What’s Your State’s Most Unusual Food Topic? Twitter Posts Show the Answer

09/22/2014 at 12:36 PM ET

Twitter Food Study Results
Courtesy Fried, D., Surdeanu, M., Kobourov, S., Hingle, M., and Bell, D.

If you’ve got a serious eating and Tweeting habit (who, us?), research scientists might want to know about it.

After tackling the Herculean task of analyzing more than three million food Tweets, the authors of a new study at the University of Arizona were able to figure out some fun factoids about eating across the country.

The map above shows the most unusual food-related term that popped up for each state. “A common misinterpretation is that these are the most popular terms per state, but they are not—they are the most distinctive terms,” Mihai Surdeanu, one of the study’s authors, tells PEOPLE. “For example, ‘cheese’ may be popular in many states, but not distinctive in any,” he said.

Some, like caviar for California and cloves in Iowa seem surprising. But it was hardly a shock to learn that Texans were posting about brisket, Idaho residents about spuds and Arizonans about tamales. Another thing to note: the word “prune” popped out in both Kansas and New York, but in both cases it refers to restaurants with that name—not the fiber-rich dried plum.

In the study, the authors noted that they saw preferences for meal hashtags, which are outlined in this graphic:

Twitter Food Study Results
Courtesy Fried, D., Surdeanu, M., Kobourov, S., Hingle, M., and Bell, D.

On table that mentioned other popular regional topics we couldn’t help chuckle at this eerily accurate statement about The Big Apple: “Brunch and mixed drinks are important features in the Northeast, likely because they were also highly weighted features for New York City, and New York City produced many of the tweets in this region.” With regards to the left coast, they wrote, “The West is a mixture of features that were important for California, such as #foodporn and #vegan …”

Although the study is fun to talk about, it’s also part of a bigger picture: helping people get healthy. The authors were able to predict overweight and diabetic rates for adults using information they pulled from the Tweets. “The idea is to detect people at risk for diabetes using social media and then gently nudge them towards a better lifestyle. The latter part we haven’t tackled yet, and it is unclear what is the best solution. Targeted ads are certainly a possibility,” Surdeanu tells PEOPLE.

So watch out: If you Tweet too much about your need for hangover-curing food, you might find yourself getting served with ads for the American Nutrition Association.

—Lexi Dwyer

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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Shelly420 on

Washington State should be geoducks. There is nothing unusual about halibut.

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