Kentucky, the blue grass state, is famous for its tobacco and its beautiful countryside, but the one event it is most famous for, is the Kentucky Derby. It is steeped in traditions and foods and the most famous jockey of course is Willie Shoemaker. He won more races than anyone there. There is not one person in Kentucky who doesn't know who Willie Shoemaker is. On the first Saturday in May, we are all glued to the television to see the famous "Run for the Roses."
Run for the Roses:
What does "Run for the Roses" mean? The roses are the beautiful blanket of red roses that are placed on the winning horse. Back in 1883 the first blanket of roses were used and it has become a tradition since. This tradition started when the socialite of New York started handing out roses to the women. Churchill Downs founder and president from that day on made this a tradition and his blanket of 554 roses were placed then and every year on the winning horse. Red roses are a tradition at the Derby and no other color will do. So many homes on Kentucky Derby Day have red roses all over their homes.
Besides the many traditions of the day, attire is most important starting with the "Hat." Being in style and wearing the most beautiful and yes sometimes the most outlandish hat is a tradition of the derby. Almost every woman at the derby will be "dressed to kill" and of course have her hat on. In the clubhouse and Paddock areas you will see more of the traditional style hats. You, know the home of the rich and on the main field is where you see the more outlandish styles of hats.
Along with some of the main traditions is the food. One of the main things the derby is know for is the mint julep. A Kentucky Bourbon drink with fresh mint and sugar over some ice. It is the official drink of the derby.
Recipe and traditions:
There are many traditional recipes for the day and none less famous than the Kentucky Pie. Kentucky is very famous for its cooking and its love of cooking. From hominy grits to its battered fried okra, Kentuckians love to eat. Their use of many different seasonings and many types of greens, all have its origin from Africa. The very famous catfish and fries to our own Kentucky Fried Chicken. No Derby would be Kentuckian without many types of foods.
Loretta Lynn has her restaurants and it is filled with those southern biscuits and gravy and so does Kentucky. There is nothing better than to wake up to some hot tea and a plate of biscuits and gravy. Traditions, culture and ways of the locals all make the Kentucky Derby just what it is, Kentuckian Pride and Love.
Kentucky Mint Julep
Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Henry Bain Sauce
Cheese Garlic Grits
Marinated Grilled Asparagus
As we think of the best traditions of the Derby none can surpass when the winning horse runs to the final stage and everyone screams and hollers for their favorite. As hats are tossed in the air and everyone hugs and kisses, this is what we love to see. Kentucky is about pride, about love and yes, about winning. We so love to win. Kentucky the Green Grass State, is all about what is good for all Americans, not just a few.