John Burnett, writing for NPR’s Foodways blog, presents his thesis that the variety and authenticity of Texas’ small town eats is getting swamped by barbecue, Tex-Mex cuisine, convenience store fast food, and Sysco. We don’t know that we’d restrict the phenomenon to Texas. Hasn’t this been happening across the country for decades?

The bad news is that some of the country’s regional specialties are becoming ever harder to find. Try to get a brain sandwich in St. Louis. Try to find something other than cheap pizza and cheap Chinese food in central New Jersey. They still exist, but it requires some determination to find them, and even more perseverance to find good examples of them.

Where once a traveler could pop into a local town cafe in, say, Indiana and be assured of getting home-cooking (not necessarily good cooking, but homemade nonetheless), today one is as likely to encounter a plate of formerly frozen food-service cuisine as a hand-formed chicken fried steak. One reason: people cook at home much less than they used to, and cooking skills have withered in America. How can you serve home-cooking in your town cafe if you don’t know how to cook?

Also, tastes homogenize. Where once you had to go to Buffalo to enjoy hot wings, today you can eat them in virtually every town in America. If people in Minnesota discover they enjoy a cheesesteak more than their local cuisine, how can you blame them? Unfortunately, the result is each new cheesesteak and chicken wing joint is taking away business from another restaurant.

The good news: real food can still be found. You just have to look harder. That’s what Left At the Fork is here for!

Blue Bonnet Cafe
211 Highway 281
Marble Falls TX 78654
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