Join us as we explore the culinary treasures of the Beehive State!
When you do an internet search for traditional foods of Utah, you will come across one recipe time and time again: fry sauce. It is inescapable. Fry sauce is made of equal parts ketchup and mayonnaise with pickle brine added to taste. That’s it. That’s what the internet would have us believe is the pinnacle of Utahan cuisine. But when Mark suggested we try recreating the traditional foods of the various states, it was clear that he intended us to dig a bit deeper than a no-bake sauce made from three separate processed foods. So here’s what we came up with.
I read an article that told of Utah’s friendly competition with a neighboring state over who produced the sweetest, most flavorful corn. Since I have experience making quite excellent air fryer corn on the cob, and since I would have been damned if I was going to make fry sauce, I opted for the cob.
Above is my Air Fryer Corn On The Cob. I opted to use jewel corn to represent all the different colors of corn found in the beautiful Corn Palace, which it turns out is actually located in South Dakota. That was the first of my failures this day. My second failure was parting my hair like a badly aging Hitler Youth and allowing myself to be photographed. My third was cooking in an untested device.
Mandy’s mom gave Mandy her air fryer because she hated it. Well, I don’t blame her. I hate it, too. My air fryer will cook and gently toast an ear of corn in about six minutes. After that it’s simply an application of salted butter with an option of very finely ground black pepper, and the corn is perfection. But after over HALF AN HOUR in Mandy’s mom’s busted ass box of disappointment, the corn was finally minimally warmed enough to eat. Why Mandy’s mom chose to give this awful thing to her best child is beyond me. This is not something you give to someone you love. I could have made better corn with a hair dryer. Even still, I think Mark was kind enough to give me a pity vote, which was more than this dish deserved. Fortunately my fellow bakers were far more successful than I.
These are Mark’s Funeral Potatoes. Funeral potatoes are literally the only Utah dish I’d ever heard of before this bake, and I knew Mark was going to make them because I heard about them from him. They consist of thinly sliced potatoes with what tasted like sour cream and butter, topped with cheese, corn flakes, and something that looked a lot like granola. I may not know what’s in them, but I know they’re tasty.
I’m starting to think Mark suggested Utah solely because he wanted to make these.
I have to commend Dan on his Mormon Wedding Cookies. I roasted, Mark melted, and Mandy stewed, but Dan was the only one who actually baked. Well done, Dan.
I don’t know what Mormon Wedding Cookies are supposed to be. They look and taste exactly like Mexican wedding cookies, which look and taste exactly like Italian wedding cookies. And when I went to a traditional Greek Orthodox wedding, they had them there as well. They are little, slightly dry balls of baked flour and almonds covered in powdered sugar which, despite your best efforts to the contrary, you will inevitably inhale and violently choke upon. And then, when the coughing subsides and you can just barely catch a shallow, shaky breath, you will go right back to eating the same cookie that nearly killed you mere seconds earlier, all the while fighting not to once again aspirate microcrystalline glucose into your stupid ape lungs. Don’t feel bad, we all do it. It’s just who we are. It’s how we know that all human beings are essentially idiots.
Last but not least we have Mandy’s Pot Roast Stew. It was hot, and potatoey and carrotty and oniony and celeryey. But most of all, it was beefy. Redolent of good, hearty beef; hearty enough to keep the hungriest Utahn full in the belly and warm in the soul. The kind of beef that makes a man smile in the face of a cold Utah night, secure in the knowledge that he’s done a good day’s work and earned his spot in wherever the hell it is that Mormons think they go when they die. Strong beef. Proud beef. Utah beef.
Look, I’ll level with you, I don’t know what pot roast nor beef stew have to do with Utah. Probably about as much as my corn did. I don’t even know if there are cows in Utah. And I don’t care. Finding dishes that celebrate Utah cuisine is difficult. Nobody called me out on confusing the Corn Palace with the Mormon Tabernacle, and I’m not about to call Mandy out, either. She made a damned impressive stew, and she deserved the votes she got. And those votes earned her the title of this week’s Star Baker!
Congratulations to Mandy, and thank you all for joining us! Be sure to tune in next time when we head down South for a taste of Louisiana Week!
Until next time, bon appétit!