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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / U.S. Regional Cooking / Does Northwest Cuisine Exist?
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    Does Northwest Cuisine Exist?

    Go to page 1, 2  Next Page >>
    Cook In Southwest
    Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:52 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I've been hearing lately that there is no such thing as Northwest cuisine.

    I'm a native Oregonian, currently displaced in New Mexico. I beg to differ with this opinion. I think the locally produced food drives the character of Northwest cuisine, as well as the cultures of the people who have migrated there.

    Here are the stand-out foods of the Northwest, in my opinion:

    fruits: apples, pears, peaches, cherries
    berries: strawberries, blueberries, marionberries, loganberries, raspberries, huckleberries
    pastries - fabulous - from folks of Scandanavia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland
    dairy products - Tillamook cheese, of course
    beer and wine - hops and grapes all over the place
    vegetables - the Northwest is zucchini heaven and fresh produce is abundant, especially mushrooms
    coffee - Starbucks rocks
    seafood - salmon is my fav
    nuts - filberts (hazelnuts) and walnuts
    influences - Asian, Native American, Northern European

    So, with that short list, I'm sure one could identify a structure that a cuisine is founded upon.

    On another forum, someone said they associated Northwest with flapjacks. Frankly, I don't think so. But I can see why, what with all the timber harvesting done there over the years. Flapjacks are associated with lumberjacks, right?

    Anyway, have you got anything to say about the Northwest cuisine?
    Secret Agent
    Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:22 am
    Food.com Groupie
    In the Northwest we like our coffee scorched and our berries black and although not indigenous to our Pacific Northwest, the humble blackberry is prolific. We bake it into pies, make jams and jellies, smear it on our crepes and we sauce our food with it and then hire goat herds to devour the pesky invasive weed. Every year you can find us at the side of the road picking buckets of them and canning them for the winter pie. Personally, if the seeds are strained out of them I will eat them but the goats eat the seeds and the foliage too. Yep, blackberries are absolutely transplanted Northwest cuisine.

    Yes we have our salmon moments (we smoked coho for two days this week nonstop) but oyster season is fast upon us and we invade the Hood Canal with our oyster knives and have huge community oyster fries Cajun style. Then the candlefish start running and we get our nets out to dip our limit and when the Triploids flood the spillways, DH and doggie are there to get their limit for the smoker too.

    And don't forget Suicide Slushies (Slurpies, Icee, etc.) for which every kid has his/her own secret recipe. Mine is coke, cherry and lemon. In that order and it's been like that since 1967. Almond Roca, Aplets and Cotlets, and scones with raspberry jam.

    Market tea from Pikes Place might qualify and definitely Starbucks. And American spaghetti which is a simple pasta and meat sauce dish. Micro breweries are a fun place to go and The Water Distillery with pure steam distilled water is what you want to drink. And the phenomonem of dipping fries in your tartar sauce. A serindipitous wonderous surprise discovered at Ivars where they actually use COD and not mystery fish. Fried Cod for Fish and Chips With Tartar Sauce.

    Wagyu and black angus beef is very popular but you can not get a meatloaf mix in the store (beef, veal, pork) and I have not had a decent bagel in 12 years unless I went back east to visit the fam or made them myself. And I can only rarely find dairy with a shelf life of less then 3 months because everything is ultra pasturized - try to make cannoli with that! or mozzarella! or ricotta! or even a decent chantilly! AARRGGGHHH!!! FRANKENFOOD!!!! I have been known to bring an extra suitcase just for bagels and cannoli and My Brother Dave's Stuffed Pickled Peppers!

    My first fair after moving from the east and what do I see? A giant sign flashing a beautiful offer - PHILLY CHEESE STEAKS. Imagine the weeping and gnashing of teeth when I discovered I got someone elses sandwich..., 'Excuse me sir, I have the wrong sandwich' Oh, what did you order?, "Philly Cheese Steak", he opens it says yeah that's a Philly. "I said no, that is a roast beef sandwich with swiss cheese, lettuce tomato and mayo", and the guy says, yeah, that's a Philly! But to make up for it Jersey Mikes opened up in town. I almost cried for happy.

