Savoring the States

Reader Contribution by Jill Clingan
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I recently read a book called Life from Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness. The author, Sasha Martin, decided to take a different country every week and cook a meal that represented that country. It took her 4 1/2 years to accomplish this culinary feat of cooking something from every country in the world. I am not feeling that ambitious, but her project did inspire me to cook up a project idea of my own: to take a different state every week and cook a meal that represents that state.

I am not a big traveler by any means. These days, with 40 chickens, two ducks, three dogs, two cats, and a ferret that have to be looked after whenever we travel, we find that it’s honestly really hard to get away. But perhaps I can bring into my kitchen the aroma and flavor of states I can’t get away to visit.

This is where I need your help. I would love to start a conversation about food. I would love your recipes and your stories of the places that you have lived or visited, places where you have roots, places where you have fallen in love, places where you have adventured-and the foods that capture the flavor of those places.

Would you please join me on this adventure? I will be blogging as I “savor the states,” and I would love to have you travel with me. I would love for you to send me some of your favorite recipes that embody the state they represent, but I would also love the stories behind them: Is your Jello salad recipe one that your grandma brought to every single church pot-luck? If you close your eyes can you conjure up the heat in your mom’s kitchen while she fried chicken? Did you make a Coca Cola Cake to impress the cute guy who eventually became your husband?

I don’t know a lot about the foods from each of the states. But I do know this: I love to eat, I bet you do, too, and there are stories simmered in sauces, crimped in pie crusts, and layered in buttery biscuits.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee, dig through those stained recipe cards, and share with me your recipes and memories at If you have a story or a recipe that you would rather tell me about than write, just ask me for my phone number and we can chat. I am going to cook the states alphabetically, and my plan right now is to start this project the first week in July. Obviously my most urgent need at the moment is for recipes from those “A” states, but I will be collecting recipes and anecdotes for later states, too, so if you have a recipe you want to tell me about from your growing up years in Pennsylvania, don’t feel like you have to wait six months to share.

If anyone wants to join me on this adventure of Savoring the States, I would love to have you along! We are excited about doing this project as a family, and maybe your family would like to join us, too? Whether you decide to participate in this project, send me your recipes, or you are just along for the ride, I want to welcome you on this journey as we “savor the states”!

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