Famous Food From Missouri

Slices of gooey butter cake on plates.

Guest post by Melinda Paulsell

Missouri is a beautiful state with a vast topography that ranges from the mountainous region of the Ozark Plateau to the rolling northern hills, with lots of flat farmland and river bluffs in between.  Approximately 66% of the state is farmland made up of almost 10,000 farms. These farms play an important role in the state’s economy. 

Missouri was initially inhabited by indigenous people prior to the European conquest.  The state was actually named after one of the most prominent local tribes, the Missouri.  The first European settlement was in St Genevieve on the banks of the Mississippi River.  Today, the largest cities are Kansas City, St. Louis, and Springfield

History of the Gooey Butter Cake

Sometimes the best things in life come by mistake.  So is the story of the gooey butter cake.  The origin of the gooey butter cake has been traced back to the 1930s era in St. Louis Missouri and the bakery of John Hoffman.  The story goes that his new baker got the ingredients of two separate cake recipes mixed up.  This was during The Great Depression and baking ingredients were scarce so instead of throwing it away, they went ahead and baked it.  The result was a surprisingly tasty treat that the locals seemed to enjoy.  There are two variations of this cake, the first is a more authentic flat, dense cake made from large amounts of butter and the second version (and perhaps more widely known version) uses cream cheese and a store-bought yellow cake mix for convenience of the home baker.  Its name later evolved and is now commonly known as the Ooey Gooey Butter Cake.

The first time I had a Gooey Butter Cake, I was hooked.  As its name implies, it is a gooey mess of a cake with a dense texture.  There are many versions of this cake: vanilla, chocolate, pumpkin, the list goes on.  They are all good and quite easy to make.  One of our local bakeries even adapted the recipe to make ooey gooey butter cookies.  So good! 

Square of gooey butter cake on a plate with a fork. Other plates have pieces stacked.

History of Toasted Ravioli

Toasted ravioli is actually not a “toasted” ravioli at all, as its name implies.  It is a ravioli that has been breaded and then deep-fried to a deep golden brown.  But “toasted” does sound nice, right?  It is typically served as an appetizer but many have it as the main course because it’s hard to stop with just a few.  

The origins of toasted ravioli have also been traced to St Louis Missouri. This time to a well known Italian neighborhood known as “The Hill.”  It’s creation was also thought to have been the result of a mishap when a ravioli was accidentally dropped into a fryer.

There are several variations of toasted ravioli but the most common are cheese or meat-filled.  It is usually topped with parmesan cheese and served with a side of marinara.  I have had countless toasted ravioli in my life as it is one of my favorite appetizers when I go to an Italian restaurant.  They are totally addicting.  Nowadays, you can even find them frozen in your local grocers’ section here in Missouri.  

Toasted ravioli surrounding a bowl of marinara sauce.

Famous Food From Missouri Dinner Menu

Missouri State Facts

  • Missouri was the 24th state in the US
  • The Gateway Arch, completed in 1965 in St Louis, is the country’s tallest manmade monument,
  • The first public kindergarten opened in 1873 in St Louis.
  • Home to the Anheuser-Busch, the largest beer producing plant in the US.  
  • Missouri is known as the “cave state,” as it has over 6,000 caves. It is even home to a cave restaurant. 
  • Famous people from Missouri include: Harry S. Truman, Dick Van Dyke, Sheryl Crow

About the Author

Melinda is a born and raised Missouri Girl and creator of the Missouri Girl Home Blog.  She is a wife, mother, physical therapist, and runner who loves a good dessert, DIY project, and holidays.  Missouri Girl Home features recipes, home DIY projects, holidays, and little tidbits for your home.  You can connect with her on Instagram @missourigirlhome

If this is the first state dinner you have enjoyed with us, check out our journey from the beginning, starting here.

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