50 States of Food and Film: Part 1
Since I’ve mostly run out of Disney films to come up with matching meals for, I decided to embark on a new challenge that combines two things I love: food and films. This time, I wanted to dedicate one night to each of the USA’s 50 glorious states. I would watch a film that takes place in that state and eat a meal famous for it as well. This process has taken me a long time so far and I predict it will take even longer as I tackle the more difficult recipes. However, I have achieved a milestone in creating 10 different meal and film combinations. I did not go in any sort of order particularly so don’t hurt your brain trying to figure out why I did these ten states first. Without further ado, I present to you: 50 States of Food and Film: Part 1.
Food: Since I am a vegan, I had to do some maneuvering for this one. After research I found that sourdough bread is popular in Alaska, so that was easy (and delicious!) enough. However, for the main course I had to adapt the incredibly not-vegan dish of akutaq. Traditionally, akutaq (also known as Eskimo Ice Cream) is made from whipped animal fat, mixed berries, and fish. I Macgyvered my own dish that looked similar using frozen bananas and berries. I will admit that not eating the real akutaq made this experience much less Alaskan, however, I worked with what I had and enjoyed learning about things along the way.
Film: I choose to watch one of my favorite horror films, 30 Days of Night (2007). I feel like the idea of there being no daylight for an entire month is especially creepy and unique to Alaska. I love this film and recommend it to any fans of vampire horror.
Fun Facts: Alaska was the 49th state to be added to the US and as of 1972, dog mushing is the official state sport.
Food: Vinegar fries are popular in Delaware, especially at the beach. Many people are used to this condiment but if you haven’t tried it yet, I suggest you go for it. Peach ice cream is also a thing in Delaware and honestly, it’s delicious. Overall, a very satisfactory experience in this one.
Film: The newly adapted film Goosebumps (2015) takes places in a community in Delaware. I loved this book series as a kid and I loved the TV show just as much. I can confidently say that this funny tale does the writer justice and I’d be happy to watch a sequel if they make one.
Fun Facts: Delaware is not only the first state of our country and the place I spent the best four years of my life (re: college), Delaware can boast being where both nylon was created and the Methodist Church of America was organized.
- North Carolina
Food: The further south you go the more important barbque becomes. In North Carolina, it’s all about the pulled pork. Naturally my non-meat eating ways means I had to buy some veganized frozen pulled pork pockets but hey, they taste delicious to me. The sweet potato pie that is also popular statewide I made myself and found it hearty and smooth and yummy.
Film: I’d seen the remake but until recently, never the original Cape Fear (1962). The film takes place in North Carolina, obviously, and is a really great thriller. Robert Mitchum was especially fantastic in his role.
Fun Facts: North Carolina was home to the first Krispy Kreme Donut establishment.
Food: I know some of you are wondering why i didn’t make my own fried green tomatoes but that’s because I’m not really a fan, so I went in a different direction. Therefore I went with the classic pecan pie that I baked myself and almost ate entirely by myself. As I said before, bbq is a way of life in the southern US and Alabama is known for their own kind: white bbq sauce. It’s different because the sauce has mayo, vinegar, and other flavors not found in traditional bbq sauce. I made some myself and loved it so I topped my whole meal with it. Except the pie, because ew.
Film: The classic book-turned-film Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) was an wonderful first time watch for me. I wish they had kept in the lgbt aspects of the book but hey, it was the 1990’s. Still a heartwarming tale.
Fun Facts: The pecan is the official Alabama State Nut, hence the love for pecan pie.
- New Jersey
Food: Any Jersey Girl like myself knows what the state’s signature sandwich is: pork roll, egg, and cheese. Naturally, my vegan version would make many cringe but I found it to be incredibly yummy. I followed it up with blueberry muffins made homemade and using berries from the Blueberry capital of the world, also located in the Dirty Jerz. This meal tastes like home to me.
Film: The biography Freeheld (2015) is about a real life couple in New Jersey who won a landmark case for LGBT rights. As an LGBT woman and proud New Jerseyan this was a natural choice. Not to mention, a great film.
Fun Facts: New Jersey has the most diners in the world which makes sense considering we also have the highest population density.
Food: Florida was one of the easiest states when it came to selecting representive food. I had to go with a veganized homemade version of the Cuban sandwich and naturally some key lime pie. My belly was a happy camper this night.
Film: Despite there being plenty of choices for Florida I decided to watch Spring Breakers (2012). Why? Because I had only seen it once in theaters and felt like watching it again. While I know that many people disagree, I like this movie. I think it’s very artsy and fun.
Fun Facts: Citrus production is a major industry and citrus fruits are widely consumed.
Food: My meal for Arkansas had two components. The savory was a nice plate of fried pickles. The sweet was chocolate gravy and biscuits/ Not only did I feel incredibly sick to my stomach after this “meal” but I also decided that chocolate gravy should be poured on all foods.
Film: It’s a bit difficult to find films that take place in Arkansas but I did fine something that spoke to the cryptid-lover in me: The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972).
Fun Facts: Milk has been the official state beverage since 1985.
- New Mexico
Food: For New Mexico, I whipped up my own green chili enchiladas. Admittingly, the photo is lacking, but they tasted good enough to me. For dessert I went with the bizcochito, a crispy butter cookie flavored with cinnamon and anise.
Film: My favorite maker of early horror, Val Lewton, produced the movie The Leopard Man (1943). The film is a about a small town in New Mexico terrorized by a beast that may or may not be an escaped leopard. It’s better than I make it sound, I promise.
Fun Facts: Hatch, New Mexico is known as the “Green Chile capital of the world”.
Food: I don’t know much about Missouri but after this I know they make some yummy snacks. My meal, if you will, consisted of toasted ravioli and ooey gooey butter cake. This definitely felt like the kind of thing you eat when you’re getting over a break-up and just want to binge watch Netflix.
Film: For the film portion, I choose You’re Next (2011). The film is, in my opinion one of the best horror movies made in modern times.
Fun Facts: Missouri gets the most money from soybeans out of all their crops.
Food: Oklahoma was pretty tricky to do. I did as much web-searching as possible and came up with only two things. The first was fried okra but I am terrible at frying things so I skipped this. Then I saw a recipe for chicken corn pudding. This turned out to be one hearty casserole-like dish that any tornado-chaser would love to chow down on.
Film: For Oklahoma I watched the classic film, Twister (1996) because if you ever have a chance to watch Twister, you take it.
Fun Facts: The National Cowboy Hall of Fame is located in Oklahoma City.
Thanks for joining me on this journey and hopefully sometime in the near, or far, future I will be coming out with Part 2 of 50 States of Food and Film!