Everybody knows that Kentucky is home to some unique and beloved signature foods. Beer cheese. The hot brown. Benedictine. Bourbon balls. But those recipes take time. And love. And well-honed recipes. Sometimes, you just want to grab a quick bite to eat. Did you know that there's a whole lot of Kentucky history in your quick
1. Kentucky Fried Chicken. I honestly don't care who's playing the Colonel in those creepy TV ads this week. I do know that entrepreneur, restauranteur and erstwhile lawyer (he quit practicing law after punching a client in the courtroom) Harland Sanders took a common Southern delicacy, branded it with his image and Kentucky's name, and created a global icon. It's even served as Christmas dinner in Japan.
2. Duncan Hines Cake Mix. Your mama and granny probably have several boxes of Duncan Hines cake mix in their pantries for "emergencies", but did you know that, unlike his fictional counterpart Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines was a real, live Kentuckian? Which bring us to #3 on the list...
3. Duncan Hines Restaurant Guides. Bowling Green native Duncan Hines, while working as a traveling salesman, took note of places where he ate and lodged while on the road. His recommendations became so popular that, by 1935, a list of his top 167 restaurants was included in his Christmas card mailing list. The next year, he published Adventures in Good Eating, the first modern "travel guide" for roadside eateries. We can thank this WKU Hilltopper for helping us all learn where to eat while we travel!
4. Papa John's. Oh, Papa John's. Helping American college students gain the Freshman 15 since 1983. John Schnatter, the titular Papa, sold his Camaro to pay for the installation of a pizza oven in his father's Southern Indiana bar in the early 80s. Today, Louisville-based Papa John's is the third-largest pizza business in the world, with locations in Cyprus, Ireland, and of course all over the Bluegrass State.
5. Long John Silver's. The Robert Louis Stevenson-inspired name for this Lexington-based seafood fast food chain just barely beat out 'Limey's or Barnacle Bill's when the original location opened on Southland Drive in 1969. That's probably for the best.
Next time you need a roadside snack or a quick meal, remember that there's probably a Kentuckian to thank for it. Bon appetit, y'all.