For over 140 years, the world’s premiere horse race has taken place in Kentucky: the Kentucky Derby, always the first Saturday in May. In that time, many traditions have grown up around the event: the roses, the hats, the Bourbon, and unique dishes served to people who come in from all over the world. You might want to try some of these out wherever you are in honor of the occasion. You know about mint juleps, but how about a Kentucky Hot Brown?
This open-faced sandwich was first served in 1926 at Louisville’s historic Brown Hotel and has since become a regional favorite, appearing on the menus of many local restaurants. Sliced turkey and bacon are layered on top of thick bread, then covered in cheesy Mornay sauce and broiled until the bread crisps and the sauce browns. The hotel still serves its signature dish to this day; re-create their recipe, or try a twist on tradition with this adaptation, which reimagines the sammy as a savory tart. If you’re looking to feed a crowd, hot-brown sliders are the perfect party-sized bites.
You’ll find plenty of other traditional Derby foods at mental_floss. Now, if you’re looking for traditional Kentucky food, just think beans, cornbread, pawpaws, blackberries, and Mountain Dew. Most Kentuckians are not wealthy enough to attend Derby festivities.
(Image credit: Flickr user Phil Denton)