bookmark_borderThe six regions of the US

When I was 15, my parents went to Chicago and brought me back two books: Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Regional American Cooking.

Both books have been important to me.

The former was for many years my favourite book, and if I hadn’t read it, I might have been much worse at English (I had already stopped doing English at school, and it was only because I wanted to read Douglas Adams in the original language that it didn’t slowly get worse, but that’s really a separate blog posting).

The latter is a fine cookbook, but it’s actually been more important to me because it taught me not to regard the US as one homogeneous country.

It has divided the US into six regions: New England, the South, the Heartland, Louisiana, the Southwest and the Pacific States, and the food in each part is clearly quite distinctive.

I have often in the years since then used these regions to understand American issues, and most often than not it has helped my understanding of them.