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Robert St. John

Restaurateur, author, enthusiastic traveler, & world-class eater.

We’re Number One! (again)

July 5, 2010

For the fifth year in a row Mississippi has been named the fattest state in America. I guess there’s something to be said for consistency.

While researching this development, I wound up at where Sarah Klein wrote a piece entitled “The 50 Fattiest Foods in the States” where she selected regional high-fat content favorites which represented each of the 50 states.

I don’t necessarily agree with all of Ms. Klein’s state selections, but based on this article, my home state of Mississippi should fall in the middle of the pack when it comes to obesity.

Take for example the first state listed alphabetically on the list— Alabama. The iconic fatty dish in that state is bacon-wrapped meatloaf. I love bacon, and I am a new convert to meatloaf, but looking at the photo in the article makes one want to resort to vegetarianism.

The representative food for Georgia was something called a Luther Burger— a ground-beef patty topped with bacon and cheese that uses two Krispy Kreme doughnuts as a bun. I learned that Paula Deen took it one step further and topped it with a fried egg. How can Georgia only be number 17 on the list of fattest states when they’re eating stuff like that?

North Carolina came in at number 10 on the list, but it’s understandable, because according to Klein, they’re eating something called Livermush. North Carolina might have been first in flight, but they’re dragging the bottom of the barrel when it comes to taste buds. Livermush is ground pig liver and pig head parts breaded with corn meal. No thank you.

In Mississippi, on the other hand— albeit a hand with chubby fingers— our statewide selection is an innocent little slice of Mud Pie. I don’t necessarily agree with that selection, but it is fairly innocuous nevertheless. Arkansas got catfish and Oklahoma was tagged with Chicken Fried Steak so we’ll take the pie whether we eat much of it or not.

I just thank the Lord that I don’t live in Michigan where the statewide food selection was a BLT loaded with a pound of bacon. I love bacon. I mean I really, really love bacon. But I can’t eat more than two or three slices in one sitting— and I’m a big guy. The BLT served at Tony’s I-75 has 192 grams of fat. Yet Michigan is only the number 11 fattest state.

Colorado, which is the healthiest state in America, was represented by Jack-N-Grill’s 7-Pound Breakfast Burrito, which includes a pound of ham, a dozen eggs, and 100 grams of fat. That makes Mississippi Mud Pie’s 24 grams of fat look like health food.

Klein missed the mark in several states such as Texas— home of excellent beef bbq— where she chose a corn dog to represent the Lone Star citizenry. In Louisiana, birthplace of the Turducken and several hundred very tasty, though very fattening foodstuffs, she gave a stereotypical nod to the beignet, which makes one wonder if the author ever wandered past Jackson Square during any of her trips to that food-filled city. South Carolina was tagged with Turducken on the list.

In some states the selections were obvious. Pennsylvania got Cheese Steak, New Hampshire was pegged with Clam Chowder, and Montana was labeled with Rocky Mountain Oysters. In other states Klein blew it altogether— Florida- empanadas, and Tennessee- a bacon cheeseburger.

Not only is Virginia one of our most beautiful states, and one that is only 31 on the fat-state list, it is represented by tasty, salty Virginia Ham which only has about eight grams of fat per serving.

In the end, maybe we top the fattest-state list because our food tastes so good. Pass the pie, please.

Chocolate Pie

1 cup plus 2 Tbl. Sugar
3 /4 cups Heavy cream
3 /4 cups Buttermilk
3 1 /2 Tbl Cornstarch
Pinch Salt
4 Egg yolks, reserve whites for meringue
3 ounces Semisweet chocolate, high quality
1 Tbl Butter
3 /4 tsp Vanilla
1 (9-inch) Pie Crust, baked

In a small saucepan combine the sugar, heavy cream, buttermilk, cornstarch and salt and whisk until smooth. Place over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil, whisking from time to time, allowing the sugar and cornstarch to dissolve and the mixture to thicken (about five minutes). Continue cooking at a low boil for an additional five minutes, whisking constantly.

In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks lightly. Pour 1 /2 cup of the hot mixture into the egg yolks and whisk thoroughly. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan and whisk over the heat until thoroughly combined (about 30 seconds).

Pour mixture into a mixing bowl, and whisk in the chocolate, butter and vanilla. Continue whisking until thoroughly combined (mixture will be very thick). Pour the chocolate batter into the prepared pie crust. Prepare the meringue and spread over the pie and bake at 350 until golden, about 8-10 minutes. Allow pie to cool completely before serving (refrigerate at least four hours). Yield: eight slices


4 Egg whites
6 TBSP Sugar
1 /2 tsp Cream of tartar

Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer. When they start to increase in volume, add in the sugar and cream of tartar. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.

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