Can anything unite and divide Nebraskans quite as much as food? We all need it, most of us love it, but opinions vary widely on what, exactly, is the most Nebraskan food and who serves it best. We wouldn’t be so bold as to name a single food that’s more Nebraskan than all the others, but we’ve got a pretty solid idea of which foods every Nebraskan (and probably every other person) needs to eat at least once before they die. They’re listed here in no particular order.
1. Sweet corn on the cob
This seems like kind of a no-brainer since we live in the Cornhusker State, right? Pro tip: it tastes way better after you've hunched over the trash can in the produce aisle of the grocery store to shuck the corn before you bring it home.
2. Rocky mountain oysters
Half of you will wrinkle your noses in disgust and half of you will start salivating. You see, with so many cattle ranches in the state, there are a lot of...um, raw materials to work with. These are a staple of rural restaurant buffets, and we even have whole festivals to celebrate the existence of this delicacy.
3. Nebraska steak
Whether you're in the corn-fed or grass-fed camp, I think we can all agree that Nebraska steaks are hands down the best. Grill them at home or have someone else make them for you at a restaurant; they're delicious however.
4. Breaded pork tenderloin sandwich
If that patty comes even close to fitting in that bun, you're doing something very, very wrong. These patties were meant to look ridiculous on a standard size bun.
5. Dorothy Lynch dressing
...on just about anything. Admittedly, I've never tried it on desserts, but it's essential on taco salads, fries, chicken, steak, sandwiches...a million other things. You know how other states put ranch dressing on everything? Dorothy Lynch is our ranch dressing.
6. Fried morel mushrooms
Hunting for elusive morels is a springtime tradition in Nebraska. There's nothing more satisfying than bringing them home, frying them up, and not sharing them with anyone because you worked so hard to find them.
7. Fresh apple pie
Yes, you can get this literally anywhere in the country. But we think Nebraska apples make pie so much better. Pie made with apples you've picked straight from the tree tastes way better than pie you buy at the bakery...or worse yet, pie made with canned filling.
8. Rhubarb crisp
The one in this picture has strawberries in it, but I'm a hardcore rhubarb enthusiast - no other fruit sullies my homemade rhubarb crisp. But you won't be judged by Nebraskans if you want to go wild and throw some strawberries in there. Have some vanilla ice cream on top for an extra special treat.
This one doesn't really need an explanation. Go eat a Runza. Seriously.
10. Cheeseburger pizza
What do you do when you can't decide between your two favorite types of fast food? Nebraskans figured out a long time ago that cheeseburgers + pizza = never having to make that choice.
11. Reuben sandwich
This delightful mashup of corned beef (or pastrami), Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing, and sauerkraut on toasted rye bread is a true Nebraska original. We hear some east coast state is trying to claim credit for the Reuben's invention, but we know the truth.
12. Fresh fried fish
It tastes best when you catch it, clean it, and cook it yourself, but local fish fries and your favorite restaurant are also acceptable ways to get this delicious treat into your body.
Mmmm...these Czech pastries come in poppyseed, cheese, and all kinds of fruit flavors, and they're all magnificent. In my Czech family, they were a special holiday treat. Now it seems that more and more bakeries are carrying them, which is good for nostalgia but bad for diets.
14. Wimmer's red hot dogs
Wimmer's is actually no longer owned by a Nebraska company, but their bright red hot dogs are still a part of the Nebraska culinary experience.
15. Chili and cinnamon rolls
People from other states think we're crazy until they actually try this unlikely combination. The flavors complement each other so well that it's kind of hard to eat one without the other after you've been pairing them for so long.
What other essential foods should every Nebraskan eat at least once? Add your favorite to the list in the comments!
For restaurants that everyone in Nebraska needs to try before they die, check out this
list of 20 essential eateries.