Sense of Place: Flavors and Ingredients from the Midwest

The flavors of the Midwest are fairly close to those of New England. In both regions, the emphasis is on taking advantage of a short growing season and putting away for the winter.

Here in the Midwest, German and Scandinavian immigrants had the added advantage of rich soil and the space to raise livestock. While this wasn't a guarantee that you'd survive the harsh winter, you at least had a little more variety in your diet!

If there's one thing that can be said for the Midwestern states, there certainly isn't a lack of space!

In a land where you can see a storm front rolling in from 20 miles away, there was plenty of room for early American pioneers to begin raising cattle and other livestock. The rich black dirt guaranteed good harvests, and the lakes and forests were a ready source for foraged supplies.

What flavors and ingredients did these settlers leave as their legacy? Here are a few:

Fruits:
Rhubarb
Strawberries
Apples
Raspberries
Blackberries
Blueberries
Watermelon

Vegetables and Starches:
Wild Rice
Wheat
Potatoes
Green Beans
Carrots
Sweet Potatoes
Corn
Rutabaga
Morel Mushrooms

Meat:
Beef
Walleye, Perch, and other freshwater fish
Pheasant
Venison

Extras:
Cheese
Dairy
Eggs
Beer
Lutefiske--dried cod (or other white fish) that's been cured in lye and reconstituted in boiling water

What else would you add to this list?

Related: Sense of Place: The Flavors of Florida

(Image: Flickr members beckeramie, wonderferret, and karlfrankowski licensed under Creative Commons)

2 Comments