New York: Garbage plate
Contrary to popular belief, New York doesn't begin in Coney Island and end somewhere around 125th St. And you'll be happy to know they are into some weird shit up there -- the adorably named garbage plate is proof enough. Remember when you were 5 and you took everything in your parents' fridge, put it in a bowl, and microwaved it? Well, they've been selling a grown-up facsimile of that pile o' crap in Rochester, Buffalo, Saratoga, and all of upstate New York even before the Bills were around to start losing football games. Legend has it a college student showed up at Nick Tahou Hots and asked for a plate with "all the garbage" on it. He got the entire kitchen: hamburgers, cheeseburgers, grilled cheese, eggs, home fries, baked beans, haddock, macaroni salad, Italian sausage, chicken tenders, and… look, I can't keep naming the ingredients or I will kill your data plan. It was everything. The point is, the garbage plate is a white-hot tornado of trashy, obnoxious brilliance. Just like the best Bills fans, actually.
North Carolina: Livermush
It never had a chance. It's called… livermush. Could anything called livermush ever be appetizing? Both "liver" and "mush" are so gross on their own, not even a space wants to be stuck between them. And shockingly, livermush is not grosser than the sum of its parts. Pig liver, head parts, and cornmeal make up these little bars that look like burnt Pop-Tarts. It might be a Southern staple, but from the outside looking in, it's the world’s most nauseating door stop. It looks like a cinder block. How are you going to adore a food that could double as the foundation of the YMCA?
North Dakota: Lutefisk
This gelatinous end product of whitefish -- it's dried, soaked in lye for days, and then boiled -- came to the Midwest courtesy of the same immigrant population that ensured the state's dependence on high-SPF sunscreen, and over the years it's been waning in popularity. Which is a shame because… actually, no. That's not a shame at all. Shit's gross. Sorry, Bjorn. We love the meatballs though.
Ohio: Cincinnati chili five-way
There's nothing inherently gross about Cincinnati chili, per se, if applied right. But here's a real question: Would you put spaghetti sauce on a hot dog? Probably not. So why would you put chili on spaghetti, then cover it in cheese, beans, and onions? Also, a chili five-way is disappointing to hardcore TLC fans every single time.
Oklahoma: Fried rattlesnake
While you can technically experience this treat anywhere rattlers are found, killed, sliced up, and fried, not everywhere has entire festivals dedicated to these noisy, toothy characters. While some have -- shockingly -- likened the taste to chicken, the New York Times likened it to "sinewy, half-starved tilapia." Paper of record, indeed! If you should find yourself hungry in Oklahoma, may we recommend an onion burger instead?
Oregon: Crimes against ice cream
Oregon's ground zero for the ultra-fancy, ultra-weird ice cream craze, as evidenced by the constant lines for boutique parlors like the delicious Salt & Straw. Sometimes these flavors are weirdly great (big ups to blue cheese and fig!). Other times, well… blood pudding ice cream is a thing. Nope. Especially when smaller, less-capable confectioners start mimicking the pros. Which is to say, if you're ever in a small town of less than 300 people and somebody offers you corn ice cream in a Parmesan cone… maybe get the mint chip.