Summer barbecues and potlucks mean signature dishes. Every family and locale has something they are known for. July is full of such occasions. Not sure what to bring? How about North Carolina’s signature dish? Meet Google doodle.
If you are new to these, Google makes these tidy little interactive graphics on all sorts of topics. This month, they curated every state’s most popular recipe (a Google foodle!), including North Carolina. I played along thinking I’d score a barbecue recipe or a blueberry cobbler, maybe even a sweet potato casserole. So I jumped on the doodle link and scrolled to NC. Know what I got? Snow cream.
Let that sink in. North Carolina’s most popular recipe: snow cream. I was bewildered. Although refreshing, snow is hard to come by in July. And it doesn’t exactly fit the guise of seasonal eating either. (You snow cone loyalists stand down. I’m talking traditional dishes.) I scrolled through the other states – SC: chicken bog (stew), CA: quinoa, MD: crab dip, KS: meatballs, UT: zucchini bread, WI: meatloaf. Surprising but reasonable. Snow cream?
Some investigation into the methodology unraveled the problem. While billed as ‘Every State’s Most Popular Recipe’, the doodle results were aggregated from the most recipes searched in the last 12 months. There are 2 glaring issues with this:
- People don’t search for recipes they know how to make. They are searching for things they want but have no clue how to prepare.
- NC had above average snowfall last winter. 9″ in the Triangle area. (I know northerners, whoopee!). But what do you do with an unexpected mountain of snow and kids at home for a week? Google snow cream.
So I’ll let it go. All this doodling begs the question of NC’s favorite recipe. This isn’t the tomato/vinegar sauce debate that gave rise to t-shirts and license plates, but a signature dish. When someone comes to NC, what do they have to eat? I think it should feature a NC product. According to the NCDA, here are the top agricultural food products last year:
- Broilers (chicken) – #4 in US
- Hogs – #2 in US
- Turkeys – #2 in US
- Corn (mostly animal feed)
- Sweet potatoes
Clearly protein rules. It brings double the value of field crops. But if we rule those out, what about human food field crops?
- Sweet potatoes – #1 in US
- Peanuts #6 in US
- Blueberries – #7 in US
- Tomatoes – #6 in US
- Cucumbers – #3 in US
- Apples – #8 in US
- Strawberries – #3 in US
Now we have something to work with! I’m partial to desserts, so I’ll lobby for sweet potato pie or blueberry cobbler. But there’s room to negotiate. Obviously Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without NC. You can play on the Google doodle here. Then I ask, what is NC’s favorite recipe? What’s yours?