June 14th, 2013
10:15 AM ET
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Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.

If you’ve had anything to do with an airplane recently (gotten on one; awaited for a loved one in arrivals; worked in an air traffic control tower), then you don’t need me to tell there are a crazy amount of delays on the tarmac recently. Some travelers have made the very best of an annoying situation - it’s worth watching a string quartet of Philadelphia Orchestra musicians do a pop-up concert on their three-hour–delayed flight. And the crowd who sang “I Believe I Can Fly,” on their grounded, non-air–conditioned jet.

Or you can avoid the possibility of spontaneously singing R. Kelly in a very hot airplane and drive (in the 48 contiguous states anyway). Benefits include the possibility of dropping in at one of the country’s amazing food museums, where you can become an expert at everything from Spam to pizza to Pez.

National Mustard Museum - Middleton, Wisconsin
Prepared mustards (5,500-plus containers!) from all 50 states and more than 70 countries are on display here. Admission is free and so is the tasting bar, where you can sample flavored mustards like blue cheese, tequila and cranberry. Items from the gift shop are not free, but there are more than 800 products that go beyond mustard to include salsas, chutneys and sauces.

Mark your calendar for National Mustard Day (August 3), when the museum offers free hot dogs, music, games and mustard sampling.

Pizza Brain - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Not only is this the world’s first pizza museum, it’s also the Guinness World Record holder for the Largest Collection of Pizza-Related Items. Obsessive Brian “Brain” Dwyer launched the museum in September 2012 after a successful Kickstarter campaign to open a permanent place to show off his 1,000-piece collection of pizza stuff.

Because looking at all this memorabilia will make you hungry, Dwyer smartly installed a pizzeria, too, with a reputation for great pies such as the Esteban Destino (white pie with slow-roasted pork, cilantro, jalapeño and black beans).

The SPAM Museum - Austin, Minnesota
This museum claims to be “home to the world’s most comprehensive collection of spiced pork artifacts.” Here you’ll find everything from a World War II exhibit to vintage SPAM advertisements; you can also take a SPAM Exam to test your knowledge of the potted meat product. Admission is free.

Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia - Burlingame, California
Five or so minutes from San Francisco International Airport, you can find an example of every Pez dispenser ever sold - more than 900 of them. The place also includes two other museums: the Classic Toy Museum and, more intriguingly, the Banned Toy Museum. The gift shop and online store offers a giant selection of vintage and collectible Pez dispensers, including the Presidents of the USA (five presidents to a set) and Barbie Pez (four for $20).

Idaho Potato Museum - Blackfoot, Idaho
Housed in a 1912 railroad depot, the exhibits at this museum include potato farming equipment and all kinds of potato trivia. The gift shop is the place to find potato-shaped soap made with potato starch (sold in mini potato sacks, of course) and a dress made out of a burlap sack like the one Marilyn Monroe once posed in.

If you can’t get to Idaho, the website offers a recipe for potato chip cookies as well as an argument for why “the potato is a near-perfect food” (nutrient-dense and 99.9% fat-free, they say) but you’ll miss the “box of yummy potato products” they give to each adult ticket holder ($3) who visits.

More from Food & Wine:

Best Burgers in the U.S.

Best Chicken Wings in the U.S.

America’s Best Lobster Rolls

Beautiful Summer Cocktails

Summer Grilling Recipes

Previously - Comestible collections: Fans make museums for munchables

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  2. Personal Fitness Coach

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    June 17, 2013 at 10:32 am | Reply
  15. john steinbeck

    "...there are a crazy amount of delays ..."
    Terrible writing. I have some seventh- grade students who could proof for you.

    June 16, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Reply
  16. The 2.5th Doctor

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    June 16, 2013 at 11:32 am | Reply
  17. Thinking things through

    I am so putting that Mustard Museum on my Bucket List!!! That one would make my day!

    June 15, 2013 at 9:37 am | Reply
  18. lwg

    You won't find the Spam museum in Austin, Texas. It's in Austin, Minnesota.

    June 14, 2013 at 10:30 am | Reply
  19. Truth™

    What if I don't like Spam?

    June 14, 2013 at 10:28 am | Reply
    • Kat Kinsman

      I'll have yours, then. I love it!

      June 14, 2013 at 10:33 am | Reply
      • Truth™@Kat

        Try the Spam, Eggs, Sausage and Spam...


        June 14, 2013 at 10:43 am | Reply
        • Kat Kinsman

          I really wish we had a "like" button.

          June 14, 2013 at 12:06 pm |

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