Food: Regional foods to make your mouth water |

Food: Regional foods to make your mouth water

Lee Mathis
Free Press Food Columnist
Lee Mathis
Staff Photo |


Yields: 4 servings


6 tablespoons butter

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 cups milk

1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan Cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano)

1 egg, room temperature and beaten

Salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 cup prepared whipped cream

8 slices toasted white bread, crust trimmed off

1 pound cooked turkey breast, thinly sliced

Grated Parmesan cheese for topping

1 (2-ounce) jar diced pimientos, drained

8 bacon slices, fried crisp


In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Gradually add flour, stirring constantly, until smooth and free from lumps. Gradually stir in milk until sauce comes to a gentle boil, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Add Parmesan cheese and stir until melted and well blended.

In a small bowl, beat egg. Gradually add 1 cup of hot sauce, 1/3 cup at a time, to the egg, stirring constantly. Gradually add egg mixture to remaining sauce, stirring constantly until well blended; add salt and pepper to taste. Fold in whipped cream.

For each Hot Brown sandwich, place two slices of toasted bread on a metal (or flameproof) dish. Cover the toast with a liberal amount of turkey. Pour a generous amount of sauce over the turkey. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler, approximately 4 to 5 minutes or until the sauce is speckled brown and bubbly. Remove from broiler, sprinkle with diced pimientos, cross two pieces of bacon over the top, and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings of two open-faced sandwiches each.


Traveling cross-country, I sample many regional foods along the way.

From the deep South, boiled peanuts and conch chowder; from the far West, shaved ice and date shakes; from the Great Lakes region, deep-fried cheese curds and kringle; and from the mid-Atlantic states, the obvious — cheesesteaks, scrapple and soft-shell crabs.

The Midwest offers Cincinnati chili and gooey butter cake; from New England, we get lobster rolls and Boston cream pie; from the Pacific Northwest, smelt; and in the Northwest, Apple Candy.

From the Southeast? Taste shrimp and Grits and Coca-Cola Cake. In the Southwest, green chili cheeseburgers and pork adobo tacos can’t be beat. From the Bayou? The varieties of gumbo and jambalaya are endless.

Every area of the country developed its own cuisine and recipes, some of which can only be found in its specific locale. And most duplications just ain’t the same!


What are your favorite regional recipes? Email your favorites and we will give away a “WaWa” gift box, complete with a 50th anniversary WaWa T-shirt and buttons.

For regional recipes of all types, visit

GJ Free Press food columnist Lee Mathis is the founder and owner of Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes and Catering. He can be reached via email at, on the Web at, or by calling 970-256-4688. Also, find him on the Web by searching Facebook, Pinterest or by visiting Twitter (@decadenceGJ).

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