It’s not always easy to sell people on Oklahoma – the weather sucks, the politics are awful, there isn’t much to do – but one thing we got going for us is food, and lots of it.
In fact, we even have an official State Meal that has its own Wikipedia article and a TLO Ranking. In case you forgot, here are all the items that the legislature included with it back in 1988:
• Barbequed pork
• Chicken-fried steak
• Sausage with biscuits and gravy
• Black-eyed peas
• Fried okra
• Pecan pie
It’s a solid list, and many Oklahoma food staples are on it, but the culinary scene has changed very rapidly in the last several years, and not everybody wants to eat black-eyed peas and squash all the time now. We need to update the State Meal to reflect changing tastes.
Here are some suggestions:
Any proper multi-coursed meal starts out with a soup, and Phở is a classic that is bountiful in OKC. The rich broth loaded with star anise, thin noodles, herbs, and thinly sliced brisket is a treasure. It’s not exclusively Oklahoman, but our large Vietnamese population has made it part of our regular dining circuit.
Local Artisinal IPA
There’s gotta be a beverage pairing to go with your meal, and a hazy IPA is most likely gonna be six out of eight of the beers on tap listed on the chalkboard wherever you’re eating. I’m over them and just wanna drink lagers, but the way local breweries are pumping them out and flooding the market, it’s the new beer of choice for everyone else.
Yeah, this is a holdover from the existing State Meal, but if you’ve gotta keep a side dish, this is the one. It’s a hearty vegetable that grows plentifully in our harsh climate, pairs with everything, and – according to our readers – should be eaten by hand, or hand and fork, but probably not just fork. FWIW, this is the only thing that I can’t throw off of the state plate.
The Great State Fair of Oklahoma was canceled this year, but hopefully we get it back next year. No trip is complete without a stop by Dan’s for a big serving of fry bread, veggies, cheese and ground beef. It’s a quintessentially local food that deserves a spot on the State Meal.
It’s time to dethrone chicken fried steak. Del Ranchos and other CFS joints have been closing down right and left. Meanwhile, every other chain restaurant on 23rd street wheels and deals in deep-fried chicken breast. It breaks my heart, but forget it Jake- this is Chickentown.
Are you full yet? Well TOO FUCKIN BAD HERE’S AN ONION BURGER! Perhaps one of the most iconic dishes from Oklahoma, it’s a shock that this hasn’t made it to the State Meal. Guy Fieri will pull up in his fire-red convertible to slobber on one from Nic’s Diner, yet it’s not recognized as an official precious edible? We’re gonna change that.
At last, we’ve arrived at dessert. We’ve all had our orders fucked up by Braum’s, but the one thing they can’t ruin is the milkshake. Even if you get the wrong flavor somehow, it’s still rich full-fat ice cream and milk blended to perfection. There is no sweet treat more Oklahoman.
What are we missing? Drop in the comments with your favorite Okie dishes.