Kansas – The Amelia Earhart

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Today, we travel through Kansas, which presented me with the challenge of differentiating between the state and Kansas City, Missouri. Our focus is on the Sunflower State, so let’s pop some seeds and get right into things:

Motto: “To the stars through difficulties” – Nah, I’d rather take the easy route!

Food: Brought over from Germany, Bierocks are meat pie pockets filled with ground beef, onions, cabbage and spices. They are very popular in Kansas, with many restaurants having them on their menu. Some even call Bierocks the state’s official food.

Drink: The Icee machine was invented in Coffeyville, by Omar Knedlik, a Diary Queen owner at the time. The device allowed for frozen drinks to be served, later being sold to 7-Eleven stores, bringing the world the Slurpee. Today, Icee offers a number of products under three different brands, but has moved its operations to California.

Icee

Site to See: Monument Rocks (aka Chalk Pyramids) are large formations found in Gove County. They comprise one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas, which also consist of Mushroom Rock State Park, Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, and other attractions across the state.

Street: Wyatt Earp Boulevard takes folks through the infamous Dodge City, one of the wildest settlements of the Old West. Of course, Wyatt Earp is the legendary lawman who served Dodge City for a time. A bronze statue of Earp is located along the route.

TV Show: Gunsmoke began as a radio series, before being adapted for TV. The show is one of the longest running in history, airing for 20 seasons and 635 episodes. Starring James Arness as Marshall Matt Dillon, Gunsmoke outlasted 30 other westerns to hit TV screens over that time.

Movie: One of the most beloved films of all-time, The Wizard of Oz, is set in Kansas. “We’re not in Kansas anymore!” is one of the most iconic lines in cinema history, said by Dorothy Gale to her dog Toto, as the duo find themselves in the mysterious land of Oz, following a tornado that hits the family farm. Remember, there’s no place like home.

Wizard of Oz

Book/Author: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, is a non-fiction account of the 1959 Clutter family murders in Holcomb. The book has gone on to become the second-best-selling true crime work ever and is thought to be among the originators of the genre.

Fictional Character: On the lighter side of the Kansas literary world, Dennis the Menace comics are also set in the state. Dennis Mitchell, the young troublemaker and thorn in the side of Mr. Wilson, is from a suburb of Wichita. Despite his penchant for causing chaos, Dennis means well and he is only a kid, after all.

Fictional City: Smallville, home to Clark Kent and other characters of the Superman universe, is located in Kansas. In the Smallville TV series, it’s established the town is located west of Wichita and southwest of Dodge City.

Actor/Actress: Dennis Hopper was born in Dodge City. His most famous roles include Easy Rider (which he also directed), Blue Velvet, and Hoosiers. Hopper made a great villain, playing that role in a trio of 1990’s films: Super Mario Bros., Speed and Waterworld. Sadly, Hopper died in May 2010, following a battle with cancer.

Dennis the Menace

Song: Home on the Range is the State Song of Kansas, with lyrics written by Kansan Dr. Brewster M. Higley, in the poem My Western Home. Crooners Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra have recorded versions of the folk tune, as have numerous other musicians.

Band/Musician: It wasn’t difficult picking a musical act from Kansas, as one named after the state immediately jumped to mind. Kansas was formed in 1973, in Topeka. Best known for their hits Dust in the Wind and Carry On Wayward Son, the band is still performing together.

People: Iconic aviator, Amelia Earhart, was born in Atchison. She became the first female to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, both as a passenger and on her own. With all the mystery surrounding her disappearance in 1937, as she attempted to fly around the world, Earhart has remained an intriguing figure. The 2009 film Amelia, starring Hilary Swank, documented Earhart’s life.

Animal: Touchdown I to XI were real-life bobcats who were the animal mascot of the Kansas State University Wildcats from 1922-1978. This was after coach Charles Bachman renamed the team, ushering in the Wildcats era.

Amelia Earhart

Invention: The first patented helicopter design was developed by William Purvis and Charles Wilson, in Goodland, in 1910. While the project was abandoned by both inventors by the time the patent was approved, the work of Purvis and Wilson eventually led others to fully realize a flying helicopter.

