In the recent discussions in our little section of the blogosphere, driven largely by people we all know well, there has been interest in the word "Yankee." The quote from EB White ending with the idea that a Yankee is someone who has pie for breakfast includes the claim that New Englanders regard a "Yankee" as someone from Vermont. Well of course EB White would say that. He came from New York whose expatriates wen to Vermont and coastal Maine. We in New Hampshire would never say such a thing, especially now as the once-proud Green Mountain State is bursting with damfool newyorkers. Not that we have much ground to complain anymore, being overrun with Massachusetts folk. (And even Massachusetts was a respectable place until about 100 years ago. Parts of it still are.)
But reflecting on the word and its usage as one remembers it is sometimes more useful than reading even very knowledgeable people. I grew up in NH, and Yankee was more often an adjective than a noun. Occasionally someone would referee to "an old Yankee," always meaning a rural or small-town person whose ancestors had come from nearby, and was likely taciturn/cheap/stubborn/worked with his hands. But usually the word was a reference to those characteristics. Yankee thrift, yankee skepticism, etc. It came up when you had to do business with a marina or hotel owner, or local character out-of-town. That general store wasn't going to change its product line much. It would still have those frightening hard-boiled eggs in a jar on the counter, and coffee that was like black ammonia after rendering down to goo all day.
I think we regarded it as core americanism, that even a lot of rural Southerners and westerners might approve of, except that the name would put them off. Hard-working, stingy, skeptical, hard to move. We regarded ourselves as Yankees, but watered-down versions of the Ideal.