In response to Macayo's petition drive to make the chimichanga Arizona's official state food, we've started our own list of suggestions.
Here's the list of other, and arguably more authentic, Arizona foods that we've come up with. We'd also love your input. Vote in our completely unscientific poll below.
5. Fry Bread
We sort of liked this idea till we learned that South Dakota named fry bread (aka Indian fry bread) its official state bread in 2005. Shucks. The Navajo taco might be a better bet but even that one has suspect origins.
4. I'itoi Onion
The name's not as much fun to say as "chimichanga," but this little onion dates back to the 17th Century here in Arizona, and the Tohono O'Oodham tribe considers it sacred. Forthose of you with a green thumb, we've also read that they're pretty easy to grow.
3. Prickly Pear Fruit
Researchers claim you can inhibit cancer and treat everything from diabetes to a hangover with the fruit of this cactus. We don't know about that, but we do enjoy prickly pear fruit syrup, jam and even vodka.
2. Indigenous ingredients
Citrus may be one of the state's "5 C's" but Arizona can hardly claim it. If you really want to go native (or a lot closer), says Chow Bella contributor Erica O'Neil, go with "squash, beans and corn." O'Neil writes our "Taco the Town" column, but her day job is as an anthropologist. In other words, she knows her beans.
O'Neil explains: "The Hohokam used to grow all three in the same field because the corn would act as a stalk for the beans to climb up, and the squash would be at ground level. Don't forget mesquite bean flour, either! Pretty much anything Kai makes covers this."
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SHOW ME HOW
1. Sonoran Hot Dog Now, this one will be controversial (a la the chimichanga) in that no one's quite sure where it was invented. Some say northern Mexico, others southern Arizona. But just about everyone we spoke to in preparing this piece agreed that a bacon-wrapped hot dog out of a truck is a more authentic Arizona food experience than a chimi from a chain.