Crime: Dennis Rader, better known as the BTK Killer (for bind, torture, kill), murdered 10 people in Wichita between 1974 and 1991. Rader taunted police with a series of letters, describing the crimes. He was eventually arrested in 2005 and pled guilty, receiving a punishment of 10 consecutive life sentences. Also from Kansas, the Bloody Benders were America’s first serial killer family, with a body count of more than 20 between 1869 to 1873.

Law: At one point, it was illegal to serve ice cream on cherry pie. Poor, poor, cherries, always the victims of discrimination.

Sports Team: NCAA basketballs squads, including the University of Kansas Jayhawks and Kansas State University Wildcats, are the most popular sporting outlet in the state. Kansans also support the teams of Kansas City, Missouri, with stadiums located close to the Kansas border.

Helicopter

Athlete: Pro Football Hall of Fame running back, Barry Sanders, was born in Wichita. Over a 10-year career, Sanders was a Pro Bowl selection every season he played, earning the NFL’s MVP award in 1997. Sanders surprisingly retired in 1999, at the age of 30 and still healthy. He is thought to be one of the greatest running backs ever.

Famous Home: Technically a home to those incarcerated there, Leavenworth Penitentiary was opened in 1903, as one of three original federal prisons built across the U.S. Famous inmates have included gangster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, NFL star Michael Vick and James Earl Ray, who assassinated Martin Luther King Jr.

Urban Legend: Fort Leavenworth has been called the “most haunted army base in the United States”, thanks to sites such as the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery and the demolished United States Disciplinary Barracks. Hauntings include the ghost of Catherine Sutter searching the cemetery for her missing son and daughter and phone calls being traced back to a barracks tower that had no phone line, following the suicide of a soldier there.

Museum: In Topeka, folks can find the Evel Knievel Museum, which houses the largest collection of memorabilia for the famous daredevil, as well as interactive exhibits, allowing visitors to experience virtual reality stunt jumps. If that’s not your type of thing, there’s also the Kansas Barbed Wire Museum, in La Crosse.

Evel-Knievel

Firsts: Actress Hattie McDaniel, born in Wichita, was the first African-American to win an Oscar, thanks to her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind. Perhaps even more notable, McDaniel was the first woman to sing over the radio in the U.S.

Company: AMC Theatres, the largest theatre chain in the world, is headquartered in Leawood. The company recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. Also of note, restaurant chains Pizza Hut and White Castle were both founded in Kansas, before moving their operations to other states.

Events: The landmark Brown v. Board of Education legal battle was launched in Topeka. The end result was the racial desegregation of public schools across the country. Monroe Elementary School, where the conflict first began, is now known as the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site.

Miscellaneous: Kansas is home to the geographic center of the United States (among the 48 mainland states). A small monument near the city of Lebanon marks this spot. The spot is used in the novel American Gods by Neil Gaiman, as a neutral place where warring modern and old gods can meet.

The Amelia Earhart

The Amelia Earhart

  • 2 oz Gin
  • 0.5 oz Maraschino Liqueur
  • 0.25 oz Crème de Violette
  • Add Strawberry Puree
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with a Strawberry Slice

It’s no surprise that one of Kansas’ most famous citizens would have a cocktail named in her honour. What is surprising is that there are so many variations of the drink, with largely the same result. I went with the most common of these recipes and it made for a good beverage.

Mixer Mania #40 – Endorsement Errors

Cherry Cola has been a Sip Advisor favourite since I was wee little sipper. Whether Coke, Pepsi or a no-name version, I just love that little something extra to my cola. In China, billionaire businessman Warren Buffett has been featured on bottles of Cherry Coke. A fan of the drink and shareholder in Coca-Cola, Buffett’s success is very much respected in China, so why not use the man’s likeness to sell soda. Here are some other interesting celebrity endorsement relationships:

Hulk Hogan – Pastamania

If there’s money to be made, you’ll probably find Hulk Hogan sniffing around. Borrowing from his ‘Hulkamania’ aura, the Pastamania restaurant opened in The Mall of America in 1995, closing down in under a year. Some kids meals – for Little Pastamaniacs – did include Hulkaroni & Cheese and Hulkios, which is pretty awesome.

