Kansas - The Sunflower State
Official Motto “To the stars through difficulties”
Suggested Motto “Flatter than your average pancake”
Two Truths and a Lie
In Hutchinson Kansas, runners can race 650 feet below ground in an active salt mine. Helmets and flashlights are required to participate in this annual 5K.
In 1905, researchers at the University of Kansas were the first to discover a method to transform hydrogen into helium. Their discovery gave the U.S. a monopoly on helium and played a crucial role in the U.S. war efforts against the Axis powers.
The Flint Hills of Kansas are home to the largest piece of virgin tallgrass prairie in the United States. Geological forces left the area with uniquely shallow soil and protruding limestone which discouraged plowing. Grasses there can be 10 feet tall with 15-foot roots.
The Recipe - Whole Wheat Thumbprints with Ruby Red Jam
Kansas is wheat country. I legitimately confused Oklahoma for the Sunflower State and assumed “The Wheat State” was Kansas’s official nickname. Kansas leads the world, not just the U.S. but the whole world, in hard red winter wheat production. I bought a bag of whole-grain flour so I could celebrate every bit of this remarkable grain.
I hand-mixed a dough with butter, salt, sugar, eggs, and plenty of flour. The dough was crumbly, rich, and had a nice nutty flavor from all that lovely bran. It needed something bright to complement the wholesome and fibrous qualities of the dough, so I formed thumbprint cookies with room for a generous dollop of jam baked right in.
Kansas has no official state fruit, but my yard is located just 90 miles from the Kansas border, so that seemed like a good place to start. Raspberries and sour cherries combined to form a sparkling ruby red jam, a perfect ode to Dorothy’s technicolor shoes.
I knew these would be good because I made the dough before, but that ruby red jam worked so well here! I fully intended to share these with my coworkers, but my family had other plans and ate them all right up. Guess I’ll have to mix up some more.
Want to experience Kansas for yourself? Then Teresa recommends ...
Sitting in Allen Fieldhouse and hearing the fans sing “Rockchalk Jayhawk” was one of the most profound religious experiences of my life. I am not particularly fond of basketball or organized religion, but the energy and pride buzzing through those fans blew me away. Outside the court, Lawrence is a wonderful college town with great vibes and good pizza. After college, my sister lived in Overland Park, a swanky suburb of Kansas City. I always enjoyed visiting her hip apartment. She kindly hosted my bachelorette party there. (See picture)
To get a sense of Kansas and enjoy a good thriller read Truman Capote’s famous book “In Cold Blood.”
Time for the whole truth
Researchers at the University of Kansas first discovered how to extract helium from natural gas, but they did not perform nuclear fusion in their labs. The conversion of hydrogen into helium occurs inside a star’s core.
(By the way, you can click on any of the 2 truths and a lie statements to visit the source of the trivia)