This isn't a question of what common dishes in the US were actually invented or tailored to American tastes, but how those dishes vary in the US.
For example, every non-vegetarian former resident of Springfield, MO I've ever talked to swears that Springfield-style Cashew Chicken is far and away superior to Cashew Chicken anywhere else. Also, in the Midwest (or at least my part), Crab Ragoon's been a popular appetizer since at least the early eighties, but I remember trying to order it in Florida in 1999. I got pretty much same WTF looks you'd get trying to order it in China.
Anyway, I'm trying to come up with regional dishes a character who's traveled extensively through the US might have encountered. So far all I've got is a short bullet list off of Wikipedia. Also, does anyone know of any notable differences between DC and LA. I've tried googling menus, but it doesn't really indicate if the dishes are prepared differently.
Also, I understand that you can get crab Ragoon in Tampa, FL. How recent is that, or was I just in the wrong part of the state?
Setting: Toronto, 1980 (the year, not the decade). Search strings: Little Details: clothing Google: "1980 clothing for teenagers", "1980 clothing", "1980 fashion for teenagers", "1980 clothing for teenagers" AND skirts, "1980 skirts", --- searched websites and google images
So I'm trying to look for some kind of information concerning skirts that were in use in the year 1980. So if some trends from earlier still were being used, that works. I was hoping to work with a mini skirt, but by the sounds of it, mini skirts didn't really become popular until the later half of the decade. Were denim skirts popular at this time? Were any fashions from 1979 still in use? And, of course, I'm trying to make it a choice that a teenager would pick out. Mind you, what would a girl wear with a skirt during the winter? Were stockings popular or socks? I'm fairly sure leg warmers are out of the question, at least for another few years.
Any help is appreciated, thank you!
Edit Wow, I'm amazed by the feedback. Thank you for everyone who's helped, I now know what I need to work with as far as choosing a skirt is concerned. And for the socks/tights debate. LOL Thank you very much!
Place: United States, mostly in the West - exact location is flexible
Time: This would be post the Fugitive Slave Act, pre-Civil War. 1855, maybe?
Part Two: I want one my characters to be a white man who has fathered a child with a slave that he doesn't own. He's too poor to buy the slave or the baby (and the owner doesn't want to sell), so he helps the slave escape with the baby. He makes it to one of the free western states/territories, although the adult slave is either killed or recaptured on the way. I want the original owner to send slave hunters after the baby, creating the adventure of the story.
I've researched the basic history of slavery, fugitive slaves, etc., but I'm wondering - it seems like the popular direction for slaves to run was North, rather than West. I haven't really found a reason for this - can anyone help with that? Also, are there any flaws with my general idea, would you say?
Part Two: Now that the mother is gone, the father needs to find a way to feed the baby. I want this to be a serious challenge for him, so:
- at what age would it no longer be a big deal for a baby to be weaned? I know that six months is a rough milepost for starting kids on solids, but if it was necessary, could a kid be started on solids earlier than that? How much earlier?
- assuming that it WAS too early for solids, what would the baby do if you tried to feed solid foods (I'm thinking corn meal or bread soaked in loads of water until it's a thin paste, maybe?)? Just spit it out, or swallow it and get sick, or...? What about if no bread/cereals were available? At what age would a baby be able to handle chewed-up and spat out jerky? How about fresh (cooked) game? If the baby is too young for solids, is it completely ridiculous to try feeding it the blood of a freshly-killed animal? I mean, gross, I know, but ...liquid. Maybe they could boil the blood, first?
Obviously the dad will seek out a wet nurse/milk animal as soon as possible, but the plan is for the baby and father to be completely isolated in a mountain cabin (snowed in) for about a week.
Terms searched: breast milk substitutes, historic baby food, pap, etc.