Ozzy Osbourne – I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter

The infamous rocker, best known for his excessive lifestyle of drug and alcohol abuse, was for some reason pegged as the face of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter for a time. I only wonder if he ever tried the spread on a live bat?

The Olsen Twins – AquaFresh Toothpaste

I suppose the American Dental Association was looking to get kids interested in brushing their teeth, so they pushed for companies to find younger spokespeople. Enter the Olsen Twins and their BubbleCool toothpaste. At least it’s not another video game, movie, or musical release.

Brad Pitt – Chanel No. 5

Keep in mind, this is a women’s fragrance… actually, that makes some sense. What better way to draw the attention of a prospective female customer, than entice them with the two-time People Magazine Sexiest Man Alive. Or, you know, you could try marketing the product with an empowered female figure.

Bob Dylan – Victoria’s Secret

After seeing the music legend perform this past summer and be completely unintelligible, it’s clear Dylan is in it for the money. Such was the case when he appeared in a 2004 Victoria’s Secret commercial. Apparently Dylan once said he would only ever ‘sellout’ to advertise “ladies garments”, so I guess he can be forgiven.

Donald Trump – Anything He Can Hawk

The US president has endorsed everything under the sun, from vodka to steaks, fragrances to teas, bottled water to vitamins, and the list goes on. If only he stuck to making endorsements, rather than running for office himself.

Penelope Cruz – Nintendo DS

Appearing with her sister, the actress loses a video game bet and has to suffer the consequences of dressing like Nintendo’s main mascot. Nothing is sexier than a beautiful woman outfitted as Super Mario, complete with thick mustache.

Mikhail Gorbachev – Pizza Hut

Personally, I think pizza sells itself. Certainly, it shouldn’t take a former Russian politician to get you onboard with the food. Appearing with his own granddaughter, and putting a final nail into the Soviet Union communism coffin, at least Gorbachev put his appearance fee towards his charity.

Mixer Mania #40: Scorpion Queen

Scorpion Queen.JPG

  • 1.5 oz Vanilla Vodka
  • 1.5 oz Coconut Rum
  • Top with Cherry Cola
  • Garnish with Maraschino Cherries

Another interesting fact about Cherry Coke is that it was first tested at the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee, before being introduced in February 1985. Check out the Sip Advisor’s past article about things we have World’s Fairs to thank for their existence.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This drink is pretty good, as one would expect. I didn’t have any Vanilla Vodka in my bar (bad Sip Advisor), so I went with regular Vodka and a splash of Galliano to achieve the right flavour.

Italy – The Winkle

Sicilian Slice

The modern pizza was invented in Naples, Italy and god bless them for doing so. Throughout the Sip Advisor’s life, pizza has always remained at or near the top of my favourite foods list. I don’t care that it’s not exactly a healthy choice and often falls under the junk food category… it’s god damn delicious!

The term ‘pizza’ can be traced all the way back to the year 997 AD in the city of Gaeta, Italy. Before that, flat breads called foccasia were garnished with a variety of toppings, but were usually sweet dishes, rather than savoury. In the 18th century, the people of Naples began adding tomatoes to the mix and thus the modern pizza was born, before spreading around the world thanks to Italian immigrants.

Pizza Gross

The thing I love about pizza is its versatility. It’s great upon first serving and a rare food item that can be better reheated later or even scarfed down cold, straight out of the fridge. It’s the perfect breakfast – especially after a night of hard drinking – as it doesn’t take much effort to prepare while you’re still a little fuzzy. Apparently, I’m not alone, as 36% of Americans think it makes the perfect morning meal.

As of 2012, there were 11,139 Pizza Hut outlets across 94 countries. Pizza Hut’s largest competitor, Domino’s Pizza, has more than 10,000 stores and is the world leader in delivery services. Along with these two giants are so many other companies hawking bread, cheese, sauce, and toppings, totaling more than five billion pizzas sold every year, with more than half of those sales occurring in the United States.

