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My Great American Road Trip – Kansas

July 30, 2020

Oh, Kansas, do I ever owe you an apology. I forgot about Kansas. I was all set to have a Kentucky specialty today. I’ll save the surprise for what it will, but I was convinced that Kentucky was the next state after Iowa. But then I was in a meeting and my colleague, the lovely Lona, who is waiting out the pandemic in Long Island, mentioned that Manhasset reminded her of her childhood in Kansas. And I realized there’s a Kansas!

I’ve never been to Kansas, but I have been to the lovely hamlet of Manhasset, and it holds a very special place in my heart. Not only does it have a fabulous shopping mall, it is the inspiration for East Egg (Port Washingtonstands in for West Egg), home to the tragic ingenue Daisy Buchanan, great love of one Jay Gatsby,   namesake of my beloved quarantine partner here in South Egg, the Great Catsby.  So if Kansas is anything like Manhasset, I love Kansas!

Kansas, the sunflower state, has a few iconic foods like barbecue and loose meat sandwiches that didn’t inspire and the sour cream and raisin pie that totally did, but I am trying to at least limit sweets if not calories during this boondoggle. One surprising thing I learned is that there are a lot of Germans in Kansas. Apparently in the 1870s a bunch of German Mennonites left Russia and settled in Kansas (not sure what made them go there, that required more research than I’m willing to do for this blog).  So a lot of iconic Kansas food is inspired by German traditions. Including the bierock, a little meat pie that is pretty much only found in Kansas, but it is found all over the state.

The bierock recipe I used suggested using frozen yeast rolls that you roll thin as the house for a meat, cabbage, and onion scramble.

Unknown-6.jpegThe meat mixture was easy-peasy. Just brown some ground beef and onion with lots of salt and pepper and whatever you want (I put worcestershire sauce in there). When it’s all cooked, you drain it, add in cabbage and stir til the cabbage is soft.

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The hard part is assembling the meat pie. You basically plop a bit of the meat in the middle and fold it into the flattened roll. I didn’t flatten mine enough, so rather than nicely pinched seams, mine was kind of squished together. Unknown-4.jpeg

Then you stick it in the oven until the top is browned, and serve with a little spicy brown mustard for dipping.

Unknown-2It was so surprisingly good. The yeasty roll got nicely crunchy on the outside and melty in the middle. I loved the cabbage in there. I really thought that it would be dull, but it was so much more than the sum of its parts. And I almost didn’t buy spicy brown mustard, since I got yellow mustard for my Florida Cubano, but it would not have been the same.

I ate it while I went back to watching Glee. My intention was to watch the whole thing start to finish, but there was a point that I realized why I never finished the series the first go around. I couldn’t do it this time either. I bailed out some time around the beginning of the fifth season. But, since I’m not a quitter (I totally am), and in the name of closure, tonight I decided to watch the series finale. The series ended in 2015, and, I suppose taking a page from the greatest finale of all time, Six Feet Under, they decided to show the characters a few years hence and how their lives worked out. Unknown-1.jpeg

In the 2020 they promised us, crazy cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester is vice president to Jeb Bush about to win his second term. I’m pretty sure they thought that was the most outrageous outcome they could predict.

Toto, we’re not in Glee anymore!

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