is called New England clam chowder for a reason, nothing good comes from ordering Carolina barbecue in Philadelphia and there are no crabs in Iowa.



21 Comments on “Policies Of My Administration: Regional Foods”

  1. Linda Sand says:

    I’m certainly willing to have Lutefisk restricted to northern Minnesota. It shouldn’t even be allowed in the Minneapolis/St Paul metro area even though we do have a lot of people of Scandinavian ancestry here. (Including my husband who does, however, agree with me.)

  2. But Oma, have you TASTED the clam chowder at Disneyland? So super yummy. I’ve been to New England, so I feel I can say this with some authority. Yes, I was 9. No, I didn’t have clam chowder while I was there. Yes, that’s bad parenting on my mother’s part, but seriously. Come out to the Happiest Place on Earth (with a small child or it’s just annoying), go to Frontierland or wherever it is that the Pirates and the Haunted House are and eat at the restaurant in between the two. I can’t afford to pay for this trip but we’ll be happy to take you to dinner. There are lots and lots of terrific Mexican restaurants here and, well…

    • omawarisan says:

      Let’s just go get Mexican. I’m the worst person in the world to judge clam chowder. I hate seafood.

      I’ll have to insist Disney get the seal or cease and desist.

      Insist, desist. Bam.

  3. Laura says:

    I’m originally from Philadelphia. In Philadelphia, a hoagie is a cold sandwich — a long roll with assorted Italian cold cuts, Provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion. It’s dressed with olive oil (and maybe vinegar) and oregano, but never with anything like ketchup, mayonnaise, or mustard. I live on the west coast now, and it’s been years since I’ve had a real hoagie.

    A few years ago I went on a work trip to Pittsburgh. We went to a sandwich place, and I was delighted to see they had hoagies on the menu. I ordered one, and when it came, it was a hot sandwich with some kind of meat and cheese, no veggies, and mustard. It was actually pretty good, but I was still crushed.

  4. Betty says:

    Your endorsement of the Cuban sandwich makes me eager to try one. But I agree with your policy that you shouldn’t eat an iconic regional food outside the region. I’ll be in Ft. Lauderdale later this year….is that close enough to get a proper Cuban sandwich?

    • omawarisan says:

      Yes, I think you can get one in Lauderdale. Te best way to find a good one is to ask people. There will be places that make them and there will be places that people rave about.

      Go hungry, expect to go into a food coma.

  5. I have always wondered how the fried chicken in Kentucky tastes.

    Also, applause on the seal!

  6. I learned the MD crab cake lesson the hard way. I ordered some in Florida, thinking, “Florida is on the coast. They’ll be fine.” Not so….

  7. Debbie says:

    Can you extend your policy to Amtrak? Once, when Domer was little, we took the overnight train that runs between Chicago and New Orleans. For dinner, a guy seated near us ordered some kind of grilled fish. Fish on a train, Domer whispered incredulously. After I shushed him, we watched the guy pick at his dinner, barely eating a forkful, then complaining to the server that his dinner wasn’t any good. No kidding! As if you can get good seafood on a train, for Pete’s sake!

  8. Blogdramedy says:

    You’ve just made me rethink my entire eating strategy.

    I’m either going to lose weight by eating only food from its home state…or go broke paying for airfare to get to the places that make what I want to eat. Well played, Oma.

  9. Todd Pack says:

    You think that’s bad? Try finding a good bagel in Tennessee!

  10. spencercourt says:

    My memory may be failing me, but that photo of a “Cuban” may be a policy violation. I do not recall Cubans coming with lettuce and tomato. And Wikipedia seems to agree with me…

  11. Can I order the seal blubber outside of Alaska?

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