It’s hardly surprising that Oklahomans love their food. The Sooner State's folks will tell you - with some justification - that they offer perhaps the finest, homeliest American food served with the biggest, friendliest smile - starting with fueling up for the day at breakfast and ending with getting round the family table for fried chicken or barbecue in the evening.
In the heart of Oklahoma City's Stockyards (cattle market) is a locals’ favourite (always a good sign) - the Cattlemen's Restuarant. This is the place for for steak and eggs - and authentic western atmosphere. Those feeling brave should try the calf fries! And pretty much every town has its local - often family owned and operated - diner. Out on legendary Route 66, Lucille’s Roadhouse at Weatherford carries on the fine tradition established in 1927 by Lucille and Carl Hamons - great home-cooked food; hospitality and stories from the Mother Road, and great souvenirs too.
A trencherman's lunch is never far away in Oklahoma. Maybe it came to the UK as the Sub, but the lunch sandwich in the USA is much, much more. Myriad breads from rye to sourdough; muffuletta to pitta, filled to overflowing with turkey, cheese, pastrami and salad, reflecting the cosmopolitan origins of the US population, and designed to fill up for an afternoon’s work. Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies in Davis fend off the cold with their famous fried pies - they come savoury (for breakfast and lunch) or sweet (apricot to peach, apple to pecan) … or even sugar-free. Back in town, Oklahoma City also offers many a place like Cheever’s Cafe - a touch of elegance and a way with sandwiches, salads and desserts.
It’s hard to think of what says ‘ family dinner’ in Oklahoma more than fried chicken, and almost everyone has a favourite ‘breading’ (the ubiquitous coating). Both states are replete with chicken restaurants, and although menus vary, by far the most popular remains the deeply traditional chicken and mash, biscuits (actually, savoury scones) and gravy one. Barbeque is probably the main rival to chicken in the affections of Oklahomans, and Smokin' Joe's Rib Ranch in Davis turns out ribs, brisket and burnt ends - with a variety of BBQ sauces - to feed the memory as much as the appetite.
And is any Oklahoma lunch or dinner complete without a piece of pie (or cobbler!) to finish it off? Settle down to watch the sunset, wash your pie down with a steaming cup of coffee, and it’s a cinch you’ll realise - perhaps with some surprise - just how rich the food heritage is here in the heartlands of the USA.