August 12, 2015


Statehood: March 1st, 1867 (37/50)

Recently I was in a very heated corn hole tournament; one of my competitors was exceptionally good and when I asked his friend why she explained matter-of-factly, "Because he's from Nebraska."

Me: "Sorry, I uh... I don't follow."

Her: "Nebraska's like the home of all things corn."

Oh. Sure. I guess that makes sense... right?

Only, if there's anything we learned throughout Eat The State it's that - what we know about a place isn't always the truth. Like - despite what the rest of the country might think, Nebraska isn't actually the leading producer of corn. Iowa is. Nebraska is right up there, too, but NB is known for some other very unique things. Like: some of the world's largest Woolly Mammoth fossils, Carhenge® (a Stonehenge replica made entirely from cars; created by Jim Reinders in June 1987 as a memorial to his father - and, unlike Stonehenge, admission is free!), and a strong tie to Arbor Day: it was first celebrated in Nebraska City in 1872 when more than one million trees were planted due to the efforts of J. Sterling Morton.

Air trumps corn, me thinks. So, thanks for the food for my lungs Nebraskans!

Now, we nibble on your notable nosh!

State Beverage: Milk

Governor Ben Nelson declared milk the official state beverage of Nebraska on September 10th, 1998. Makes sense give that cattle is one of the top commodities in the state. Since hamburger pizza is a local delicacy in parts of NB today we're paying homage to it via their state beverage.

Burger 'Za
Makes: 1 large pizza

1 Tablespoon olive oil
12 oz hamburger meat (we used Yves Meatless Ground)
1 pre-made ball of pizza dough, brought to room temperature
1 cup tomato sauce
1 1/4 cup Swiss cheese
1 1/4 cup mozzarella
1 cup sliced pickles
1 cup lettuce, julienned
1 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, diced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Add oil to pan on medium-high heat, then add hamburger meat. Saute for 10 minutes, then remove from heat. Next, work with your pizza dough: stretch out to fit pan of choice. Top with tomato sauce, 1 cup of the Swiss, 1 cup of the mozzarella, the hamburger meat, and the sliced pickled. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve with bowls of fresh lettuce and tomato for last minute topping!

State Soft Drink: Kool-Aid
Don't even pretend you didn't LOVE this stuff as a kid. You have Edwin Perkins to thank for inventing the powdered drink in 1927 in Hastings, NE. It was declared the official state soft drink on May 21st, 1998 by Governor Nelson.

Makes: many, many drinks

Orange kool-aid
1 bottle of red wine
1/2 cup of bourbon
2 lemons, sliced
1 lime, sliced
6 large strawberries, quartered
1 sprig of spearmint
1 cup sparkling water

Before assembling the drink, create Kool-Aid ice cubes by pouring orange flavored ice cubes into trays and freezing them. For sangria: mix red wine, bourbon, lemons, lime, strawberries, spearmint, and sparkling water together. Let settle in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours. To serve: pour sangria over four or five orange flavored Kool-Aid ice cubes. As ice cubes melt, your drink will become more and more delicious!

Hassler, Caitlin. "State Foods Book". Message to the author. 30 Oct. 2013. E-mail.
Arbor Day Foundation: Arbor Day Foundation Timeline