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My Great American Road Trip – Oklahoma

September 15, 2020

Oklahoma – where the wind comes sweeping down the plain. And the waving wheat can sure smell sweet when the wind comes right behind the rain.

I’ve seen the Rodgers and Hammerstein take on the great state of Oklahoma many times, starting with my middle school production in, well, whenever it was a while ago. And I saw it in London in the 90s with Hugh Jackman and a few years later on Broadway with Patrick Wilson and last year in Brooklyn in a very dark adaptation where they served us chili and cornbread while we were challenged to rethink how kind of not ok a lot of the things were, even if they had catchy tunes attached to them. I’ve never seen the movie version, I don’t think.

Anyway, I’m sure people in Oklahoma hate it when you sing that song to them. And, make no mistake on my one very brief (like 5 minutes) time in Oklahoma, I did sing it. I also sang “What’s up Buenos Aires” walking through the streets of that city, so yeah, I don’t have a lot of shame.

I was in Fort Smith, Arkansas many years ago with the Boston Pops, with whom I’ve seen a lot of parts of this country that are not the coastal bits. At some point we learned that there was a bridge that was only about a mile long and on the other side of that bridge was Oklahoma. At the time, I thought that might be my only chance to get to the state, and I may well have been right, I haven’t gotten there yet, but I know have some friends in the state including the executive director of the Tulsa Symphony, who happened to be with me in Fort Smith that fateful day and who opted not to walk over the bridge with us. So it was my friend and colleague Susan and I. We walked over, took pictures that I can’t find under the sign that said “Welcome to Oklahoma,” looked at a used tire pile near the river, and then walked back to Arkansas. My only image of Oklahoma is that pile of tires. And of course a hawk making lazy circles in the sky.

I looked at a lot of different recipes for Oklahoma, but one thing came up list after list and that was chicken fried steak, also known as country fried steak. Chicken fried steak is a thing I’ve heard of, but something I’ve never eaten nor have I ever seen anyone eat it. I’m not entirely sure what the point is, but here we go.

The typical steak used is a cube steak. I’ve never heard of that actually. I got sirloin. You pound it thin and then go through the flour, egg, flour drill. I did an egg and milk mixture in one bowl and a flour, cayenne, and paprika in the next. You flour the meat, then put it in the egg then back in the flour and then into a pan with hot oil.

You cook for a few minutes on each side until the batter is golden brown. There is now way that I could find to tell how well cooked the steak was.

While the steak is resting, you get rid of most of the oil in the pan and add in some flour to make a roux. Then you put in some milk, salt, and pepper and whisk until it is smooth.

The proper way to serve chicken fried steak is with mashed potatoes and fried okra. I opted for green beans – not fried – since green has not been a big part of my diet through this project (c’mon states one of you have to be proud of your salads!).

I don’t know how it happened, but the meat was pretty perfectly cooked.

Chicken fried steak was quite tasty, and thought I got carried away with the cayenne, the spice was fab. But chicken fried steak also feels completely unnecessary. I’d rather just eat steak. But if I was a cowboy in Oklahoma (next life, fingers crossed) it would be perfect!

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One Comment
  1. Eric Bartels permalink

    I really like chicken fried steak.

    On Tue, Sep 15, 2020 at 7:31 PM Mountains and Moxie wrote:

    > kathleenjd posted: ” Oklahoma – where the wind comes sweeping down the > plain. And the waving wheat can sure smell sweet when the wind comes right > behind the rain. I’ve seen the Rodgers and Hammerstein take on the great > state of Oklahoma many times, starting with my middl” >

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