Sure, Colorado has its state bird: the Lark Bunting; and its state insect: the Colorado Hairstreak; flower: Columbine. Colorado also claims a state flag, gemstone, fossil, tree, reptile and even a state song or two. But we haven't got a state meal. Only Oklahoma has a state-sanctioned, legislature-approved meal. And it sounds pretty good.
I know that knowing that Oklahoma has a state meal is teetering on the edge of Cliff Clavin'ism: "It's a little known fact that Oklahoma's state meal is..." But the truth is even stranger -- that there really is an Oklahoma state meal. And here's how I found out:
Fresh City Life is partnering with Central City Opera on several special events to highlight their summer season. One of their productions will be a revival of the fantastic musical Oklahoma! So, based on my love of the film version of this musical (and all that al fresco eating), I decided to put together an Oklahoma cooking demo.
It gets funny here. I did an internet search for 'Oklahoma state meal', thinking I might get back a few menu ideas. What I got were many, many hits about the standardized Oklahoma state meal and all of its delicious components. When I mentioned this to my dad, who lives in Tulsa, he asked me if the main course was Chicken Fried Steak. It is. One of the main courses.
Funnier still. I called my friend, Cissy Yin Olderman, chef at the wildly popular Highlands' restaurant, Bang!, to see if she had any ideas about who in town could do justice to an Oklahoma cooking demo. To my surprise, Cissy said that she was from Oklahoma and would love to help with our cooking demo! I love when that stuff happens.
Cissy will be demo'ing how to make a great Chicken Fried Steak and Gravy. She'll also be serving up her recipe for Pecan Pie. I'm putting together a handout of recipes for the entire Oklahoma state meal. And to top it all off, the cats from Central City Opera will be on hand to give away a couple tickets to their production of Oklahoma! OK!
Registration encouraged; info here.
Oklahoma state meal here. (Come on, ya know you wanna look.)
All this talk about chicken fried steak is making me nostalgic for Furr's Cafeteria.
Hey, yeah, Furr's! 'member the extensive gelatin and pudding choices?
Hope you'll stop by for Cissy's upscale rendition of Chicken Fried Steak with Pepper Gravy.
Man, haven't thought of Furr's for a long time. I loved their world famous burger.
I'm from Oklahoma and have never once eaten grits. I don't know what fool added THAT to our "state meal" but it's rarely, if ever, on restaurant menus here.
I'm not from OK, but when I researched this post, I found that most, if not all, of the items on the Oklahoma State Meal were prompted by produce and commodities that are native to Oklahoma. In other words, menu items landed on the 'state meal' because they promoted state agriculture or business.
I have family in Tulsa that I visit once a year -- and I've enjoyed some great meals in OK!
Thanks for your note,