An Ode To The Endangered American Regional Foods

An ode to the endangered American regional foods

Summer travelers, beware! Road food is endangered–or so say driving denizens Jane and Michael Stern. Known for their insatiable documentation of America's best greasy spoons, the Sterns have a new travelogue: 500 Things to Eat Before It's Too Late, an homage to increasingly obscure regional specialties.

Writing about everything from chili-loaded Frito pies in the Southwest to Rhode Island's Jonnycakes (where the ingredients are regulated by state law), the Sterns have compiled a master list of America's most imperiled foods.

Their guide crisscrosses the country, praising classic hotdog and burger iterations (like Cincinnati's five-way chili dogs and steamed cheeseburgers in Connecticut) and the land's greatest pies and doughnuts (deep purple huckleberry pies of Montana and the yeasty fried rounds of the East Coast). But it's the more esoteric things we're worried about. Who knows how long the Mutton Belt will be around?

Here are five of the Sterns' favorites to watch out for as you wander this summer. Only 495 more to go.

Whoopie Pie Cranberry Island Kitchen. Portland, Maine; 207-829-5200 or

Beef on Weck Schwabl's, 789 Center Rd., West Seneca, New York; 716-674-9821 or

Boiled Peanuts Hardy Farms Peanuts, Hawkinsville, Georgia; 888-368-6887 or

Pimento Cheese Henpeck Market, 1268 Lewisburg Pike, Franklin, Tennessee; 615-794-7518 or

Date Shake Hadley Fruit Orchards, 48980 Seminole Dr., Cabazon, California; 888-854-5655 or