Dijon has mustard. London has broil. Brussels has sprouts.
But no city has what Buffalo has: Its very own flavor.
See the words "Buffalo" or "Buffalo Wing" or even simply "Wing" on a restaurant menu, in a cookbook or on a commercial product anywhere in the world and you know the food in question will be spicy -- as in Frank's Hot Sauce -- and often include blue cheese or celery flavor (as in the method originated, legend tells us, for the Chicken Wings at the Anchor Bar).
So when you see something like "Buffalo Shrimp" on the Hooters menu, for instance, you know that the mollusk will be deep fried, redolent of hot sauce and served with celery sticks and blue cheese.
When you see the term "Buffalo Salad," which shows up on menus all over the country, you know that salad will contain spicy chicken and celery. (Just Google "Buffalo Salad" and you'll find it in all sorts of places, including the Shrewsbury, Mass., High School cafeteria.) And when you see something called Buffalo Wontons at Ruby Tuesday, you can bet your last (buffalo) nickel that the wonton skins will be filled with hot sauce-doused poultry and served up with the usual suspects.
So popular are these Wontons that Saveur Magazine listed them in its annual January/February "Top 100" issue, calling them "The Most Daunting New Appetizer."
"Outrageous, unhealthful as hell, silly fusion of Italian, Chinese and upstate New York and deep fried to boot," said the magazines editors. "How can we help loving them?" Indeed.
The fried packages are served with blue cheese and celery sticks, of course.
Visit the Wegmans Deli department and buy yourself some thinly sliced Jennie-O Buffalo Style Turkey Breast and make yourself a spicy sandwich.
Or go for some Buffalo Pizza just about anywhere on the planet (with the possible exception of Naples, Italy). The Just Pizza version here at home actually puts the hot sauce in the dough.
Who cares about snow or a losing football team if you can get recognition like that, we ask you?
It doesn't happen in Dubuque, Iowa. Or San Francisco. Or, just down the road a piece, in Rochester.
And while we're on the subject, friends, let's not forget the products you can buy in the grocery store. In the freezer case -- Hooters Buffalo Style Chicken Strips and/or Banquet Buffalo Style Chicken Tenders.
And in the snack section: Snyder's of Hanover Hot Buffalo Wing Pieces, artificially flavored sourdough hard pretzels (a favorite with Wegmans chef Don Woods, although he will probably kill us for telling you).
Also, Blair's Death Rain Buffalo Wing Kettle Cooked Potato Chips. "Feel alive," the package shouts. Also Sunshine Cheez-It TwisterZ Hot Wings and Cheese Blue Baked Cheese Snacks. Says the label: "Two flavors. Bold Crunch."
There may be other chips in the pipeline, too, from Kettle Chips. Namely, "Buffalo Bleu Cheese" flavor. "Based on the classic bar food favorite . . . this robustly flavored chip tasted like the original -- no bones about it!"
"The salty and smoky tomato base adds heat, making this chip spicy at the first crunch, a smooth finish of celery and creamy blue cheese flavors cools things down," says the official description.
A spokesman for Kettle Chips explains that for the second year, the company has created five new chip flavors, including Buffalo Bleu Cheese, and puts them in a party pack for purchase online at $9.95.
Customers are invited to taste with their friends, rating the chips for appearance, aroma, sound (we love it), texture and taste. These people vote online -- the winner enters the permanent Kettle Chip line.
Currently, the Buffalo Bleu is in second place, said the spokesman. And there is still hope.
Other entrants -- including "Dirty Martini" and "Spicy Mary" -- are nowhere near as remarkable to this unbiased taster. (Voting takes place until March 31. Visit straightupflavor.com.)
This brings us to recipes. Yes you can make Buffalo flavor food at home. You can find recipes for Buffalo Catfish or Buffalo Pork Loin on the Web.
But here are two special recipes we think you'll enjoy. The casserole recipe won the 2002 National Cornbread Cookoff. (Honestly! We don't make these things up.) And the popcorn comes from Orville Redenbacher.
Now -- aren't you proud you live in the City of Good Neighbors?
>Buffalo Chicken Cornbread with Blue Cheese Mayo
1 pound chicken breast tender strips
1/4 cup Louisiana style hot sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup unflavored yogurt
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 package cornbread mix
1/2 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the chicken strips in a bowl. Toss with the hot sauce to coat well. Set aside to marinate for 20 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, blue cheese, salt and lemon juice. Cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Melt one tablespoon butter in a 10-inch oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion and celery in the butter until tender. Remove from the pan.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the pan. Saute the chicken strips in the butter, stirring constantly for 5 to 7 minutes.
Combine the cornbread mix with the milk and egg. Stir in the sauteed celery and onion. Pour over the chicken in the hot pan. Place in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until corn bread is golden.
Cut into wedges and top each serving with the blue cheese mayo. Makes 6 servings.
>Buffalo Style Hot Popcorn
2 1/2 quarts popped corn
2 cups corn chips, slightly broken
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons Louisiana style hot sauce
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional
In small bowl, place 2 cups popped corn; set aside.
Combine remaining popcorn with corn chips and peanuts. In small saucepan, melt butter with hot sauce, celery seed and salt; pour over popcorn peanut mixture, tossing gently to coat.