Hoosier Hall of Fame: The Hoosier Food Pyramid
Famous (and not so) comestibles either invented or made in Indiana.
This story is part of Indianapolis Monthly’s 2016 Indiana Bicentennial coverage, which includes our list of the 200 Hoosier Hall of Fame picks, designated throughout highlighted or in bold. For more on this celebration of the state’s first two centuries, click here.
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Made in a century-old factory just a Hail Mary pass away from Lucas Oil Stadium, this purveyor’s dried 15 Bean Soup mix is the top-selling bag of branded beans in the United States.
If you can make it out of tomatoes, this Orestes-based processing company (with additional plants in Elwood and Geneva) probably does—and more voluminously than nearly anyone else: It’s on shelves in 50 states and 16 countries, and its share of the nationwide ketchup market is second only to Heinz.
This storied Greenfield meat processor makes all those old-timey luncheon meats your grandpa likes, including pepper loaf and “chunk braunschweiger,” which sounds like a movie character Arnold Schwarzenegger would play.
Rose Acre Farms
Headquartered in Seymour and with production facilities around the state, Rose Acre (or rather its hens) churns out millions of eggs annually, making it the second-largest producer in the country.
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Clabber Girl Baking Powder
Made in Terre Haute (and one of the oldest commercial food brands in America), it’s the stuff novice cooks always confuse with baking soda.
These tiny bottles of wakeup juice were unveiled in 2004 by Living Essentials of Wabash, Indiana. Certified by the FDA? No. Kosher? Yes, for some reason.
Introduced in Indianapolis in 1921 by the Taggart Baking Company, this gummy, pre-cut staple is responsible for the popular phrase “the greatest thing since sliced bread.”
Indiana’s official state pie, with Wick’s Pies of Winchester making the best-known.
Indiana’s unofficial state sandwich: a piece of pork pounded flat, breaded, and flash-fried—basically a German schnitzel on a bun. (Virtually every place that makes one claims to serve the best.)
The most familiar (and close-to-only) dish featuring Indiana persimmons. Ask your grandma to make some. But be warned: It’s “pudding” more in the Old English than Jell-O sense, like a super-soggy brownie.
Manufactured at a Kraft plant in Kendallville, which also turns out caramels and Marshmallow Creme.
The company packs a peck at its St. Joe facility, in all the standard varieties, plus mouth-puckering oddities like Candied Sweet Orange Chunks, Horseradish Chips, and Kosher Dill Tomatoes.
Basically chocolate-flavored Cream of Wheat. Originally made by Little Crow Foods in Warsaw, it’s now manufactured by MOM Foods—the people who make Malt-O-Meal.
St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail
The secret ingredient is horseradish, trucked in fresh and ground on the spot. Also ketchup. And sadism.
Kentucky Fried Chicken
Colonel Harland Sanders was actually born just outside of Henryville, Indiana. It’s like finding out Elvis was born in the Bronx.
Papa John’s Pizza
Though based in Kentucky, the world’s fourth-largest pizza-delivery chain was founded in Jeffersonville by “Papa John” Schnatter.
Steak ‘n Shake Steakburger
The credit card–thin item for which the chain—formerly headquartered in Indy—is famous. In the old days, stores ground the meat in sight of customers to prove the “steak” part.
Van Camp’s Pork and Beans
In its prime, the Van Camp’s company, founded in Indianapolis in 1861, was the Apple of canned food, while Pork and Beans was its iPhone. Today, after being absorbed by ConAgra, this former leviathan of legumes is now second in market share to Bush’s Baked Beans.
Orville Redenbacher’s Original Gourmet Popping Corn
The brand has since been swallowed up by a conglomerate, but for years, Brazil, Indiana, native and Purdue grad Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn was a made-in-Indiana affair. Valparaiso, site of the company, even has an annual festival to honor that fact.
Cranked out at Frito-Lay’s Frankfort East Plant. Want to eat a chip fresh off the line? Don’t. You’ll never touch the bagged stuff again.
Mikesell’s Potato Chips
Though the company’s based in Ohio, the chips are produced right here in Indianapolis.
This odd confection, which looks like a regular candy bar that’s been left in a hot car too long, was originally made by the Wayne Bun Candy Company in Fort Wayne. Everybody likes the maple version, but try the vanilla. Seriously, just try it.