Indianapolis Signature Foods?
Is there more than corn in Indiana? Amidst all the trash talking thrown this direction from Chicago during the Super Bowl, one of the claims that got flung around was related to the betting between Mayors and Governors - and the sending of "signature foods" from each City to the winning team. Apparently, some in Chicago were quoted as saying "they have nothing we want." (We got a Vince Lombardi Trophy right here that I bet you want, buddy.)
Indeed - here's a whole article making that claim: "Unlike Chicago, which has hot dogs, stuffed deep dish pizza, and Italian beef sandwiches, there are no foods associated with Indianapolis..."
Now Chicago's is a pretty dubious claim to begin with -- New York would probably take the hot dogs in a territorial dispute with the Windy City, and while I grant the Deep Dish style of pizza, New York has some pretty serious claims in the general pizza category as well. But are there really no foods associated with Indianapolis? Sure there are:
- Sweet Corn - of course. Indiana may shy away from it's agrarian heritage these days -- but corn is still delicious and abundant here. And 2007 is the Year of Corn at the Indiana State Fair.
- Breaded Pork Tenderloins - a staple of Indianapolis' German American heritage, every local restaurant has their own version. But some are standouts - Indianapolis's Rathskeller Restaurant, Bonge's Tavern in Perkinsville and Nick's Kitchen in Huntington, Indiana are three of the more famous.
- Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie - The recipe originated in Indiana with the Shaker community in the 1800s as a great pie recipe to use when the apple bins were empty. Sugar cream pie is the "unofficial" Hoosier State pie.
- Elephant Ears - the Indiana State Fair favorite that everyone craves in the summertime. Research suggests that the Indiana folklore explanation of the origins of "Hoosier" was probably not really "Who's Ear" in reference to these tasty treats.
- Sweetbread Sandwiches - yeah, that's cow brains on a bun, another delicacy of German heritage, popular in southern Indiana. It's a favorite in Evansville, with several local restaurants, including the Hilltop Inn serving them regularly.
- St. Elmo's Steakhouse - the Shrimp Cocktail is St. Elmo's famous, favorite dish.
- Shapiro's Deli - corned beef and pastrami sandwiches are the mainstay at one of the top ten delis in the U. S.
- Persimmon Pudding - Mitchell, Indiana's Annual Persimmon Festival, featuring a persimmon pudding contest, has been held every September on Main Street since 1946.
- Orville Redenbacher Popcorn - Orville started his company here in Indiana, and Valparaiso Popcorn Festival is held every year in his honor.
Although we won the Super Bowl, Governor Daniels paid his bet anyway and sent Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich some foods by local companies:
- caramels and chocolates from Abbott's Also Candy Store in Indianapolis (3744 E 82nd St, Indianapolis, IN)
- pecan perks and chocolates from Zachary Confections, Inc. in Frankfort
- pretzels from Pretzels Inc. in Bluffton
- organic cheeses from Traders Point Creamery in Zionsville
- Pop Weaver microwave popcorn from Weaver Popcorn Company in Van Buren
- a 15-bean soup pot from N.K. Hurst Company in Indianapolis
- salsa, ketchup and diced tomatoes from Red Gold Inc. in Orestes
- candy from Schimpff's Confectionery in Jeffersonville
- pickles from Sechler's Pickles in St. Joe - Sechler's has been in business for 90 years, and hosts the annual St. Joe Pickle Festival
- bottled water from Cole Brothers Water Company in Peru
- carmels from Effie's Kitchen Cupboard in Connersville
- peanut brittle from Sandy's Peanut Brittle in Lafayette
- cinnamon-glazed almonds and pecans from Nutty Bavarian of Indiana in Granger
- dip and soup mixes from Soup of Success in Elkhart - The Soup Of Success Job & Life Skills Training Program is a not-for-profit, faith and community based program that pproduces Gourmet soup mixes, Gourmet dips/dressings, Gourmet Cookies, and the Scent of Success Candles.
Visit Indiana.net has a great list of other homegrown, "made in Indiana" products, and for more Hoosier cuisine - try Indiana Cooks! a recipe book from top Hoosier restaurants and great Indiana chefs and their philosophies of contemporary cuisine.
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