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What’s a Juicy Lucy and Other Minneapolis Food Traditions

May 10, 2012 Le Cordon Bleu Minneapolis/St. Paul 0 Comments

What’s a Juicy Lucy and Other Minneapolis Food Traditions

Many people do not put Minnesota and culinary arts in the same sentence. For most Americans, Minnesota is famous for two things: cold … and more cold. Despite its seemingly never-ending winters, Minnesota has a rich food heritage that comes from two centuries of immigrants from a variety of nations. Ethnicities in Minnesota’s rich cultural heritage include Germans, Scandinavians, British, Italians, and Slavs. More recent immigrants include Hmong Laotians and Somalis.

So which of those groups is responsible for the Juicy Lucy? And which is responsible for the Jucy Lucy? Notice the spelling difference? An even better question may be: What is a Ju(i)cy Lucy? Let’s start there.

What’s a Ju(i)cy Lucy?

A Juicy Lucy, no matter the spelling, is at its simplest a stuffed cheeseburger with the cheese on the inside. These molten core burgers are usually served with onions, raw or fried, and a little mustard. This local Minneapolis legend has two restaurants fighting over bragging rights for whose is best and who invented it.

The 508 Club, which spells it Juicy Lucy, claims to have invented their super-cheesy cheeseburger in the 1950s. Matt’s Bar, which spells it Jucy Lucy, also claims to have invented their cheese masterpiece in the 1950s. There’s no real way to know which of these restaurants invented this Minneapolis culinary arts delight, but one thing is certain: both taste great! With what these two restaurants know about making tasty burgers, they could start their culinary academy dedicated to the art of the grill.

Other Minneapolis Food Traditions

Minneapolis-St. Paul isn’t a food Mecca like other cities like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, but it has a food culture that shouldn’t be shrugged off. Minnesota culinary arts are alive and well in the Twin Cities. Despite Garrison Keillor’s comic treatment of lutefisk (fermented whitefish) and hotdish (casseroles made of meat, potatoes, and cream of mushroom soup) Minneapolis is a great food city.

The Germans and Scandinavians have probably had the most influence on the cuisine of Minnesota with dishes like gravlax, kurmkake, lefse, sausages, and sauerkraut. Many restaurants in Minneapolis feature these wonderful ethnic traditions.

Minnesota is also known for many indigenous foods like wild rice, blueberries, bison, and Native American frybread. The state loves its blueberries so much it has named the blueberry muffin its state muffin.

Modern Influences

Today, two of the largest ethnic groups in Minnesota are Somalis and ethnic Hmong from Laos. Their presence makes Minneapolis one of the best places in the country to get Northeastern African and Southeast Asian cuisines.

And what round up of Minnesota foods is complete without SPAM. That’s right that gelatinous meat product was invented, and is still manufactured, in Austin, MN about 100 miles south of Minneapolis. Some may call it “Stuff Posing As Meat”, but its creator, Hormel Foods Corporation, has sold more than seven billion cans of SPAM worldwide since it went on the market in 1937. They just call it “money.”

So the next time you get a chance to head out to Minneapolis, first, go in the summer, and second, get yourself a meal in one of the best little food cities in the U.S.

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Minneapolis/St. Paul offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs in the Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota area. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Minneapolis-St-Paul for more information. 

Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at www.chefs.edu/disclosures. Le Cordon Bleu® and the Le Cordon Bleu logo are registered trademarks of Career Education Corporation. Le Cordon Bleu cannot guarantee employment or salary. Credits earned are unlikely to transfer.

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