    The sourdough breads are fantabulous. Best ever. I could make a meal off of the breads but give me a Knieps roll PUH LEEZ!! I am homesick for them. Send me some Nova belly lox and a nice water bagel. and a YooHoo! and Stella D'oro cookies.

    I am world famous for a particular refrigerator cake and I have to get my sisters to take turns mailing me the ingredients from Philadelphia. And TastyKakes too. Especially peanutbutter tandy cakes. mmmmm.

    But having lived in many places around the country and the world it has always been a trade off for old favorites and a delight finding new ones. Someday we will find our food memories all together and will be happily messing up our kitchens and stuffing our faces.

    What a wonderful diversity we have.

    Please think of all the people suffering from the recent earthquakes who may not have any food to bellyache about and pray that they have the strength to endure their situations. Haiti, Chile, Argentina, Okinawa, TaiWan and even Oklahoma. It's been an unprecedented few weeks.

    Thanks for letting me vent,
    SA icon_redface.gif
    Cook In Southwest
    Fri Mar 05, 2010 12:09 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Are candlefish "smelt?" I've never heard of them called candlefish. However, I'm well familiar with the fishing technique of dipping nets in to catch them as they run. I remember growing up, we always had tons of them when they became available. After feasting on those rich little guys for a few meals, I had my fill for the entire year. There is just something about them that is a lot like sugar. When you start eating, it's wonderful, but when you've had too much, you just feel a little sick.

    Ahhh, blackberries. There is nothing quite so wonderful as an extra ripe, huge, warm blackberry in the mouth as you are picking, tearing the spiny branches away from hair and clothing, sucking on the bloody hands between bites. I always preferred straining out the seeds for jam (freezer jam is the best!) But, while picking, you've just got to eat some. Finding a good blackberry patch that isn't right next to the highway was always something I looked for and staked it out well in advance, watching the season in order to be one of the first to harvest that special spot.

    Picking huckleberries was another of my annual "hunter-gatherer" activities. The key there is to take lots of friends and family to help pick. They are so small, it takes forever to get even 1 gallon. If you have help, then you can get quite a haul. There is nothing like huckleberry pancakes, coffecake, muffins, jam, jelly, and syrup (for the pancakes.) I never much liked pie with them, however. They were always so precious, pie would use just too many of them at once.

    I'd always get a bunch of elderberries on the huckleberry picking trips. With that, I'd make wonderful jelly. I never tried making wine with them, but I hear it's great. The elderberries were so much easier to pick - you just find a tree and tear off a few of the clusters and you're done.

    I know what you mean about certain foods being transplanted and losing some serious authenticity in the process. I think there was some of that going on with Mexican food. Some of the Chinese food was like that, but at least you COULD get authentic if you tried.

    I miss the daffodils. . . icon_cry.gif
    Secret Agent
    Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:42 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Yes, candlefish and smelt are the same. They are called candlefish because when they are dry you can burn them like a candle.

    The daffs are coming up, the hyacinth are almost done and the iris are sticking up. We never lost the pansies and they bloomed all winter.

    SA icon_cool.gif
    Cook In Southwest
    Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:35 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Now how is it that I lived my whole life in Oregon, at least up until 1995, and I never knew about the candlefish thing. It just goes to show ya, there's always something new to learn.

    I can't count how many of the things I've cleaned AND eaten.
    Rita~
    Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:28 pm
    Forum Host
    Cook In Southwest wrote:
    I've been hearing lately that there is no such thing as Northwest cuisine.

    I'm a native Oregonian, currently displaced in New Mexico. I beg to differ with this opinion. I think the locally produced food drives the character of Northwest cuisine, as well as the cultures of the people who have migrated there.

