June 9, 2015

Kansas

Statehood: January 29th, 1861 (34/50)

"I cannot understand why you should wish to leave this beautiful country and go back to the dry, gray place you call Kansas."

"That is because you have no brains," answered the girl. "No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home."

The Scarecrow sighed.

"Of course I cannot understand it," he said. "If your heads were stuffed with straw, like mine, you would probably all live in beautiful places, and then Kansas would have no people at all. It is fortunate for Kansas that you have brains.”

The words L. Baum Frank wrote between Dorothy and the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, though tinged with sadness for many reasons, are practical and honest. Geographically or metaphorically speaking, regardless of where you come from or where you're going, wherever you call home is always going to be the sweetest. Isn't it lovely, then, that Kansas holds the distinction of being the epicenter of the lower 48 here in the U.S.?

Things you probably already knew: Kansas is the largest producer of wheat... and home to both Pizza Hut and White Castle (and why not, considering, y'know, crust and bun). The State Song is "Home on the Range" (lyrics of which include: "How often at night when the heavens are bright/with the light from the glittering stars/have I stood there amazed and asked as I gazed/if their glory exceeds that of ours"... more of that sincere patriotism that you don't quite find anywhere else like in the midwest). And, oh yeah, Amelia Earhart - one of the American pioneers in aviation.

Unfortunately, The Sunflower State doesn't have any official state foods yet. But that won't stop us from celebrating at least two of their symbols...

C'mon, Kansans, let's call it a day and crack on with your cuisine!


A Kansas Food: Sunflower Seed and Honey Granola

The state flower of Kansas is the wild native sunflower (since 1903) and the state insect is the honeybee (since 1976). Since KS doesn't have an official food symbol (yet!), I thought I'd try and make a granola featuring both. 

Sunflower and Honey Granola
Makes: A. LOT.

Ingredients:
2 cups oats
1 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
2 Tablespoons brown sugar

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the oats, blueberries, sunflower seeds, almonds, and cinnamon together. Spread out onto a cookie sheet (to make it easy on yourself use parchment paper or aluminum foil, because the granola is going to stick to the surface).

Mix together in a saucepan the butter, honey, and brown sugar until everything's dissolved. Pour over the granola and using a spoon - or even your hands -, mix and squish everything together so all of the oat mixture is covered entirely by the butter mixture. Pat back down into a firm, even thin brick.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

After you've removed it form the oven let cool before crumbling/breaking apart. Serve with milk and berries (or however you please!), and store the remainder in an air tight container.




Sources:
Kansas Historical Society: Kansas Symbols