Food is more than that which is necessary to maintain life; it is an art form. Those who do not appreciate food are missing out on a great deal. In the meantime, here are a few restaurant recommendations (in the Boston area, mostly) and some recipes from my own kitchen that you might want to try (I claim to be a cook, by virtue of not having poisoned anyone accidentally), arranged around a meal theme.
I'm sort of from the southwest (California), and half my relatives live in Texas or Colorado, with not a few who have retired to Arizona. First, my salsa, a fat free but otherwise very healthy compliment to anything dealing with flour tortillas, especially nachos, with which you might want to add guacamole. For the main course, here's a recipe for real Texas chili.
No matter what else happens, the southern part of the U.S. has at least one thing going for it: in terms of regional American cuisine, nothing, but nothing, beats southern cooking. Here's my fried chicken with hush puppies and sweet potato fries.
Yeah, I know, what's there to cooking raw fish. The worst thing about the sushi epidemic that's hit this country is that it obscures the fact that Japanese cuisine is much more than raw fish, though if you want that, here's where to get it.
However, sushi is to Japanese cuisine what roast turkey is to American: it's festival food. Here's a different meal for four, starting with miso soup with snow dried tofu, chicken teriyaki, oshitashi, shiso rice, and ending with mochi and red bean paste.
A midsummer meal, this starts with some pasta in a light pesto sauce, served with heart stopping garlic bread, and featuring a six-cheese lasagna.
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