The largest pizza ever made weighed 12.9 tons and was created at the Norwood Pick ‘n Pay in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1990. The pie had a diameter of 37.4 meters (122 feet, 8 inches) and used 500kg of flour, 800kg of cheese, and 900kg of tomato sauce.

Pizza Win

The most expensive pizza ever made included ingredients such as sunblush-tomato sauce, Scottish smoked salmon, venison medallions, lobster marinated in gognac, champagne-soaked caviar, and even edible gold. Made by restaurant owner Domenico Crolla, the pizza was auctioned for charity and raised 2,150 pounds. The most expensive regularly sold pizza can be found at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant Maze, in London. Each serving will set you back 100 pounds, not to mention the weight that will be added to your waistline.

If you’re having a massive party, you could consider hitting up Big Mama’s and Papa’s Pizzeria in California, where you can purchase a pizza that measures 4’6” x 4’6” and serves anywhere from 50-100 people. Just make sure that competitive food eater Joey Chestnut isn’t on the guest list, as the dude set the world record for most pizza slices eaten in 10 minutes when he polished off 40 ½ slices.

Brooklyn, New York’s Scott Wiener (heh, wiener!) owns the world’s largest pizza box collection. As of late 2013, he has amassed 595 pizza boxes from 45 different countries. He only began collecting in 2008 after grabbing some ‘za in Israel and admiring the box there. Wiener’s favourite piece in his collection is a box from the Netherlands which features characters similar to Homer and Bart Simpson. Not content to just receive a certificate from the Guinness Records folks, Wiener has even released a book, Viva La Pizza, chronicling some of the world’s most artistic pizza boxes.

Pizza Simpsons

Pepperoni is the most popular topping worldwide, but so many specialty pizzas have popped up over the years thanks to this wonderful gastronomic invention. Let’s take a look at some of these “gourmet” options from around the globe:

Africa: The Africana pizza includes meat (ham/beef/chicken), peanuts, banana, pineapple, onion, and curry powder. I can’t say I’ve ever had a pizza with peanuts or banana, but it has me thinking about some of the combos the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came up with back in the day.

Australia: Known as The Aussie, Australian, or Australiana, this pizza takes your traditional base of marinara sauce and cheese, but then puts bacon and eggs on top. That sounds like a hell of a way to get your breakfast in at all times of the day!

Canada: The Canadian pizza isn’t very elaborate, combining bacon, pepperoni, and mushrooms. I think if our country had a do-over, we’d come up with something involving poutine, maple syrup, and hockey tape to hold it all together!

Pizza Turtles

Caribbean: I’m not sure which exact country you can attach this recipe to, but mixing barbeque sauce, chicken, pineapple, onion, and green peppers sounds like something I’d want to lay claim to if I belonged to any of these island nations.

France: The French pizza has seemingly normal toppings (chicken, mushrooms, peppers, olives) until you get to its sauce: Dijon mustard. While this would be something I’d try, Mrs. Sip would not be happy to find the yellow stuff on her meal.

Greece: The Greek pizza usually features olives, feta cheese, green peppers, and tomatoes… all the ingredients that make up a Greek salad. In the best scenarios chicken souvlaki is also thrown into the mix and if the Sip Advisor was running the show, he’d drizzle some tzatziki sauce all over that bad boy!

Indonesia: The Balinese pizza comes with shredded pork, roasted red peppers, and garlic. At least they’re not using the monkeys found all over the island for toppings… those little buggers may have attacked Mrs. Sip and I, but I still love them.

Pizza Dogs

Jamaican: Jerk Chicken is at the heart of this pizza, which frankly is Jamaican me hungry!

Mexico: The Mexican or Mexicana pizza usually involves ingredients one would find on tacos and other Americanized fare from the country. This includes ground beef, jalapenos, onions, tomatoes, chili, avocado, peppers, etc. The cheese on the Mexican pizza is sometimes modified to be of the pepper jack variety to help add another dash of spice to the recipe.

Portugal: Portuguese pizzas include Portuguese sausage, onions, and bell peppers. This pie may not be for the weak of heart.

