If you’ve ever been to Chicago and wanted something sweet, you might have been surprised to find that the go-to isn’t ice cream or cookies, but popcorn. Of course, popcorn is beloved all over the world, but Illinois has been doing some fun stuff with it for a while now. You can get your classic buttery popcorn or something fun like caramel corn.
But if you really want to get the real Chicago taste during your movie time, then you’ll need a mixture of caramel popcorn and cheese popcorn. This, along with the addition of traditional season popcorn, was actually trademarked as something called “Chicago Mix” in 1988 by Candyland, Inc. The most famous place to get this treat is The Garrett Popcorn Shops which have been making popped corn since the ’40s.
Hawaii – Shave Ice
Talk about keeping things simple. When you live in a laid-back place like Hawaii, you don’t even want to work too hard for your sweet treats. To make some shave ice (no, not “shaved” ice), you shave a chunk of ice down into tiny little pieces and top it with flavorful syrup and other sweet pieces. It came to the small island state from Japanese immigrants, who called it Kakigori, originating at some point between the eighth and twelfth centuries.
These immigrants went to Hawaii to find work, also discovering a ready market for what became known as shave ice. It soon became a common sight all over the state and featured prominently when it came to trade agreements with the United States before Hawaii became an official part of the country.
Idaho – Ice Cream Potato
This is a strange one. Found from a couple of specific drive-ins, if you travel to Idaho you can get something called an “ice cream potato.” Before you recoil in disgust, let it be known that there are no actual potatoes in this recipe. It’s made by taking some vanilla ice cream in the shape of a potato, splitting it down the middle like a baked potato usually is, and dusting it with cocoa powder.
Once you add things like whipped cream and chocolate shavings (as well as almost anything else you could want) you have a treat that looks just like something that might grow in the ground but certainly doesn’t taste like it. All you really need is ice cream, cocoa powder, and your favorite toppings, so this is the kind of treat you might be able to make right now.
Indiana – Sugar Cream Pie
Indiana became famous for something called sugar cream pie because of one reason and one reason only – they were desperate. It was actually originally known as “Desperation pie,” because they wanted something sweet to eat but had little to make a dessert with. It doesn’t require fresh fruit or fancy ingredients. There are some more complicated versions of the dish out there.
But simple recipes will have you bake the pie crust, and then make a mixture of sugar, cornstarch, milk, butter, and vanilla extract. You’ve probably got all that stuff in your pantry right now! Heat all of that good stuff together until it’s in a boil, then reduce heat and stir until it’s thickened. Pour it into the baked crust, sprinkle with cinnamon, bake until it’s golden brown, and then refrigerate. Boom. Done.
Iowa – Ice Cream
Why yes, Iowa is saying what we’re all thinking: ice cream is great. It’s great! It really is. Unless you’re lactose intolerant, which means you can’t eat it without risking some bad time, but you probably still think it’s pretty great. The state of Iowa loves this frozen goody so much that it’s the ice cream capital of the world.
Specifically, it’s Le Mars which is the ice cream capital, since it contains the Blue Bunny ice cream parlor and ice cream museum. If you look hard enough, you might be able to find the fifty different ice cream sculptures that are scattered throughout the city. You can also, of course, get any kind of ice cream you might want to try, with any kind of mix-ins that you’re after.