We knew when we nominated 10 great American foods that it would inspire debate.
Even though we said it wouldn't be a comprehensive list (how could it be?) many readers felt we had slighted their favorites. Now, we can think of plenty of cities that could easily offer up 10 praiseworthy foods all by themselves. And though we said we didn't want to have to choose just one style of barbecue, some of you still felt slighted.
With 50 states and only 10 spots, you know not everyone will get their turn. So let's just say we'd be happy to honor another 10 foods next year.
Here's some of your nominations for the favorite local dishes on your table. Many were on our (very long) original list, others were terrific ideas we hadn't even considered:
Feeling chili"Skyline Chili which is a regional dish in Ohio, especially in Cincinnati. It was originally made by Greek immigrant cooks. It's a meaty concoction made without the typical beans and flavored with a touch of cinammon. It can be served plain in a bowl, or over hot dogs, or on top of spaghetti. One of the best examples of this great taste treat is served up at Rudy's Hot Dog in Toledo, Ohio. I grew in Toledo and I always stop at Rudy's whenever I'm home for a visit. -Kathy, Newport Beach, Calif.
Dog-gone"Detroit Coney Islands! Chicago hotdogs are nothing more than a sausage with a salad on top. All beef dog piled with chili, cheese and raw onion (sneak a shot of mustard we won't care) ... now that's eatin'!" -Phillip, Novi, Mich.
"Bacon wrapped hot-dogs topped with onions, ketchup, mustard and mayo sold by street vendors in L.A." -Jon, Diamond Bar, Calif.
"A hot dog at Nathan's in Coney Island. There is nothing like it for taste and stisfaction." -Richard, Kennewick, Wash.
"You have to consider Johnsonville Brats from Wisconsin. You cannot make it through summer without cooking Brats and having a Beer. Brats and Beer are as American as Apple Pie." -Gordie, Grafton, Wis.
"Half-smokes -- smoked sausages on a bun -- sold all over the streets from food carts in Washington, DC. I've eaten them since I was a kid and no one's ever heard of them outside of this area." -Harriet, Springfield, Va.
In the soup
"While po-boys are definitely a favorite, please do not forget gumbo — seafood gumbo preferably. We feed this to our children in their baby bottles. Then of course there is crawfish etouffee, also fed to the young in their bottles. All as American as a Cajun can get." -Patricia, Lafayette, La.
Little wing"The Buffalo Chicken Wing — much imitated and never duplicated. It's a unique culinary invention of Buffalo and has become famous across the country. I can't believe it didn't make this list!" -Meghan, Buffalo, N.Y.
"I'm not from Buffalo, but I'd say Buffalo Wings. They are the ultimate finger food and now appear on menus in all types of restraunts. From mild to hot to extra hot to garlic to barbacue to ... I'm getting hungry, gotta go." -Tony, Gainesville, Va.
Sandwiches galore"The Spiedie Sub of Binghamton, NY. This incredible treat is great for the grill and hot summer months." -Tuesday, Las Cruces, N.M.
"In Niagara Falls and Buffalo area we have a sandwich called Beef [on] Weck which is thin cut roast beef piled on a kimmelweck roll with horseradish." -Chuck, Cincinnati, Ohio
"Midwestern fried pork tenderloin sandwiches. They are a great comfort food of the Midwest!!" -Jennifer, Indianapolis, Ind.
"Stuffed sandwiches from Primanti Brothers in Pittsburgh, (Bread with deli meat, cheese, tomato, french fries and cole slaw all stacked on.) A Pittsburgh tradition since 1930 and the best tasting sandwich in Pennsylvania ... And I live in the Philly area (The land of the Cheese Steak.)" -Lon, North Wales, Pa.
Cheesed off"You forgot the Philly cheesesteak! Our delicious cheesesteaks ride all over sourdough bread, or oysters for god's sake. I'm talking about the true Philly cheesesteak, with delicious sliced steak topped with tasty fried onions and some Provy. (Or Cheez Wiz.) None of the abominations like the 'chicken cheesesteak' or the dreaded "cheesesteak hoagie" will suffice. Nothing brings drunken college kids, tired moms, and soccer dads together like a delicious cheesesteak." -Hansel, Philadelphia, Pa.
"We have cheese curds here in Wisconsin and deep frying them is a little piece of heaven. All of our fairs and carnivals feature them and I would rank them right up there with sourdough and oysters." -Connie, Merrill, Wis.
Don't be crabby"Chesapeake Bay steamed crabs!! A Maryland Eastern Shore tradition! Steamed with Old Bay seasoning and served with a cold pitcher of beer. It just doesn't get better!" -Kathi, Brunswick, Md.
"Although we might claim Beaten Biscuits and Maryland Fried Chicken (sorry KFC) as a regional delicacy, Maryland Crab Cakes (made from Fresh Lump or Backfin) reign supreme as epicurean King. The Blue Channel Crab of the Chesapeake Bay is indeed a crustacean worth its weight in gold." -Gary, Baltimore, Md.
Burger heaven"Maid-Rites - loosemeat ground beef originated in Marshalltown, IA. Tasty, heart-of-America staple." -Sherma, Newton, Iowa
"The All American hamburger. Not from fast food places like McDonalds but where they really make it special like the back yard BBQ or Boll Weavel in San Diego or Island's or The Shack in L.A." -JP, Irvine. Calif.
