Dishes in Middle America

Goals

To identify what food dishes have come to define the identity of states in Middle America, both historically and today. Middle America is defined as the central, midwestern, and southern states of the United States. Dishes is defined as recipes and combinations of food that are perceived as a meal and have cultural relevance to the place it is prepared and the people who cook and consume it.

Early Findings

  • Insights about dishes in North Dakota have been added to the attached spreadsheet.
  • Additional research can be conducted to fill in the spreadsheet for the rest of the states.

Knoephla:

  • Knoephla: Creamy dumpling and potatoe soup.
  • Still popular in North Dakota today, Knoephla soup originates in Germany was brought to North Dakota by German settlers. Even as late as 2009, 50% of people living in North Dakota were of German ancestry. According to Ben Myhre, whose family has long been cooking the soup, "all of the ingredients in a modern Knoephla soup are things that would have been available to [North Dakota] settlers and crops that woud have been stored in the celler for winter food."

Kuchen:

  • Kuchen: Meaning 'cake' in German, Kuchen is a thick custard pie atop a sweet dough crust.
  • In 2019, Kuchen was voted as North Dakota's official dessert. This dish is often served at holiday gatherings in North Dakota.

Proposed next steps:

You need to be the project owner to select a next step.
We propose additional research to continue filling in the attached spreadsheet. For each state listed in the spreadsheet, we will provide insight about two dishes: one dish that has historical cultural significance and one dish that has modern cultural significance. For each dish, we will provide a short description of what it is and an explanation of its cultural significance within the state. We can get started by first conducting research about South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas. 'Dishes' are defined as recipes and combinations of food that are perceived as a meal and have cultural relevance to the place it is prepared and the people who cook and consume it.
Alternatively, we can create a list of 3-5 dishes that have historically had cultural significance in any part/state/region of Middle America, as well as 3-5 dishes that have modern cultural significance in any part/state/region of of Middle America. For each dish, we will provide the following: 1) an explanation of what it is 2) an explanation of its cultural significance 3) any insight that supports the dishes popularity in the region/area. Middle America is defined as the central, midwestern, and southern states of the United States (i.e. ND, SD, NE, KS, OK, TX, MN, IA, MO, AK, LA, WI, IL, KY, TN, MS, MI, IN, AL, OH, WY, MT). Dishes is defined as recipes and combinations of food that are perceived as a meal and have cultural relevance to the place it is prepared and the people who cook and consume it.