Every state has their favorite things, and Kentucky is no different. There are a variety of different foods, drinks and social habits that we have become accustomed to. Were these wants to disappear, much of the Bluegrass State would be truly blue. For now, most of us are blessed and capable of enjoying a few things we love in life, and would be unhappy to live without.
Though worn for style around the world, denim jeans were initially worn on the farm for their durability. Good quality denim is the perfect attire for hard working farmers. I can remember my Mom feeling the thickness of the material when shopping during my youth.
13. Biscuits and gravy
This was one of my favorite breakfasts growing up, and still is. My Mom made the best homemade gravy ever, and now I make my own attempts. Some people like to combine all their breakfast food on the eggs, then saturate it with gravy. Others just like the biscuits and gravy alone. Add eggs, country ham or bacon, some hash browns and you have the breakfast of cholesterol champions, but it tastes amazing.
We love our barbecue, though the recipes vary. Some sauces have a more tomato base, some spice and vinegar, and others sweety and spicy. They all vary but each one has its own unique appeal. We use barbecue on everything from meats to corn to tofu, for the non meat eaters.
11. Kentucky bourbon
Not everyone likes bourbon, but it is one of the most popular alcohols in our state. Most Kentuckians are proud of our bourbon heritage, right down to the Kentucky Derby drink, the Mint Julep. Bourbon made in any other state just doesn’t taste the same.
There is no one recipe for Burgoo, as it is basically a mix-it-up type of soup/stew. Burgoo is a combination of vegetables, sauces and meats, dependent on the leftovers, or the budget. I have had Burgoo at least 20 different ways and each one has been very tasty. Barbecue Burgoo with chicken was mouthwatering, but some of the hearty beef versions are literally “melt in your mouth” good.
9. College football.
The people of Kentucky love their college teams, and football is at the top of the list. It is second only to basketball, unless something has changed. Either way, the Kentucky Wildcats and the Louisville Cardinals are the top dogs in Kentucky’s sports world.
8. College basketball
Kentuckians LOVE their college basketball. Many are proud of it, but no one can deny it, as we’ve made national media coverage on more than one occasion. There is likely no corner of the US with a television or internet where they have not heard of the Wildcats or the Cardinals. Our sports media is not always good, but it is usually memorable.
This is a stable bread in almost any Kentuckian household. We eat it with milk, beans, soup, gravy and pretty much anything else we crave. It is also wonderful mixed in with mac and cheese, as long as there is plenty of cheesy sauce. Try it.
6. Fresh fruits and vegetables
There is nothing quite like walking out to the garden and picking your own fruits and vegetables. You can eat them raw or cook up a meal, but you know everything that went into their growth. The abundance of rich farmlands in our beautiful state makes this possible. Thank you, Kentucky!
5. Kentucky Derby
Not everyone attends the Kentucky Derby, but we are ALL aware of its existence. Some of us even watch it on television instead of fighting the crowds. This single event brings an incredible amount of tourism profits to our state. All other events combined do not equal up to the Derby proceeds, nor the attention it brings to the Bluegrass State. We as individuals might be fine without this famed horse race, but our economy most certainly would not.
4. Hot Brown
Both the Hot Brown and Derby Pie melt in the mouth, but in totally different ways. Hot Browns have a warm, gooey cheese sauce with crispy bacon, toast tips, chunks of turkey and chives. Derby pie has a gooey caramel type cream, crunchy sugar glazed pecans and creamy chocolate. Both these are a necessity in my life at least a few times a year.
3. Chili with noodles
Most places we’ve visited that have served chili tend to add a few crackers on the side, and maybe a small dollop of cheese. Home style, we’ll throw in spaghetti or macaroni noodles, cheese, and then add a few crackers. Something about noodles in chili just seems right to Kentuckians.
2. Religious beliefs
Kentuckians are a God fearing people, for the most part. The Gods may vary, but we all have our version of a higher power. Even our roadside advertising will boast of God’s presence in Kentucky, and if you look around, its hard not to see it.
1. Sweet tea
This is a must-have for the majority of Kentuckians. There are a few that do not drink sweet tea, but their numbers are few. If you ever see someone standing at a restaurant in your state with a disturbed expression, likely they just found out the place doesn’t know what sweet tea is.
Each and every item on this list may not apply to you individually, but likely you know someone who craves at least a few. We are all unique, but growing up in the south just provides certain attachments. I will admit to getting that “deer in the headlights” look a few times during our travels. Sometimes we are struck with disbelief that everyone doesn’t understand the joy of sweet tea or cornbread. As Kentuckians, what things would you hate to live without?