Welcome, dear readers, to a tour of the great state of South Dakota, the state of my birth, the refresher of my soul, and the setting to my book Amber Waves of Grace and the continuing sagas in the following sequels. For those of you who are natives to this great state, I hope you chime in on the comments section with your memories of each stop. To those of you who haven’t been fortunate enough to visit us yet, I hope you leave with a little taste of this endearing part of the country.
Our first stop: Eureka. This community weighs in at a whopping 800ish inhabitants, but don’t let that fool you. Upon meeting most people, they either have been there, know someone who’s been there, or have driven through it. Back in the 1800s, this little community was thee Wheat Capital of the World. That’s right! Originally called End of Track, this town was the hub of business, a bustling mini-city with every right to strut its stuff around the area.
As with most communities in South Dakota, after the railroad activity decreased, so did the population and commercial and industrial promise. But just because the population declined doesn’t mean the work ethic that drove it did. People living in this small town have a fierce dedication to seeing it survive and thrive. In fact they are currently building a new high school!
But that’s not the coolest thing about my hometown. It’s kuchen: a delicate crust in which a rich, fruit-filled custard nestles sweetly and softly inside. Hungry yet? You should be! Several years ago, a committee from Eureka lobbied the state legislature to make kuchen the state dessert, and abracadabra…kuchen is officially the tasty after-dinner treat of the state.
So thanks for Eureka’s predominantly German Russian heritage and several amazing bakers, Eureka put itself on the map. I’m okay with going from Wheat Capital of the World to Kuchen Capital of the State. It’s tastier, that’s for sure.
So the next time you’re going through Eureka, stop and grab some kuchen. Whether you like peach, apricot, strawberry, or prune (yes, prune), you will find a flavor to match your style and personality.
Please join me next week for the next stop on our tour of South Dakota. I believe we will be visiting the home of the Jackalope. Exciting stuff … don’t miss it!