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The Best Regional Foods in the Midwest

Maid Rite - Quincy, Illinois
Kurt Parsons

I learned something a couple weekends ago while watching PBS, and I bet I’m not the only one that did not know this.

A recent episode of ‘Cooks Country Test Kitchen’ was all about St. Louis cooking. Recipes were demonstrated for favorite foods from the St. Louis area, like St. Louis-style pizza. The second recipe featured was one I didn’t know was considered a regional food: pork steak. According to CooksCountryTV.com:

St. Louis BBQ Pork Steaks are little-known in other parts of America, but in St. Louis, they are so popular that pork steaks are on permanent sale in family packs at the supermarket.”

I knew that the toasted ravioli was created in St. Louis, obviously St. Louis-style pizza came from St. Louis, but I had no idea that pork steak was “regional.” I guess I always assumed it was a cut of meat available pretty much everywhere, like a pork chop. Thank goodness I live in this region, because I enjoy a good pork steak. To be honest, as much as I love a grilled rib-eye or t-bone, I think I’d rather have a pork steak off the grill.

There are a number of other foods that are unique to the Midwest, and even more specifically, our particular portion of the Midwest. For example, fried pork tenderloins are pretty easy to find around here, but in several other parts of the country they’ve never even heard of them. The loose-meat sandwich, like those served at Maid-Rite, were invented in Iowa. Springfield, Illinois is credited with the creation of the Horseshoe Sandwich

Is anyone else getting hungry?

Which is Better - Chicago-style or St. Louis-style Pizza?

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