The Kentucky Derby, the “Run for the Roses,” takes place on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. It is the first race in America’s Triple Crown of Thoroughbred racing.
But the Derby experience is much more than the race; it consists of more than 70 events that go on for weeks, including a steamboat race, hot-air balloon race, and several evenings of giant fireworks displays. The week leading up to the race is filled with parties and a festive Ball. This is where women dress up all week and on race day wear huge and beautiful hats; it is definitely a time for people-watching. If you can’t be there, watch it on television; the race is only about two minutes long, but it is the preparation and stories of the horses as well as the parade up to the starting gate and the playing of “My Old Kentucky Home” that makes the day so special to watch, definitely a part of American history.
What cannot go overlooked is Derby cuisine; “Hot Brown” sandwiches are probably the most famous, along with a classic mint julep. Right behind it is a heavenly chocolate-pecan pie. Most Kentuckians cannot imagine Derby Day without a thick meat and vegetable stew called burgoo that is served from massive iron pots along with Spoon Bread.
Below are the recipes for Spoon Bread, a specialty throughout the South, and beef tenderloin with a special sauce that became famous in a club in Louisville and is served in almost every restaurant.
Even if you are not going to the Kentucky Derby, you can enjoy these foods made famous there.
Hickory Grilled Beef with Henry Bain Sauce
Henry Bain Sauce
This zesty sauce, created in 1881 by Henry Bain, headwaiter of the Louisville Pendennis Club, is also great with grilled steak, pork, or chicken. Do a web search for “Pendennis Club Henry Bain sauce” to read more about this.