Georgians are affronted but politely just appear startled, having historically harvested the largest annual crop of pecans.
The nut is the second leading crop of New Mexico, but as the runaway leading state for chili peppers, it hums along.
Texans kick up the dust something good, however, having claimed the pecan tree as the official one of the state almost a century ago and holding steady at the country’s second-biggest producer of the nut.
The Lone Star might have bragging rights on always beating out their north-bordering neighbor on practically everything but just when they weren’t looking Oklahoma went and declared Pecan Pie as its state pie.
Oklahoma may only be the fourth-largest producer of the nut but the power of suggestion has made pecan pie ubiquitous in the Sooner State since 1988 when the state legislature approved it as the state pie.
Along with items like chicken fried steak, fried okra and sausage and gravy, it was named part of the official “Oklahoma Meal,” created by its restaurant association, pork and wheat council, beef commission and agricultural department.
Oklahoma may be singular in its establishing a specific set of foods as the “state meal,” but it was motivated as much by a desire to distinctly define its identity as more than the drive-thru country linking the South, Southwest and Midwest link as it was smart economics. As the official proclamation declared:
WHEREAS, a restaurant may offer Boston creme pie or baked beans, a New York steak, a Maine lobster, a Washington apple or Florida orange, New England clam chowder or California raisins it is just and fitting that the Oklahoma Meal should be made a menu option…
The Okie pecan craze post-dates the famous 1950s musical Oklahoma! about the state and thus, alas, missed out on being worked into the produce lyrics of the familiar theme song (“…barley, carrots and potatoes…spinach and tomatoes…!”)
Since then, from Baker’s Acres in Tishomingo to the Crooked Little House Orchards in Adair, you can’t drive too long without seeing a sign for a pecan farm or gift shop in a barn. You can hit up the Claremore’s Nut House for its Pecan Fest or take in the annual Pecan Prince and Princess coronation at Lincoln County’s Meeker Pecan Festival.
Nor need one ever be pecan pie-deprived in Oklahoma.
The state is still studded with roadside diners proud and happy to bake them for you.
Any number of outlets offer pecan pies by mail order, practically warm from its kitchens.
The variety of pecans grown in Oklahoma might not produce too different a taste but the sweetener certainly does.
There’s pecan pie recipes that use molasses as the syrup base, and brown or white sugar, but even under its soothing description as “white syrup,” the standard ingredient of corn syrup has increasingly left a bad taste in many a foodie’s mouth.
All the more reason to go all-Okie when it comes to Sooner Pecan Pie.
Despite the increasing number of choices it offers in mustards and preserves, ever since its founding in 1908 the Griffin Food Company of Muskogee, Oklahoma has offered its famous “Original Syrup,” an unusually thick waffle sweetener.
Although Griffin’s Original Syrup is sold outside the Sooner borders, it may be tough to find. It is soon to be easily available online, but at this writing one must email them to place an order, as in old-school 1990s style.
One other touch that seems prevalent among the Sooner Pecan Pie recipes perused is an imploring to be sure to chop the nuts up well into pieces.
Perhaps its not so much to distinguish it from those classic Deep South versions where all the pecan nuts are left whole, encircling the top in precise riows.
Seems to be more that the tumble of them all in the sweet batter brings out a nuttier taste to the tongue – a lot sooner.
And if you can’t get the Griffin’s Original Syrup, the old “White Syrup” will have to do.
Sooner Pecan Pie
½ cup of Sugar
½ cup of Griffin’s Original Syrup
2 tablespoons of melted butter
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 cups of well-chopped Pecans
unbaked 8-inch pie shell
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place the chopped pecans into the empty pie shell. Beat the eggs until pale yellow and mix together with sugar, syrup, butter and vanilla. Stir pecans into the batter, being certain they are all well-coated, then pour the mixture into the unbaked pie shell. Bake for 45 minutes or until lightly browned.
Serve warm with unsweetened whipped cream.
- Pecan Pie Memory… (lincolnrogers.wordpress.com)
- What is the best recipe for pecan pie without corn syrup? (ask.metafilter.com)
Categories: State Pies