I suspect that few people have ever stopped to think of the role food has played in the naming of counties, cities and towns throughout the United States. I was doing some map work recently and it occurred to me that I could assemble an itinerary based on the names of real locations throughout the country. Come on along!
If we want a lot to eat, we could start out in Harvest, Alabama; Cornucopia, Oregon; Feasterville, Pennsylvania; or Banquette, Texas.
If we wanted a fruit appetizer, we could likely find some in Fruitland, Idaho; Fruitport, Michigan; or Fruitville, Florida. More specifically, I bet we could get dates in Dateland, Arizona; pears in Pear Ridge, Arkansas; oranges in Orange, California (and also New Jersey); peaches in Peach County, Georgia; cherries in Cherry Hill, New Jersey; cranberries in Cranberry, North Carolina; apples in Applegate, Oregon (and also Appleton, Wisconsin); strawberries in Strawberry, Arkansas; lemons in Lemon Grove, California; and grapes in Grapevine, Texas.
Turning to meat and poultry, we would find bacon in Bacon County, Georgia; lamb in Lamb County, Texas; Hamburg in several locations such as New York, Iowa, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Arkansas and Pennsylvania. They probably have squab in Pigeon, Michigan and turkey in both Turkey, Texas and Turkey Creek, Louisiana. The hot dogs are terrific in Weiner, Arkansas; Franktown, Colorado; and Frankfort, Kentucky. We can guess what kind of steak we would get in Salisbury, Maryland and sister cities in Massachusetts and Missouri.
If we were in the mood for game, we would likely find buffalo in Buffalo, Wyoming (and New York and West Virginia as well); elk in Elk Point, South Dakota (and Elk County, Pennsylvania), and venison in White Deer, Pennsylvania. I’m not sure what we would get in Hungry Horse, Montana.
If seafood fits our taste, we could try Pike County, Mississippi; Haddock, Georgia; have both Pollock and Bonita in Louisiana; trout in Trough Run, Pennsylvania; whitefish in Whitefish, Montana; salmon in White Salmon, Washington; and crab in Crab Orchard, Tennessee (and also in West Virginia).
Eating lightly, we could just get a sandwich in Sandwich, Illinois or in Sandwich, Massachusetts.
Let’s not overlook our vegetables. We could probably get good beans in Lima, Ohio; and also Lima, New York; tomatoes in Tomato, Arkansas; olives from Olive, California; corn from Maize, Kansas and Cornstalk, West Virginia; and rice from Riceville Iowa; Riceville, Tennessee; Rice County, Minnesota; and rice lake, Wisconsin. We better order the politically correct salad in Cobb County, Georgia.
As for other dishes we could probably get a variety eggs in Egg Harbor, New Jersey, but we would likely get them only one way in Benedict, Nebraska. We’d get hominy in Hominy, Oklahoma and Hominy Falls, West Virginia. The honey is good in Honeyville, Utah and they have great ribs in Rib Lake, Wisconsin. They may have only one kind of potato in Fries, Virginia and one kind of pickle in Dill City, Oklahoma.
There’s good chili in Chili, New York and good turtle soup in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania.
For beverages, we could have mineral water from Mineral County, Nevada; clear water from Eau Claire, Wisconsin; and cold water from Coldwater, Michigan. We could get coffee in Coffeeville, Alabama; cocoa in Cocoa Beach, Florida; or a Coke in Coke County, Texas. We could get a Manhattan in New York (and also in Kansas). For wine, there is Galliano in Louisiana; Mondavi in Wisconsin; and brandy in Brandy Station, Virginia.
Now for the sweets – we could get caramel in Carmel, California; candy in Hershey, Pennsylvania or Hershey, Nebraska, or still more candy in Mounds, Illinois and Mars Hill, Indiana.
As for tableware there is a Fork in South Carolina, and china in Texas. After a trip like that we would probably wind up in Chunky, Mississippi, or Soutsville, Missouri.
Bill Fisher holds the Darden Chair in the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida.