Originally posted by Mosca
There are a lot of prepackaged foods that are indigenous to PA, but would they qualify as "cuisine"? I dunno. Maybe as a group the pretzels and potato chips of the Lancaster area might.
I'd say maybe homemade kielbasa/kolbasi; I've seen it in grocery stores from SW PA to NE PA.
Venison chili, maybe? But that's more of a rural cuisine anywhere, not just PA.
After that, I really doubt that there is anything that is so uniquely Pennsylvanian that I would call it a Pennsylvanian cuisine. Anything PA Dutch can also be found in Dutch settlements in Indiana or New York, for example. And regional examples don't scale well to the entire state; Primanti's is meaningless in Scranton, cheesesteaks mean nothing in Erie. Old Forge pizza is not applicable in Harrisburg.
Maybe someone can change my mind on this?
Mosca: I thought about what you said, but I have to disagree with many of your premises.
First of all, much "regional" food can be found throughout the US (SW tacos, burritos, sold all over, NE clam chowder, etc.) but the ORIGIN of the food is local. Second, many states are geographically and historically diverse (upstate NY is vastly different from NYC).
"States" are basically political entities that may or may not reflect local realties or boundaries. What about concepts like "tri-state regions", Wash-MD-Va, Delmarva, etc? Many states also developed from different migratory routes (Eastern PA=Europe, esp. Germany, Northern PA=upstate NY, Southwest PA= Appalachia), similar in MD and VA (Eastern shore vs. Weestern mountains), also Indiana, Ohio (North vs. South)
Sometimes I find the nicest surprises around state line boundaries rather than in the center(I have also found this around county boundaries!), esp. with architecture - more "older" away from the center.
So, once I got further, and looser in definitions, I enjoy the "PA" cuisine idea - maybe would like to hear other states, too.
PS. Pretzels are "food" to me!