For as long as I can remember every day of my life has been plagued with feelings of emptiness, inadequacy, and loathing for myself and everything around me. That’s probably why I became a foodie. It’s the only hobby where everything literally turns to crap at the end, instead of just figuratively, like everything I touch seems to do.
Through bitterness, a general dissatisfaction with life, and an ability to write at a fourth-grade reading level, I became a food critic. I decided to make it my goal to visit all 50 United States and sample the food they are best known for, because what the hell else is there to do? It’s all bullshit anyway.
Here it is, the culmination of my dumb life’s dumb work. Here is every state’s signature food ranked by how effectively they were able to fill the void in me where I guess human connection was supposed to go:
50. Virginia: Peanuts
Literally fucking peanuts. How am I supposed to eat my feelings with goddamn peanuts?! My problems are way bigger than peanuts Virginia! I appreciate the effort you put into boiling them for some reason but pass.
PRO TIP: Never go to Virginia
49. Washington: Rainier Cherries
What do you get when you cross-breed Bing cherries with Van cherries? Yeah, still just some dumb cherries. I didn’t come all the way up to the mountains for my health, so why are you serving me this?
48. Oregon: Marionberries
When I heard what was on the menu in Oregon I couldn’t wait to get there. I couldn’t believe I was about to devour the flesh of disgraced crack-smoking former mayor Marion Barry. I had so many questions, like how did the state’s most celebrated food become human flesh? And Why the former District of Columbia mayor specifically? How did they manage to keep supplying flesh from just one person long enough for it to become a staple? But mostly, I was just super pumped to finally cross that line and commit the ultimate taboo. Well, turns out it’s some dumb fruit.
47. California: Avocado Toast
The food that stopped an entire generation from being able to afford a home! Definitely not the economic turmoil inevitable in late-stage capitalism, nope, it was avocado toast and woke lattes. The best avocados in the country can in fact be found in California, and while they are deceptively fatty, it’s the good kind of fat. I don’t deserve the good kind of fat.
46. Iowa: Sweet Corn
Let me get this straight. I have a hole in me. An empty, corrosive void that leaves me feeling broken and incomplete all of the time, and I’m supposed to fill that void with corn? Corn. Look, it’s a perfectly fine side, but I’ve got demons to suppress and a cob can only hold so much butter Iowa.
45. Alaska: Salmon
We all love salmon, and salmon fresh from Alaska is the best Salmon you can get. Good enough to justify a $700 10-hour flight to Alaska? Well, no, but try to remember life is meaningless.
44. South Carolina: Lowcountry Boil
More damned corn! Apparently, South Carolina’s flagship delicacy is this weird corn and shrimp “stew” that doesn’t even have any broth! How the hell did you people get so dumb and weird eating food this healthy?! I’ll never eat my feelings at this rate.
43. New Hampshire: Apple Cider Donuts
Yes, it’s a donut, and all donuts are an excellent source of grease, carbohydrates, and fleeting comfort, but this particular variety is overrated. They’re usually cakey and the cinnamon and sugar dusting does all the heavy lifting. Honestly, after the 10th one I barely wanted to finish the dozen.
42. Massachusetts: Clam Chowder
New England clam chowder is delicious, and the chowder they serve in Massachusetts is indeed a cut above the rest, but is it really worth the price of admission? I.E., being in Massachussets? Few things are.
PRO TIP: Being rude to your waiter will ensure that they will spit in your soup, adding a psycho-sexual layer of humiliation to your bowl of hot heavy cream.
41. Utah: Fry Sauce
These are french fries served with a secret recipe sauce that tastes like Thousand Island dressing and is, of course, Thousand Island dressing. It’s a greasy good way to drown your sorrows, but like, did I really need to come all the way to Utah for this?
40. Illinois: Deep-Dish Pizza
You know how Superman has Bizzaro? Well, pizza has this. Nothing this bad for you should taste this terrible, but I will say that after forcing just two slices down my gullet I’m too logey to dwell on the fact that my own son hates me.
39. Minnesota: Juicy Lucy
The “Juicy Lucy” is a cheeseburger with a twist: The cheese is in the middle! It’s delicious, and a fitting reminder that what’s terrible, toxic, and corrosive about me is on the inside.
38. Alabama: Pecan Pie
As a broken person who has burned more bridges than he could ever hope to build, I love me some pie. Pecan pie is an open pie made with brown sugar, pecans, brown sugar, butter, and of course brown sugar. I would never say no to a slice of pecan pie, and it’s only ranked lower than other pies on this list because of the potential health benefits of nuts. I do not deserve antioxidants, and I do not deserve love.
37. Michigan: Coney Dog
You know what goes great on meat? More meat. If you disagree, congratulations, your serotonin levels are just fine, but me? I’m getting a Coney dog.
36. Arkansas: Chocolate Gravy
Traditionally this dessert gravy is served on biscuits, but as a man who refused to take over a 250-year-old family business and sabotaged 4 marriages, I’ve never been one for tradition. When I’m in Arkansas I pour this stuff over everything. Pancakes, turkey, my own head, it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters.
35. Mississippi: Biscuits
If you think biscuits are a dumbass state food you’re thinking about that Pillsbury trash. Real home-cooked biscuits are warm, fluffy, near-perfect substitutions for love, with ungodly amounts of butter baked right on the top. That’s not to say I won’t be slapping more butter on these bad boys when they’re served. I’m trying to fill an emotional void, not start my day right.
34. New York: Bagels
A lot of people say New York is all about pizza, but if you look hard enough you can find decent New York-style pizza just about anywhere. Trying to find New York-style bagels outside the Northeast on the other hand will drive you to madness.
PRO TIP: When they ask you how much cream cheese you want just say “Enough to cancel plans.”
33. West Virginia: Pepperoni Roll
This food was designed to combat the bleakness of West Virginian coal miner life, so it can more than handle whatever menial problem I’m blowing out of proportion on any given day.
32. Florida: Key Lime Pie
As a man slowly coming to terms with the fact that he’s almost 50 and never going to write that novel, I love me some pie. In this graham cracker-crusted meringue-topped version curdelling is part of the process. There’s a metaphor for my shitty life in there somewhere, but I’m too full of pie to think of it.
31. Vermont: Maple Syrup
Nothing against Mrs. Buttersworth, but she just can’t hold a candle to the rich shame eating you can do with the dark, complex sugars created by naturally occurring Vermont maple syrup.
PRO TIP: Skip the pancakes! They’re basically just bread discs and you can fit way more syrup down the hatch without them.
30. Nebraska: Runza
It’s basically a slightly fancier hot pocket.