10 Tasty Delicacies to Try in the USA’s Midwest
Featured destinations: USA, Chicago
Published 21 July 2016
Watching your figure? Look away now. The American Midwest, which stretches from the small towns of rural Kansas and Nebraska to the bright lights of Detroit and the shores of Lake Huron, is filled with mouth-watering delicacies and delicious morsels that will make your taste buds tingle. Below, we’ve listed 10 of our favourites. Feeling hungry? You will be.
Grab your Cubs tickets, find your seat and order a Chicago dog. This combination of a hot beef frankfurter on a poppy seed bun with peppers, onions, celery salt and pickles is traditionally served at baseball games in the city’s Wrigley Field. Join the fans for the quintessential Chicago experience; just be sure to order yours with mustard otherwise you might be met with scowls of disapproval – ketchup is a definite no-no.
Cherries, cherries all around! Take a look along the shores of Lake Michigan and in Door County, Wisconsin for row upon row of cherry trees producing these sweet and juicy fruits. You can buy them fresh from the roadside, or try them cooked up in a traditional Michigan cherry pie. To make one, freshly picked and slightly tart cherries are boiled down and placed into a sweet shortcrust pastry case, then baked until piping hot.
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Love crisps? Love chocolate? Then you’ll love chippers, essentially fried potato chips dipped in chocolate. We all know that sweet and salty together make an irresistible combination, and this snack capitalises on that and then some. Try them at Carol Widman’s Candy Company, Grand Forks, North Dakota, which has sold them for over 100 years and offers milk chocolate, dark chocolate, peanut butter and white almond varieties. Yes please.
Sugar cream pie
An Indiana favourite, sugar cream pie is made up of a shortcrust pastry case filled with flour, butter, sugar and cream which is then baked, transforming into a slightly wobbly tart. This is Indiana’s official pie, thought to have originated from 19th century Quaker settlers. It tastes best homemade of course, but the mass-produced Wick’s Pies version can be found in shops all over the country.
Kansas City barbecue
Smoked meat, slow cooked over various types of wood, lathered with a thick tomato and treacle sauce and served with chips, Kansas City barbecue has been wowing the Kansans since 1900. Today, there are over 100 speciality barbecue restaurants in the city, which also hosts a number of barbecue cook-offs. Many different meats are used, including pork, beef and lamb, while burnt ends – the tips of meat from a pork brisket – are often served as an accompaniment.
Legend has it that one day a cook in St Louis, Missouri, accidentally dropped boiled ravioli into the deep fryer. Toasted ravioli was born. Whether this is true or not is up for debate, as some claim the snack originated in Sicily, but whatever the truth, it sure is tasty. Usually the ravioli is stuffed with meat or cheese and rolled in breadcrumbs before being fried until golden brown. It’s served with a tomato-based dipping sauce or with parmesan sprinkled on the top, and eaten as a starter or a quick snack.
The name gives away the origins of this sweet treat, as German settlers who arrived in North and South Dakota in the 1870s added locally-grown peaches, apples, gooseberries and plums to their own tried and tested cake recipe. Best served warm with ice cream or with a cup of coffee, kuchen was designated the official dessert of South Dakota in 2000.
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Gooey butter cake
Invented in St Louis in the 1930s when a chef mistakenly mixed up the proportions in a standard cake recipe, gooey butter cake is an indulgent dessert made from flour, eggs, butter and sugar, baked in the oven until soft and squishy like a brownie, and served warm. Also known as ooey gooey butter cake, it is found in bakeries throughout Missouri, and the supermarket version is sometimes sold in Walmart. Various flavours exist, including raspberry, pumpkin and cream cheese.
“When a moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore.” Or so sang Dean Martin, and he was right. If you like pizza, and let’s face it who doesn’t, then you will love Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza, made in a pan with a high edge. This doesn’t necessarily make for a thick crust, but instead the extra space is taken up with more cheese topping and a thicker tomato sauce. It takes longer to bake Chicago-style pizzas than the flatter variety, and so the toppings are often layered upside down, starting with the cheese and the vegetables or pepperoni and finishing with the tomato sauce, which prevents the cheese from burning and the dough from becoming soggy.
Brought to the USA from Serbia, Barberton chicken is found mainly in Barberton, Ohio, giving the city the nickname ‘The Fried Chicken Capital of America’. There are strict rules that must be followed for a Barberton chicken to be classified as such, and they include using fresh chicken (not frozen), no seasoning and frying the chicken in lard to keep it juicy. This is then served up with coleslaw, rice, hot pepper sauce and French fries. Throw the diet out of the window and give it a go.