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  • Writer's pictureLisa Hanly

Eating Missouri: A Culinary History Dinner (and book!)

While Missouri may be known as the “show-me” state, it turns out I should be much prouder and more aware of our rich food history. A new book, A Culinary History of Missouri: Foodways and Iconic Dishes of the Show-Me State, came to life for me through a delicious dinner hosted by the St. Louis Culinary Society. Deborah Reinhardt and Suzanne Corbett take readers through all the ways Missouri menus came to be and the many influences along the way – from Native Americans to the French to African American barbeque traditions.

Reading the recipes, I gained a better understanding and respect for my grandma’s use of hickory nuts and persimmons, along with a new sense of pride for her scrappiness and ability to forage every available ingredient on my grandparent’s farm.

Our dinner featured dishes from the recipes in the book, made by the very talented members of the St. Louis Culinary Society.


  • Appetizers: Eggplant Pate and Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms, plus award winning Baetje Farms Goat Cheese

  • Soup: Voyageur Rendezvous Soup – a delicious split pea and ham soup from Lewis and Clark’s Journal

  • Entrees: Chicken Spiedini and Beef “Olives” with Gravy

  • Sides: Garden Salad with Mayfair Dressing (a predecessor to Caesar…and just as good!) and Creamy Conchiglie Pasta with Tomatoes and Zucchini

  • Bread: Brown Butter Breads with Missouri Apple Butter (based on a recipe from Chef Rob Connoley of Bulrush restaurant)

  • Desserts: Flat Apple Tart, Twelfth Night King’s Cake and Peach Vignoles Trifle


While I was lucky enough to be invited to the St. Louis Culinary Society dinner and try all these fabulous treats, you can enjoy this fantastic culinary journey yourself by buying the book and watching Debbie and Suzanne when the St. Louis County Library Foundation’s Author Series features their book in a pre-taped segment at 7pm CST on Wednesday, December 8, 2021. Click here for details on how to view the program and click here to buy the book from Arcadia Publishing or here to buy from Left Bank Books, one of the best St. Louis independent bookshops! This book would be a great holiday gift for your favorite cook.

For more delicious home cooking pictures and recipes, make sure to visit and subscribe to Deborah’s award-winning blog, Three Women in the Kitchen.

If you are intrigued but don’t want to cook your own Missouri feast, I highly recommend dining at Bulrush, Chef Rob Connoley’s St. Louis restaurant. Connoley is a James Beard semifinalist chef and all the ingredients in his Ozark inspired menus are locally sourced or foraged by restaurant employees. Our meal there was a joy and his presentation of the dishes is like theater.


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