Dining With Denise Neil

Website lists the Grossest Food From Every State, and the Kansas ‘winner’ is..

Anytime I see a list of the (fill in the blank) in every state, I have to click. I just have to know what they’re saying about Kansas.

And you know I clicked last week when I saw on Facebook a list of “The Grossest Food from Every Single U.S. State.”

It was put together by a humor site called Offbeat, a clearinghouse of other entertaining lists, like “42 Tragically Awkward Band Photos” and “27 Guys Who Got Stuck Somewhere Extraordinarily Dumb.”

You have to do some serious clicking to get to the grossest food from Kansas, but it’s worth the journey because the awful dishes served in states A-J are hilarious and horrifying – even though the dish chosen for Kansas is a bit of a head-scratcher.

It’s hamburger casserole.

“Unlike hotdish, at least you know what's in this,” the site reads. “That doesn't necessarily make it better, but at least you know. Look, we don't know what to tell you. There's a reason they call them ‘flyover states.’”

Ouch. Still, what the heck?

Raise your hand if you’ve ever made or eaten hamburger casserole – or if you even know what it is. I’ve lived in Kansas since 1977 and have been a serious cook in Kansas since the late 1990s, and I’ve never made or served hamburger casserole. The best I can tell, from a scan of online recipes, it’s an Amish dish made by cooking hamburger, noodles, sour cream, onion, bell pepper, diced tomatoes and sometimes corn together, topping it with cheese and baking it. The Eagle hasn’t run a hamburger casserole recipe since the 1990s.

Maybe they mean Hamburger Helper?

The list has several other fascinating entries. Some I agree with. Boiled peanuts are, in fact, gross. (Sorry, Florida.) And having recently sampled Spam musubi at a local restaurant, it’s definitely not my favorite. (Apologies, Hawaii.)

The list also had some downright shockers. People in Louisiana eat large rodents called nutria? Connecticut steams its cheeseburgers?

And some entries were just plain blasphemy. How can anyone think chicken fried steak (Wyoming’s entry), frozen custard (Delaware’s entry) or In-N-Out burger (California’s entry) were in any way gross? In any state?

Oklahoma’s entry was fried okra (eh) and Missouri’s was St. Louis pizza (wha??).

Take a look through the list at your leisure, and by all means, let me know if your Kansas family ever ate hamburger casserole.

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