Kansas is the first producer of wheat in the U.S.A. However, when the Mennonites came to Kansas from Russia in the 1870s, they found the wheat farmers almost starving.
Happily, each family had brought some seeds of the wheat they grew in Russia before migrating to the States. Their seeds took to the Kansas soil and their wheat crops flourished, making wheat growing possible again in Kansas.
Livestock is also important and Kansas is a top producer of beef. Other food and crops you'll find in Kansas are corn, sugar beets, oats, and apples.
Corn is often served on the side of a barbecue.
Kansas can claim some food firsts. As restaurant chains go, the first big food service chain in the United States, Harvey House, started with a restaurant in Topeka in 1876. Fred Harvey's restaurants were the first to offer quality meals in a civilized atmosphere to passengers of the Santa Fe Railroad. When Harvey had problems with male waiters drinking and brawling, he decided to try to get women to work for him instead. The waitresses he hired from the East became known as the Harvey Girls and they received much credit for civilizing the West. Many eventually married and settled down in the areas where they worked. Add another first, as the first Pizza Hut opened in Wichita in 1958.
There is no doubt Kansas is cattle country. Barbecue rules and you will find plenty of Kansans grilling pork, chicken and hot dogs.
Traditional breakfast leans on the bacon, sausage links, ham and hash browns kind. Baby back ribs and grilled pork chops are often in the menu. Other dinner favorites include fried chicken, hickory smoked ribs, meatloaf, chili, catfish, and, of course, steak.
Veggies served on the side will include okra, collard greens, black-eyed peas, green beans and corn on the cob.
…and food events
International Pancake Race, Liberal, where men - ladies have theirs in Olney, England - run 415 yards (379.5 m) with a pancake in a skillet, turning it over as they go. To make things more interesting, the course's contour is like an S. It takes place in February.
Historic Fort Hays Day in Hays. Plenty of history, including craft related demonstrations -weaving rugs, whittling- and food related demonstrations -churning butter, to mention one.
Recipes form Kansas
In 1990 and 1997 Kansas wheat farmers produced enough wheat to provide everyone on Earth with six loaves of bread. Imagine that! They produced enough wheat to make about thirty something billion loaves of bread.
Dinner in Rural Kansas is usually a family affair, opposite to urban Kansas, where the trend is to eat out.