The Midwest (U.S.)

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

The Midwest (U.S.) is the area of the United States encompassing Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Long before this official definition, however, Midwesterners themselves were characterizing their region and its food. In 1842, for example, Mrs. Philomelia Ann Maria Antoinette Hardin published the wonderfully titled Every Body’s Cook and Receipt Book: But More Particularly Designed for Buckeyes, Hoosiers, Wolverines, Corncrackers, Suckers, and All Epicures Who Wish to Live with the Present Times, giving the Midwest its first truly regional cookbook. Hardin’s book, purportedly the first printed west of the Alleghenies, wasn’t a collection of recipes that she culled from cooks in the East Coast or England. She speaks to the stomachs around her, with recipes for “Hoosier Pickles” and “Buckeye Rusk.” Here is her recipe for “Wolverine Pudding”: A quarter of a pound of buiscets [sic] grated, a quarter of a pound of currents cleanly washed and picked, a quarter of a pound of suet shred small, half a large spoonful of pounded sugar, and some grated nutmeg; mince it all well together, then take the yelks [sic] of three eggs, and make it all into balls as big as turkey’s eggs; fry them in fresh butter of a fine light brown.