On our way back from St. Louis on our recent vacation, we took the scenic way home via south-central Illinois, home of the horseshoe. I had heard about horseshoes and the concept sounded good but I wanted to experience the full artery clogging affair by actually eating one. So at an out of the way diner in Springfield, I ordered my first horseshoe.
A horseshoe is a piece of toasted bread with a hamburger patty on top. A layer of french fries is put on top of that and the whole thing is doused in liquid yellow cheese. The version above was the Philly cheese steak which had sliced steak instead of the hamburger and a generous amount of onions and mushrooms on top. I figured the vegetables were worth a few points in reducing the arterial damage.
Not really sure how the horseshoe got to be called the horseshoe, I asked our young waitress who told me that it was lucky I had asked her because she had done a thesis on the subject just last semester in college. According to her, a local eatery had wanted to cater to the cowboys and give them something that they might recognize. So they took a plate which resembles an anvil, put a thick slice of bread on it to represent the hoof, placed some ham in the shape of a horseshoe with some nails or french fries on top and cheese sauce. No word was given or at least my memory fails is one was on the meaning of the cheese sauce. Perhaps to represent the glue that is made from horses?
Anyway, I ended up getting the white sauce version of the dish which was a mistake. The yellow sauce on my wife's plate was much better. But the whole thing was still delicious and it is safe to say that I'm still kicking nearly a month after I ate the thing so perhaps there is a chance that I'll live awhile longer.