Essential Regional Breakfasts of the U.S.



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New England: Johnnycakes

Johnnycakes are New England delights that are similar to the traditional pancake. The difference is that they're made with cornmeal instead of flour before being fried up to a crispy golden brown and drizzled with maple syrup.

Southerners may know them as "hoecakes," but they're truly a New England creation. After the European settlers landed at Plymouth, the Patuxet Indians taught the starving pilgrims how to grind corn and how to make these tasty treats.

Johnnycakes soon become an early-American staple. They've become particularly predominant in Rhode Island, where the locals take great pride in the regional breakfast food and even hold annual Johnnycake baking and eating competitions.

Mid-Atlantic: Scrapple

Scrapple was born from the Mid-Atlantic Amish community's doctrine of "waste not, want not." Also called "pan rabbit" by the Pennsylvania Dutch, it's made of mushed-up pork scraps and trimmings, which are mashed together with cornmeal, flour, and seasonings, then pan-fried and topped with jelly or eggs.

Pennsylvania Dutch butchers and farmwomen have been making Scrapple since the 1700s, preserving it and storing it to eat during the long, harsh winters. Many considered it a poor-man's food, but it still grew in popularity all across the region. The Stonewall Jackson Inn makes their own version featuring pork loin, chicken broth, and spices.

New Orleans: Beignets

You don't have to be from the Big Easy to know the delectable flavors of the Beignet. In recent years, the fried dough blanketed in a layer of powdered sugar has grown in popularity across the country.

Beignets play a particularly large role in the foodie scene of the New Orleans, however, especially the French Quarter. After all, they were brought to Louisiana by French cooks who settled here in the 18th century after they were pushed out of Canada, taking on the name "Cajuns" in their new home.

Southwest: Enchiladas Montadas

Mexican convention can be found in nearly all aspects of Southwest U.S. culture and breakfast is no exception. The enchiladas montadas, or mounted enchiladas, is a spin on the traditional enchilada. Created after New Mexicans grew tired of the same old corn tortilla, filling, and chili pepper sauce, they decided to add a new topping to the recipe: eggs.

Enchiladas montadas have only been around since the 1950s, but the savory dish quickly grew to massive popularity and spread all throughout the Southwest states.

Midwest: Hoppel Poppel

Similar to the way that the Amish used their pig scraps in Scrapple, the Germans utilized their leftover food scraps to create an amalgamation of leftover boiled potatoes and meat from the previous night's dinner mixed with eggs, cheese, herbs, and onions.

When these Europeans settled in the Great Lakes region, they brought Hoppel Poppel with them, where Midwesterners added their own flair. Rather than leftover meat, they often use preserved meat such as salami, and cheddar is used in place of the traditional cheeses that would have been on-hand in a German household. It's quick, easy, cheap, and filling, so it's no wonder Hoppel Poppel has remained a favorite among Midwesterners.

Pacific Northwest: Dutch Baby

Another German-inspired dish reaches all the way up to the Pacific Northwest, where many of these northern European immigrants arrived by way of Russia in the late 19th century. They brought with them this massive, monstrous pancake-like creation dubbed the "Apfelpfannkuchen" (or German pancake")—a souffle-like food topped with apples and often cinnamon or brown sugar.

The Dutch Baby is the Northwestern U.S. take on this European delight, and it is widely believed to have originated in the now-defunct Manca's Cafe. This twist on a traditional breakfast food is essentially a giant, custardy popover sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with berries. If that sounds like a tasty breakfast, check out this recipe or visit the The DreamGiver's Inn to get home cooked dutch baby pancakes.

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