    Here are the stand-out foods of the Northwest, in my opinion:

    fruits: apples, pears, peaches, cherries
    berries: strawberries, blueberries, marionberries, loganberries, raspberries, huckleberries
    pastries - fabulous - from folks of Scandanavia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland
    dairy products - Tillamook cheese, of course
    beer and wine - hops and grapes all over the place
    vegetables - the Northwest is zucchini heaven and fresh produce is abundant, especially mushrooms
    coffee - Starbucks rocks
    seafood - salmon is my fav
    nuts - filberts (hazelnuts) and walnuts
    influences - Asian, Native American, Northern European

    So, with that short list, I'm sure one could identify a structure that a cuisine is founded upon.

    On another forum, someone said they associated Northwest with flapjacks. Frankly, I don't think so. But I can see why, what with all the timber harvesting done there over the years. Flapjacks are associated with lumberjacks, right?

    Anyway, have you got anything to say about the Northwest cuisine?


    Oh yes it does! It`s one of the reasons I want to visit there. The seafood salmon my favorite.
    Wine!!!!
    Morels, chanterelles, matsutakes, boletus and hedgehog mushrooms
    Game

    Take a look here
    1,338 recipes of Pacific Northwest
    Rita~
    Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:34 pm
    Forum Host
    Wild rice no?
    Rita~
    Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:36 pm
    Forum Host
    Rita~
    Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:43 pm
    Forum Host
    Flowers are often high in vitamins and look beautiful as a garnish for a salad, dinner or dessert. Wild violets are high in vitamin C and make pretty cake decorations. The Early Blue Violet, Alaska Violet, Marsh Violet, Canada Violet, Stream Violet, Trailing Yellow Violet and Prairie Violet are all located within the Pacific Northwest. Fireweed, wild geraniums, spring beauties and roses are also edible.

    Greens
    Wild Geranium LeavesThe leaves of wild edibles can make a rich tossed salad with a few edible berries and blossoms. If you are near the coast, beach greens, bladderwrack, goosetongue, lovage and oysterleaf are all edible and make good bases or additions to "wild" salads. Clover, dandelion leaves and fiddlehead ferns are easy to find in all parts of the region. Sauté, stir-fry or toss them into your salad or casserole. The leaves of the above-mentioned flowers are also edible.
    from http://www.trails.com/list_2680_edible-wild-plants-pacific-northwest.html
    Rainbow - Chef 536866
    Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:04 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    hehehe I just found this thread! I'm the one who said that I thought of flapjacks when thinking of the Northwest.

    Well, hmm sooo. I can get into this discussion some more,, now that I've found it.

    I saw the statement as I was googling the topic of cuisine of the Northwest that some expert said that there is not a unique cuisine in the Northwest, and that it is all gotten from other regions and is fusion at best.

    Another thing I think of is apples.. Washington state apples.

    Personally, I'm not an expert like the one who made the statement,, and that statement is not the only opinion that exists. I can understand that all of the foods originated somewhere else, but,, as I was reading about the little fishies that you got with the net and ate too much of,, well,, that is a practice that has become tradtion there. Part of cuisine is beyond just having a food that everyone else in the world has, and is what unique things do the people of this region do with it. For example,, apples - many many places have apples and apple recipes,, but Washington has become famous for its excellent apples as well as having lots of them. Like I used to have two apple trees in my back yard,, so,, big deal,, but,, I didn't pay so much attention to the variety of apples and creative ways to prepare them.
    Salmon is another Northwest thing,, even though we have Atlantic salmon,, it's the American Indian culture that has made salmon so special in the Northwest.
    Cluich
    Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:31 am
    Food.com Groupie
    You can always make burgers out of these guys.

    Rainbow - Chef 536866
    Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:44 am
    Food.com Groupie
    Oh, no, you don't!
    Rita~
    Fri Aug 06, 2010 10:25 am
    Forum Host
    Cluich
    Fri Aug 06, 2010 10:44 am
    Food.com Groupie
    Wow. I was just kidding. I don't think that guy is, though. Yikes. icon_eek.gif
    Rainbow - Chef 536866
    Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:23 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    People eat whatever is edible around them when they get hungry enough, and the first White settlers got hungry enough. But today I think beaver is an endangered species, right? I wonder why (sarcastically)
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