Appetite: Moving on to southern food, what is northern food?


Tater tot hot dish? State Fair Cheese Cards? Snickers salad? These are staples of Minnesota, but it’s hard to define exactly what “northern food” is. Hood Her writer Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl seeks to answer this question, and elaborates in her new article for her St. Paul Magazine in Minneapolis. She spoke with Tom Crann, host of All Things Considered, about it.

Grits and biscuits and peach pie are central to Southern cuisine. Moskowitz Grumdahl says this is because Southerners “share a cultural understanding of what their food is.”

“They’re so good at drawing little circles around that this is what Southern food is like. When you think of American food, you immediately start classifying it as Southern food, and then there’s everything else.”

It took Moskowitz Grumdahl a long time, more than 20 years, to put into words what northern food is. From Beth Dooley to Sean Sherman, Northern chefs have changed the culinary world. She has reached a final decision: the food that comes out of winter.

Apples, maple syrup, cheese, and walleye came to mind.

“Apples need very strong freezing. You can’t grow maple syrup in the Caribbean. You need frozen nights and warm days and cold. If you use that as a lens, things make sense.” ‘ she said.

Definition can still be tricky, but Moskowitz Grumdahl says no problem. Rhubarb pie is the middle northern food we can all agree on.

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