Foods Indigenous to St. Louis

Executive Summary:

  • Sarkes provides a culinary tour of foods indigenous to his hometown, St. Louis, MO.  This was motivated by recent national headlines of the process of Bread-Slicing bagels which started in St. Louis, MO.
  • Missouri, formerly the Show Me State, is now know as the Shoot Me State or more recently, the Show Meat State for its legislation to control the labeling of Meat products.

The Sarkes Corner Editorial Staff, Business Bureau, Political Bureau and Florida Bureau have been working overtime with the antics of the Florida Cracker (aka Florida Man) and the antics of the Orange Marmalade.  As such, Sarkes is giving these hard Sarkes Corner workers some well deserved time off and has created a new Food Bureau.

The Sarkes Corner staff has been overworked, but they are NOT underpaid

“Many People Say” Sarkes, you were an Engineer at Missouri Science & Technology, where did you get your Journalism Acumen?  A little known fact is that Sarkes worked his way up thru the ranks of the Missouri Science & Technology Yearbook, the RollaMO, eventually rising to Editor in Chief of the 1974 RollaMo.  

The 1974 Missouri Science & Technology Yearbook staff, Sarkes is in the Center with a Pipe and David Shep Schepers is 3rd from the left in a Suit and Hair

But Sarkes digresses, back on point. 

“Many People Say” Sarkes, we’ve been to your hometown St. Louis, Missouri, and your people have some strange and interesting foods.  With that, Sarkes provides a review and explanation of foods indigenous to St. Louis, MO.  

Bread Sliced Bagels:  The process of bread-slicing a bagel has recently made National headlines.  The bread-slicing of bagels started at St. Louis Bread Company, better known as Panera Bread in the rest of the country.  Why bread slice a bagel?  Well, that’s anybody’s guess, but the most logical explanation is that by bread-slicing a bagel, one gets exponentially more bagel area to spread cream cheese.  One look at the rotund people of St. Louis would provide testimony to this.  Note, one does NOT Toast a bread-sliced bagel.

By bread-slicing a bagel, one can spread much more cream cheese

Toasted Ravioli:  Classic St. Louis Toasted Ravioli is made using a meat filled ravioli, coating it in bread crumbs, and frying until golden and crisp. Then it’s served garnished with fresh grated Parmesan and marinara sauce for dipping.  

Like many culinary classics, Toasted Ravioli was invented by accident.  Toasted Ravioli emerged in the Italian Hill neighborhood in St. Louis at a restaurant which is now called Charlie Gitto’s.  A cook named Luigi was making scaloppini with red wine, which is to say he was drinking red wine while cooking scaloppini. In his tipsy state, Luigi accidentally dropped some ravioli into the deep fryer. When he pulled them out, he tried to salvage them with a sprinkling of Parmesan.  They were sent to the bar as an appetizer and, as they say, the rest is history.

St. Louis Toasted Ravioli, don’t be fooled, they are called Toasted by are really Deep-Fried

Provel Cheese:   Provel is a white processed cheese invented in St. Louis, also by accident.  Provel is a combination of cheddar, swiss, and provolone cheeses which are accented with liquid smoke.  Provel has a low melting point which makes gooey.  Provel is used on St. Louis style Pizza, Cheese soups, and a topping for Italian salad.  Provel is popular in St. Louis but is rarely used elsewhere.

Provel Cheese, um um um, Sarkes eats it right out of the box

St. Louis Style Pizza:   One thing that Sarkes has learned from moving to the Gunshine State with neighbors from all over the country, is that we all embrace the Pizza of our hometown.  When Sarkes returns to the Shoot Me State to visit family, there is one mandatory task, which is the consumption of a St. Louis Style Pizza.  So what is a St. Louis Style?  St. Louis Style Pizza is: super thin crust, Provel Cheese, and cut in squares.  Sarkes is drooling now just thinking about the St. Louis Style Pizza.

When Sarkes visits the Shoot Me State, a St. Louis Style Pizza is a must stop

St. Louis Style Spare Ribs:   St. Louis Style Spareribs are the meaty ribs cut from the belly of the pig. The rib becomes a St. Louis Style Spare Rib by cutting away the hard breastbone and chewy cartilage, so the slab is more rectangular in shape and meaty.  The St. Louis Style Spareribs is heavily sauced with a St. Louis Style BBQ Sauce like Maull’s, a very sweet, slightly acidic, sticky, tomato-based BBQ Sauce.

St. Louis Spare Ribs covered in sauce, there is no better Rib on the planet

St. Louis’s Maull’s BBQ Sauce, like their commercials since the 1950’s say: “Don’t Baste Your Barbecue!….You Gotta Maull It”

Gus’ Pretzels:   A St. Louis tradition since 1920, Gus’ Pretzel Shop is located on St. Louis’s south side, in the shadows of the world-famous Anheuser-Busch Brewery, in a German neighborhood.  In the early days, customers bought their Gus’ Pretzels from peddlers who sold the pretzels on street corners.   Their most popular style is the Stick Pretzel.  Gus’s Pretzels can be bought outside Busch Stadium to take into the game.

St. Louies have been eating Gus’ Pretzels since 1920

Gooey Butter Cake:  Gooey Butter Cake is unique to St. Louis.  The Gooey Butter Cake is a flat and dense cake made with cake flour, lots of butter, sugar, and eggs. When baked the cake is typically near an inch tall, and dusted with powered sugar.  Gooey Butter Cake is rich, sweet, firm, and able to be cut into pieces similarly to a brownie.  The Gooey butter cake is generally served as a type of coffee cake and not as a formal dessert cake.

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake is NOT on the Weight Watchers Plan

Ted Drew’s Frozen Custard:  Ted Drew’s is a family-owned frozen custard company in south St. Louis.  The shop is located on the old US Route 66.  The signature dish is the Frozen Custard “Concrete” which is so thick that it is served to the customer upside down.  While Sarkes has no business eating a Ted Drews Frozen Custard, the countless times he has been to Ted Drews he has never seen a Frozen Custard slip out of the dish when served upside down.

There is always a line at Ted Drews Frozen Custard

The Ted Drews Concrete is so thick it is served upside down

Well that’s it for the culinary tour of St. Louis.  If you go to the Shoot Me State, take your bullet-proof vest and enjoy the foods indigenous to St. Louis.

Sarkes has always had problems controlling his weight eating foods indigenous to St. Louis