Pizza Cat

Thailand: Thai pizzas are highlighted by Thai chicken and also include peanut sauce, bean sprouts, and shaved carrots. Pizzas may not be the healthiest of food, but that mix doesn’t sound as artery clogging as others.

United States: The Hawaiian is probably the U.S.’s most recognized pizza, combining ham and pineapple, but there are other options, including Santa Fe, with spiced chicken and the Californian, featuring club sandwich ingredients, such as avocado and bacon. The U.S. is also famous for all the different style of pizza, such as Chicago deep dish, Detroit twice-baked, New York thin crust, St. Louis rectangle slices, and New Haven no cheese.

Italy: The Winkle

The Winkle Martini

  • Muddle Raspberries and Sage
  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Limoncello
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with a Sage Sprig

Pizza should be celebrated, so why not observe National Pizza Month, which occurs every October in the U.S. You could also attend the annual International Pizza Expo, which takes place in Las Vegas every March. Either way, make sure to enjoy as much pizza pie goodness as you can and thank those crazy Italians for coming up with this culinary gem!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I absolutely loved this martini, although everyone I told to try a sip wasn’t in agreement with ol’ Mr. Sip. The Sage was a unique ingredient that I’ve never used before this. The Gin and Limoncello worked together in perfect harmony… kind of like cheese, bread, and tomato sauce!

March 22 – Southern Frost

Meteoro-losers

Straight up: I hate weathermen, weather reports, weather gossip, weather channels, weather balloons, weather vanes (also hilariously known as weather cocks), and generally anything else having to do with weather reporting or prediction.

Mrs. Sip, on the other hand, is always updating me on what the weather will be like where we live and most frustratingly, what it will be like during our next vacation destination a month before we’re set to be there (I think this trait is hereditary, so hopefully it’s not passed down to our children… *shudder* children). Weather guys and gals can’t even get their forecasts right the day of, so how the hell can they accurately predict what the weather will be like a month ahead of time?

Weathermen Wrong

In any other industry, if you were wrong more than half the time, you would be fired and never work in that field again. For some reason, meteorologists get a pass and I’m not cool with that. But what’s more bizarre is that WE KEEP LISTENING TO THEM! (And I obviously do not include myself in that “we” because I’m clearly in the small percentage of the population who has leveled up and evolved beyond weather reporting).

I say the only way to check the weather is to look out your own window and examine what the sky is doing at that present time. If you live in a stable environment, then this should be all you need to do for weeks at a time. I live in a volatile, urban, rainforest (kind of wish I lived in the Rainforest Cafe), where you can have multiple weather patterns in a single day. Still, the check-out-your-window process works fine for me.

No Rain Indoors

I think a fitting punishment for all weathermen would be for them to be sucked into their own green screens and be mauled by the various monsters that have come to life thanks to CGI special effects. The hotties that are put into the role of weatherwomen, regardless of education and training, can be spared, provided they perform their duties in the buff, going forward. Now there are some chances of precipitation I can get behind!

I can’t believe there’s a whole channel dedicated to weather. What do I care if it’s snowing in Eastern Canada or if there’s a heat wave in Dubai? The Weather Channel should be turned into another sports channel, giving airtime to games like Dodge Ball, Ultimate Frisbee, and Hackeysacking. It could be called ESPN Stoner and it would be a haven for advertisers like Doritos, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Red Bull (I may have said too much now. I call dibs on the sports channel idea).

Back to weather reports, I think we can all agree that it only provides entertainment to seniors and for that reason alone, I suppose we can allow it to continually exist. I have great respect for our elders and I want them to enjoy a happy retirement and twilight years… they’ve earned it. *Sniff* Now I’m getting all emotional. Let’s get on with today’s drink.

Drink #81: Southern Frost

Southern Frost Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Southern Comfort
  • Top with half Cranberry Juice and half Ginger Ale
  • Garnish with an Orange Slice and a Raspberry

Quite frankly, the only weather phenomena I want to hear about is one that I can drink. At least it will help me get through the daily weather report. God speed!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
While the drink tasted great, I was especially happy with the garnish job I put together. I’ve found Southern Comfort to be a really solid liquor contribution and the combo of Cranberry Juice and Ginger Ale works really well together.