St Louis Food Traditions
Every big city has its specialty foods and St Louis is no exception. I grew up in the St Louis area and have since lived in Kansas City and then Louisville. I can honestly say, its great to be home and have access to foods I grew up on readily available.
Since hosting the World's Fair in 1904, St Louis has been credited with creating many foods. It is said that the World's Fair introduced hot dog buns, waffle cones, cotton candy, iced tea and hamburgers to its visitors. These are all common foods loved by all, not just St Louisans.
I want to discuss the foods that are most likely only available in the St. Louis Metro Area and some are a Regional Company's specialty.
I think toasted ravioli is the most well known of St Louis's regional favorites. It is becoming available in markets on a national level. For those of you who don't know what toasted ravioli is, I'll give a brief explanation.
Toasted Ravioli is said to have been created in the Italian district of St Louis called "The HIll." They are regular meat filled pasta but then dipped in egg and coated with bread crumbs. They are served deep fried for a crispy outside and with marinara sauce for dipping. A good sprinkling of parmesan cheese is bonus.
BBQ Pork Steaks
BBQ Pork Steaks are the grilled meat of choice in St. Louis. During the summer months, you can usually find a great special at the super market selling these delicious cuts of meat for under $1.50 a pound. That's when you stock up the freezer to prepare for the cravings throughout the year.
Pork Steaks, seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper, or for a real treat, marinated in soy sauce, cook quickly on the grill. A good coating of BBQ sauce tops off their piggy goodness, but if in St Louis, it can only be one sauce, Maul's BBQ sauce. This sauce is bit on the thinner side and when used for grilling it just clings to the meat and cooks into a sticky sweet coating on your pork steak.
St Louis Style Pizza
Not only is St Louis style pizza a super thin cracker like crust or cut into squares, to be a true St Louis pizza, it must have Provel cheese. What is Provel? Its not just an abbreviated version of provolone, its actually a shelf stable white cheese which is a mix of cheddar, Swiss, provolone and velveeta. It melts to a crazy creamy texture that St Louisans just can't get enough of. Imo's pizza is the local chain that makes it the best. This restaurant is also well known for their amazing italian dressing that is served on their house or chef salads also topped with provel.
I can attest, that when craving this pizza or their salad dressing, there are no substitutes other than a trip home.
Ski is a camping essential. It is a citrus soda similar to Mountain Dew, but is made with orange and lemon juice concentrate for a great fresh flavor. Ski was created in the 1950's and has a bottling plant east of St Louis. While doing my research for this article, I found that Ski is distributed in many areas east of the Mississippi, but I haven't seen it out of the St Louis metro area.
The best way to enjoy Ski is in the 20 ounce bottles. If your really lucky, it will have the pulp from the orange and lemon juice in the bottom.