Lighten Up, America!

We sent Cooking Light's tireless contributing editor, Allison Fishman Task, on a mission: to crisscross the country in search of favorite regional foods and to lighten them for a country that is starting to think hard about what it eats. Buy the Book: Lighten Up, America!

America's Favorite Regional Egg Dishes

Each region of the country has their own favorite ways of crackin' the incredible edible.

Eggs Benedict

North: Eggs Benedict

Photo: Oxmoor House

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Eggs Redneck
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Huevos Rancheros
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Loco Moco
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NORTHEAST 
Eggs Benedict
In 1894, Mr. Benedict, a retired Wall Street broker, found himself at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel looking for a cure for his hangover. He asked for buttered toast, a poached egg, bacon, and a bit of hollandaise. The Waldorf’s maître d’, Oscar Tschirky, substituted Canadian bacon and an English muffin and put it on the menu.

EAST
Pennsylvania Dutch Pickled Eggs
The Pennsylvania Dutch were German-speaking people who settled in Pennsylvania in the 17th and 18th centuries. They commonly pickled items such as eggs, fruits, and vegetables to preserve them so they could be eaten months later. Eggs were traditionally brined with beets, which give them their signature pinkish-red color. Today, they are a staple at Pennsylvania potlucks and picnics.

SOUTH
Eggs Redneck 
Eggs Redneck is a specialty of the Arcade Restaurant, a Memphis institution renowned for its hip ’50s diner décor and down-home Southern cooking. The Redneck Plate features eggs, hash browns, and biscuits and sausage smothered in country-style gravy.

MIDWEST
Savory Egg Muffins
Stove Top Stuffing Mix was introduced by General Foods in 1972 in Illinois, giving rise to a whole new generation of stuffing-based recipes. This breakfast classic—still a household favorite across the Midwest—features stuffing, either from the box or from scratch, baked with eggs, cheese, and sausage.

SOUTHWEST
Huevos Rancheros 
“Ranchers’ eggs” contains key south-of-the-border ingredients such as corn tortillas, beans, salsa, and eggs. Standard fare of Texas and throughout the Southwest, huevos rancheros is breakfast enough to satisfy those who work hard all day and need serious sustenance.

WEST
Hangtown Fry
Hangtown is the nickname for Placerville, California, a town at the heart of the California gold rush. When the miners struck it rich, they ordered the town’s most expensive dish—the Hangtown Fry. Featuring fried oysters, eggs, and bacon, the meal incorporated ingredients that were particularly hard to come by in the rugged Sierra Foothills at that time.

Loco Moco 
Pronounced loh-koo moh-koo, this is Hawaii’s original fast food breakfast. Although many variations exist, it commonly includes white rice topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy. In addition to the classic ingredients, you might also find it topped with ham, pork, sausage, teriyaki beef or chicken, or any fresh catch of the day.

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