Denseman on the Rattis

Formerly known as the Widmann Blog


The 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.

2 thoughts on “The six regions of the US

  • There’s a nice little book called ‘The Nine Nations of North America’ that posits some natural regions, soo. They had slightly different divisions (partly because they obviously included Canada): New England, The Foundry (Great Lakes area), Dixie, The Islands, The Breadbasket, Mexamerica, The Empty Quarter, Ecotopia, aaand… Quebec!

    The Empty Quarter covers the western moutain ranges and much of Canada. Ecotopia obviously northern California plus coastal Oregon and Washington. No seperatism for Louisiana here:)

  • Interesting.
    Louisiana is quite distinct in many respects (legally, linguistically and culinarily), but I guess it’s too small and too similar to its neighbours in other regards to get its own region in all analyses.


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