Oklahoma Food and Beverage
Oklahoma food and beverage can be tracked back to a specific day unlike most other places. On April 22, 1889 which was the first day of homesteading, where some 50,000 homesteaders swarmed into the area. Not only did the day give rise to the stated nickname; Sooners, it also marked the beginning of the food and beverage movement in Oklahoma. Okay, maybe I’m stretching things a bit, but looking at today’s numbers food and beverage is now the largest private industry employer in the state, so surely at least one of those initial 50,000 homesteaders had to have ambitions of opening a restaurant don’t you think!
At the time Oklahoma food and beverage was carried in the heads of the five major Indian tribes--the Creek, Choctaw, Chicksaw, Cherokee, and Seminole. These five tribes were primarily agricultural, raising corn predominately. They had recipes for sugar cakes, gingerbread, stew, and carrot fritters. Pioneer women of Oklahoma added in biscuits and corn bread. They also invented a stew of rabbit, turnips, and flour gravy. The combined grains of hard Spanish wheat with beef which soon became known as Oklahoma Stew..
Several ethnic groups settled in Oklahoma among which were Native Americans, African Americans, Germans, English, Italians, Spanish, Poles and Czechs. Each group brought some of their native dishes with them. With the strong Tex-Mex flavor base of the area the recipes soon blended into traditional Oklahoma fare.
Today the Oklahoma f&b lifestyle has come a long way. With culinary expertise showing up in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and many of the outlying cities Oklahoma is now pushing the envelope. Explore how Oklahoma food and beverage life is now transforming the state.
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