From sea to shining sea, regional dishes help enhance the American experience. Chances are that wherever you hail from, you have a soft spot for the foods of your youth, and these signature dishes hold the hearts and appetites of many Americans. From a side of grits with Sunday breakfast to a steaming bowl of gumbo on a warm and humid Louisiana night, foods often define the occasion, the season and the spirit of a region.
On the next pages, we'll explore 10 regional dishes that resonate in our national consciousness. If you haven't had a chance to travel the United States recently, trying a few in your own kitchen is a great way to renew your explorations, revisit an old favorite or learn more about the ways geography has helped shape our native tastes.