Indiana's Official State Beverage is. . . Water?

Indiana's Official State Beverage is. . . Water?
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2009

We made food history last week when Indiana declared the Wick's sugar cream as its very own State Pie. I celebrated the event by having my wife tell me I couldn't eat any because of my cholesterol.

I'm a huge fan of sugar cream pie, and beg my mother-in-law for one every Thanksgiving. She tries to get out of it, saying it's hard to do correctly, and she's awfully busy with the rest of the Thanksgiving preparations blah blah blah.

Occasionally we'll compromise, and she makes a pumpkin pie instead – a proper pumpkin pie, not the kinds made with cinnamon, nutmeg, and construction adhesive. But I'm in ecstasy whenever the pie is sugar cream.

Although a lot of the media laughed at our exciting news, we're not breaking new ground. Three other states already have a State Pie, Florida, Louisiana, and Vermont. Although Louisiana's is actually a State Meat Pie, not a dessert pie. This makes them the only state to have a State Meat Pie.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts refuses to commit to a State Pie by having an official State "Dessert" (Boston Cream Pie) instead. But I have to give them credit: they also have a State Cookie and State Donut. The country's only State Donut, in fact, and only one of three State Cookies (Pennsylvania and New Mexico are the other two). South Dakota has a State Dessert (Kuchen), as does Missouri. Sadly, the Show Me State chose the ice cream cone, but did not show us a flavor. Wusses.

Oklahoma has brought shame upon itself by not taking a stand on anything. They only recognize State Menu Items, like they're America's cafeteria. To be fair, Oklahoma did list the pecan pie, but still called it a State Menu Item, which immediately disqualifies it from all historical pie consideration. To make matters worse, the Okie state has also declared the watermelon their State Vegetable, even though it is most definitely a fruit.

North Carolina got a little too specific by picking a State Red Berry (the strawberry) and State Blue Berry (the, uh, blueberry). Washington picked a State Tuber (Russet potato), and Georgia has the only State Prepared Food (grits).

I was very excited when I learned Indiana has its own state beverage.

I was very disappointed when I learned it was water.

Water? Our state beverage is freakin' water?! That stuff that falls from the sky? The stuff you find lying around on the ground? I'm not a big water fan, but I do understand the life-giving qualities that water brings. It's just, well, boring.

Muncie Star-Press features writer John Carlson recently wrote an article decrying our state's choice of such a unremarkable drink.

Nebraska picked Kool-Aid as its State Beverage. Wisconsin's is milk, Maine's is Moxie, a local flavored soda. Even Rhode Island picked Clamato as theirs. (Okay, they didn't, but they should have. Theirs is coffee milk.)

But water?! It's so commonplace, so everyday. It's the white bread of beverages. No other state in the Union has picked water as their state beverage. Several have even chosen no beverage instead of water.

Carlson thinks beer should be our State Beverage. I'm like milk, although I could make a strong argument for beer. A strong, loud argument where I think I'm funnier than I really am, and ends with me sleeping on the State Bed, my couch.

I fully support Carlson and other Hoosier bloggers who want the pork tenderloin named our State Sandwich. I also support Carlson to have onion rings named the State Vegetable, although my wife says it should be corn, otherwise I'll have to eat Florida's State Vegetable, Lipitor. Soy beans, Indiana's other vegetable, should be the state's official Hoax On the Culinary World.

Carlson also wants the State Pickle to be fried dill slices. (State Pickle? I love this guy!)

But water? Seriously?

The cardinal is our State Bird (as it is for Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West-By-God Virginia). "On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away" is the State Song, and the peony is our State Flower. We even have a State Stone (limestone) and State Tree (tulip).

Yes, water helps the peony and tulip tree grow. The Wabash River is made of – you guessed it – water. And water even figures into the carving and shaping of limestone.

That doesn't mean we have to claim it as our State Beverage though. Why can't we pick something else with more character that reflects our Hoosier values and desire to have our own identity?

I'd even settle for Clamato.

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