September 22, 2010

Chicken Dinners, Kansas Hunting Scenes and Murals


TASTES: When mentioning Kansas food, you cannot leave out one of the state's best known dining establishments, the Brookville Hotel (now in Abilene, boyhood home of Dwight D. Eisenhower and where his presidential museum and library is located). Brookville is famous for their family-style chicken dinners. In fact I don't think they have anything else on their menu besides their fried chicken and sides. It's a great place to take out-of-state visitors, and you'll get a bountiful meal served on their Blue Willow china. Check this link for their Sweet-Sour Cole-Slaw recipe.
Liz dining at the Brookville Hotel restaurant in Abilene, Kansas.

Dining in the Spirit of Kansas room, one of six rooms in the Brookville Hotel restaurant.

In the Spirit of Kansas room there are historical murals painted on the walls. I don't know what it is about murals in Kansas. As a child I was a bit scared of the mural of John Brown in the Kansas capitol in Topeka. The first mural features a fierce John Brown, not that he probably wasn't fiery in real life, but there was a whole bunch of controversy on the murals artist John Steuart Curry refused to finish. (Guess his depiction of a Hereford bull wasn't up to snuff.) Kansas is a state that takes its bulls seriously.

I remember when I was little and told to sit like a lady in a cafe with my grandparents in Leavenworth. It was hard to still still when my grandparents slowly sipped their refilled mugs of coffee and I had to stare at a mural of a buffalo hunt. I'd hoped for McDonald's but my grandparents thought that only sit-down establishments with real coffee and friendly waitresses were worth supporting. At my tender age I didn't know what was worse, drinking coffee or hunting buffaloes.

Kansas is a state where being in a room with depictions of animal hunts and eating food is not a big deal. (My dad's elk head is in my parent's dining room. I try to always sit on the side of the table facing AWAY from the mounted head. My mom usually decorates the elk for the various holidays, like a Green hat in March and tinsel in December. She's not totally enamored with the behemoth to begin with but trying to make the best of it.)

CHILDREN'S BOOK: Check out "One Kansas Farmer" by Devin and Corey Scillian and illustraed by Doug Bowles for more on facts about the state of Kansas.

SIGHTS: What I most like about my home state are the natural murals, the painted skies at sunset. Even on a partly cloudy afternoon the clouds look like something out of a painting -- I call those prairie clouds and imagine they've not changed since the day buffalo and Native Americans were the main caretakers of the Plains. But it's the awe-inspiring sunsets that make the state seem ever relaxed and comforting.

Check out more sights from Kansas here at Kansas Sampler that lists many categories of "Eight Wonders of Kansas." Not sure why eight is the magic number.


  1. Hi,
    I'm an avid reader of your husband's blog and when he linked to your's I figured I would come by and check it out. I'm glad I did. Both this and the previous post were a great read. The coleslaw recipe seems quite intriguing. I've never seen one that's used whipping cream before.

    It'll be fun to read your future posts on other states.

  2. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Tarlinian. Would love to hear your state's best recipe and state's fave book authors.