There’s a somewhat funny story out of the Connecticut Post this week. The Connecticut House of Representatives just approved a bill designating pizza the “State Food” of Connecticut, with 131 votes in favor and 9 against. Reporters Nicole Funaro and Andrew DaRosa set out to determine why anyone would dissent to such a bill—and the answers are well-reasoned.
Rep. Craig Fishbein (R-Wallingford) said that he couldn’t possibly name pizza as the state food when Connecticut has so many wonderful dishes that it does well; he name-dropped Amore’s Pizza, Neil’s Donuts, and Michael’s Trattoria, among other popular spots. In Fishbein’s mind, there was no need to determine a state food at all.
Meanwhile, Rep. Terrie Wood (R-Darien) said her dissenting vote was about making sure people realize there are more important things going on right now that deserve the government’s attention. “I felt that with all the critical issues facing our state, we should stay hyper-focused on these issues — particularly K-12 education and job recovery in the wake of COVID,” said Wood. Fair point. (Some of the other “no” voters expressed a similar frustration with what they saw as a useless exercise.)
Setting aside the 100% valid criticism that selecting state foods is pretty much a colossal waste of legislators’ time—and setting aside the fact that many folks out there might disagree that Connecticut alone has state-food-worthy pizza—it made us wonder about the odd convention of naming state foods in the first place. It’s probably all just an act of lobbying, but a stroll through this Wikipedia page leaves me with mixed feelings. I couldn’t be happier that Illinois has a state pie, and that it is pumpkin. But our state snack food is “popcorn,” which feels redundant when our state grain is “corn.” If we could only choose a single state food to represent all 102 of our counties, what would it be? Maybe it would be corn? There’s much to consider.
Does your state have a state food item, and does it feel representative? Not all states have one—Connecticut doesn’t have any, until pizza is instated—and in that case, you’re working with a blank slate. Just don’t take pumpkin pie. That’s ours.