Several of my favorite foods are not widely known outside of Kentucky or the southeast, which got me to thinking about all the wonderful cuisine that folks are enjoying around the country that I probably have never heard of. I'm curious about regional dishes that are family favorites for all of you!
How many of you are familiar with beer cheese, cream candy, transparent pie, bourbon balls, or Ale8-1 softdrink? These are popular to varying degrees throughout much of Kentucky. 2 of my sisters moved out west when I was a child, and I remember when they would come home to visit, they would stock up on cream candy from Ruth Hunt Candies, a local, small candy factory in Mt.Sterling, a small town in central Kentucky, and Ale8-1, a softdrink bottled here in Winchester, that is similar to ginger ale, but stronger and contains caffeine. They would often be sure to pick up some beer cheese too, which most groceries sell here.
What regional foods do you enjoy in your part of the country? If you no longer live in the area you grew up or once lived, what foods do you miss that aren't available where you live now?
There's a local restaurant here called Hall's on the River that is known for their beer cheese spread, where it's a favorite appetizer. It was sold at grocery stores through this area, well...it still is, but they've changed the recipe, and it's no longer very good. They've replaced the real cheddar cheese with that fake processed cheese food crap and it has that weird, goopy consistency of fake nacho cheese. What they serve in the restaurant is still the real thing. I was just searching for recipes and found this one, that I will be trying soon!
Most beer cheese spreads are available in hot or mild, and even the mild typically has a bit of bite to it. I find I prefer a bit of heat to mine, so I always add a bit of cayenne. It is traditionally served with celery sticks and buttery crackers, like Club crackers. I love it with potato chips. My dad loved it with chili, and it is great!
Cream Candy, or Kentucky pulled cream candy is one I've never tried to make. I don't have much experience with candies that require a candy thermometer. As a child I had a Sunday school teacher who was known for her cream candy, and she had the class over to her house once for candy making day. Once the candy was cool enough to handle after cooking, it's pulled, like taffy until it "creams". She had a large metal hook mounted on the wall, and would loop the big lump of cream candy over the hook and pull it over and over. Each of us were given a smaller wad of the candy to pull ourselves, but most of us ate it before it reached the creamed stage, LOL. Before it creams, its chewy like taffy, but after that magic moment, it hardens, but melts in your mouth.
I recall my mother saying she didn't make it because she felt like it required a marble slab (that she didn't have), to pour the hot candy onto to cool it quickly enough to handle and pull.
This recipe calls for maple or vanilla, but as I recall, it is typically the cream flavor you're going for.
Neal...What a beautiful memory that is and it sounds to me like you really liked your Sunday School teacher. I have never heard of Cream Candy, but that's why we have the regional recipe site! I LOVE it!
It's kind of funny. I walked through the house the other day and I could smell imbedded garlic and onons and I said to Don...this house smells like the houses I used to sell TV Guides to when I was 10!
I grew up in a really ethnic neighborhood and I had this extensive TV guide route. The Italians and Portuguese would answer the door and there would be a flood of garlic and wine smell. It was delicious! I would deliver to the Polish and Ukranians down the street and they would be making something amazing with cabbage. 40+ years later, I can still smell those beautiful amora's.