Well, not exactly Rome, Italy... more like Rome, Georgia.
I walked into a Starbucks today for the first time since moving to North Carolina and saw slices of red velvet cake in the dessert case.
My mom (visiting from SoCal) didn't even know what red velvet cake was when I asked her if she'd ever seen it in a Starbucks display in Los Angeles (she's much more of a Starbucks goer than I am, in fact we were only there to buy coffee for my dad who flew into town today, so I figured she'd know more about what's in the dessert cases out west than I would.)
She asked me what's in it and all I could tell her was "a lot of red food coloring."
Add to this the fact that you can buy sweet tea by the gallon from McDonald's (branded as "Mickey D's Sweet Tea") and you can share in my amusement over how much local influence there is over cuisine in national chains (McDonald's also has a "Southern-style Chicken sandwich here that's basically copied straight from Chik-fil-a.)
And yet, despite all the strange foodstuffs, I'm still unable to lose weight. Go figure. :)