Are We There Yet?

April 16-22, 2018

By Jay Edwards


“When the waitress asked if I wanted my pizza cut into four or eight slices, I said, ‘Four. I don’t think I can eat eight.’”

– Yogi Berra


Driving back from Hot Springs a few weeks ago with KM, we heard two disc jockeys laughing over a new study that named Little Rock as the most overweight city in the U.S.


I also know this country is the most obese in the world, and quickly deduced that must make Little Rock the most obese city on the planet. Which is something, I guess.


When we got home I checked five lists that named the most overweight states and found Arkansas ranked anywhere from ninth to third, always trailing West Virginia and our good neighbor, Mississippi.


Then I wondered what foods, if any, different states are famous for. Like when you think of Wisconsin, it’s cheese; Pennsylvania, cheesesteak; and lobsters in Maine.


I woke up the Google again and went hunting. What I immediately saw was why Mississippi is first. The list, which I found on a site called, had biscuits and gravy as the food they are best known for. Perhaps they wouldn’t have been first if they hadn’t combined the two, which really are two separate foods. Maybe someone should file a protest.


Over in West Virginia, which I’m not sure I’ve even ever been to, they are apparently well known for something called the pepperoni roll. The recipe is pretty simple, you take some white doughy bread and stuff it with pepperoni and cheese. The cheese dip they say we in Arkansas are known for just can’t be expected to keep up the calorie count going against biscuits and gravy and pepperoni rolls.


Then I wondered about Montana, which ranks pretty low in obesity. Maybe the reason is that their signature food is the Rocky Mountain Oyster, which I guess is fried. I’ll also assume you know what these are. If not, go to the Google yourself. I really expected the Big Sky State to list the bison burger, which I tried on our trip to Glacier in 2016, and liked; or even a Huckleberry Bear Claw, also good.


The list got more amusing as I went along. Like in Kansas, where they list, “bread.” Yeah, just bread. Maybe they could work out a deal with Mississippi for some of that gravy.


Another relatively skinny state is Washington. No, they didn’t list apples, Virginia took those. Washington instead went with something called “Pho,” which is a Vietnamese noodle soup. I’ll think I’ll stick with an apple. But that’s not as weird as Utah, which is going with jello.




Sounds like they’ve been doing too many jello-shots.


Texas is Tex-Mex, which is a number of different foods actually, so I’m protesting them as well. Come on Texas. That’s like me saying our signature food is, “Fried.”


Tennessee chose something called hot chicken, which has a crunchy cayenne-based paste. Kentucky gets fried chicken, which seems right.


New York picked bagels, but their pizza is better. Nebraska went with something they call the Runza, which is a tasty seasoned meat wrapped in a doughy pocket. There’s another idea for you, Kansas.


I pick on Kansas, but there are some just as bad (see Utah), like Illinois, who went with just, “meat.” And Delaware, who went with “chicken.” Hey Delaware, I think Illinois has that covered!


California gets the hamburger, which I guess is fair since the McDonald’s brothers started in San Bernardino. Arizona went with Mexican Food, which, like Texas, obviously a lot of thought went into.


But the most ridiculous entry for a signature food has to go to the Silver State, Nevada, who chose, “buffet.”


I’m hungry. Think I’ll go for some cheese dip.


See all of Jay’s past columns on our website at


  • Jay Edwards
    Jay Edwards