Say we divide this beautiful ol' U.S.A. into four distinct regional quadrants: (Not to be too d'oh, but North, East, West, and South were what I had in mind.) Do you have a meal from each region that you would consider the platonic ideal? For me:
South: Prawns Remoulade, Fried Chicken w./ cream gravy; pot of mixed greens with bacon and onion, slow-cooked and served with hot pickled vinegar, fresh scalloped tomatoes with buttered croutons, and biscuits with honey butter.
West: Grilled oysters; Cedar-planked salmon with blackberry gastrique; roasted room-temp. baby potatoes with garlic aioli; asparagus and artichokes, grilled and then braised in olive oil with black olives, lemon and mint; huge spinach salad with heirloom tomato and basil pureed dressing.
East: Either a completely traditional gutbusting clambake or a great creamy chowder topped off with a perfect butter-soaked lobster roll; fudge pie for dessert.
North: Ok, well in the geography of my own mind, there is no place farther North than Minnesota, and my best representational meal from there would be sunfish and crappies caught on Grampa's pontoon; we'd bring cleaned bucketsful home and grandma would roll them in cornmeal and spices and saute them. (In gramma's home nothing was ever fried, ever. even when it was, it wasn't.) Summer meal; served with homegrown chunks of tomatoes, cucumber and onion, and served with thick smetana, salt and pepper; lemon for the fish of course, and gramma's cloverleaf rolls and some home-canned preserves and broccoli with mustard sauce and sieved eggs.
What's yours, ducks?