"Indian Fry Bread w/honey or powdered sugar or beans meat and cheese." -Laura, Phoenix, Ariz.
"Sweet Corn, preferably roasted over a fire. Corn was a staple of the American diet since the time of the Indians. The Minnesota State Fair has a stand that sells roasted corn that is wonderful. As does most county fairs in Minnesota and probably Iowa as well." -Ann, Savage, Minn.
"Salmon on cedar planks baked to perfection, so that there are slightly crispy edges with melt in your mouth softness on the thicker parts of the fish. Garnish as you will, but a little lemon pepper is an excellent way — and this is thorougly American — Native American that is." -Heather, Bothell, Wash.
Pan-fried chicken ... crispy outside, moist and tender inside ... never batter dipped or cooked in a broaster ... Real fried chicken is pre-soaked in milk, lovingly patted dry and dredged in flour, spices and just a touch of paprika. Real fried chicken is then fried on top of the 'stove' in a cast-iron skillet, using a mix of real Crisco and a few liberal spoonfuls of bacon drippings." -Cheryl, Oklahoma City, Okla.
"I'm a little miffed that you failed to mention one of the great staples of American Cuisine - Southern Fried Chicken. Have you ever tasted buttermilk battered fried chicken with a pot of your favorite greens (mine being turnip with a few mustard greens for zip) served with a glass of ice tea?" -Stephen, Jackson, Miss.
"Fried green tomatoes!! They are such a wonderful southern delicacy, if you will. A bit tart and firm. Fried just right and lightly salted!!" -Suzanne, Wilsonville, Ala.
"Hush puppies. They vary from region to region, my favorites being the one's from the Copeland restaurant chain. From Carolina to Texas, they are the bread basket best. I never fail to try them when I eat below the Mason Dixon." -Patricia, Camp Hill, Pa.
In the pocket"Toasted ravoli in St. Louis, MO. I've never had one I didn't like. Meat filled or one of my personal favorite - spinach/artichoke - these are great food." -April, St. Louis, Mo.
Mein street"The Chow Mein Sandwich. A Fall River, MA classic. It is simply a couple of ladles of Chinese chow mein, invariably beef, poured onto a hamburger type bun, and then plop the top of the bun on top. It makes a tremendous lunch and I have never seen it offered anywhere else." -Joe, Cranston, R.I.
Sticky situation"Vermont Maple Syrup...on ANYTHING! There is NOTHING like the taste of REAL maple syrup!" -Pete, Springfield, Mass.
Chicago's other treat"While the Hot Dog may be what Chicago is known for, I would argue that the Beef Sandwich is the real deal there. Twice cooked with herbs, spices and a lot of black pepper; Served on a slightly stale role that have been dunked in gravy; it is more an expression of Chicago than the Hot dog or even the deep-dish pizza could ever be." -Brad, Cincinnati, Ohio
Leftover heaven"Philadelphia Scrapple There is no breakfast food like. From what I understand, it orginated in Philly - meat markets looking for something to do with the leftover scraps. They were grinded and mashed together and grilled. Breakfast just isn't complete without a piece of scrapple." -Ron, New Castle, Del.
Nothing fishy"In Southern California, fish tacos are true beach food. Fish tacos reflect the marriage of two strong cultural influences in Southern California — the surfer culture and the cultural and culinary influence of Mexico, more specifically — Baja California. A fish taco is grilled or breaded fish (like Wahoo or Mahi Mahi), some shredded cabagge, some salsa or other sauce — all wrapped in a small corn tortilla. It is an amazing combination." -G. Gin, Costa Mesa, Calif.
"The Yooper pastie. Found primarily in the upper pennisula of Michigan, it can also be traced to the upper mitten of the state as well. It might be of French descent though, I'm not quite sure. There is no argument though as to whether or not it's delicious." -Joshua, Bay City, Mich.
"Eggs Benedict from New York! Perfectly toasted English muffins, Canadian bacon, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce. My god man! How could you overlook the king of all egg dishes?" -Carol, New York, N.Y. [The history of eggs Benedict , though both competing versions take place in New York. -Ed.]
Georgia on their mind"Georgia Pecan Pie, come on pecans, molasses, what could be better? Southern fried chicken, need I say more? Brunswick stew, pork,chicken,and beef all in a gloopy thick scrumptous stew (its better on a hotdog than chili)." -Jack, Monroe, Ga.
"Hey, I live in south Georgia — what ever happened to good ole southern fried chicken, pork chops, okra, catfish and yummy peach cobbler and banana pudding. Don't know what you are missing!" -Gail, Nicholls, Ga.
Pies of their eyes"Key Lime Pie (It should NOT have green food color.) 1. It is named after an American town. 2. It is universally liked and on many menus. 3. Many people like to make their own homemwde versions and take great pride in the recipe legacy. 4. The thought of eating a Key Lime pie will always bring a smile to your face. 5. You will always ask to have a bite of someone's Key Lime Pie if you have neglected to get a slice for yourself." -Bonnie, Pembroke Pines, Fla.
"Frito Pie — one of the best tasting dishes ever. Period. Fills you up and tastes best with some tabasco sauce, which itself should be nominated for an American culinary award." -Jon, Dallas, Texas
"Blackberry Pie from the Pacific Northwest (particulary Oregon). These are by far the best berries anywhere in the world and when I think of blackberries it makes my mouth water!!" -Susan, Chillicothe, Ohio
Some comments edited for length and clarity.