Chicago Tribune | Craving: Foods of the Heartland-31 days of the Midwest's best !

Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune

One of Chicago's many contributions to the culinary world is this shrimp casserole dish, made with breadcrumbs, garlic, sherry and butter sauce. It was created in the late-19th century at the De Jonghe Hotel in downtown Chicago. You'll find a very good version at Stefani Prime, where chef Nolan Narut's shrimp de Jonghe ($19.95) features super-crispy breadcrumbs, a luxurious butter sauce, a bit of sherry and a generous amount of garlic. (Balance, Narut says, is crucial to this dish.)

- Phil Vettel

When it comes to food, Chicago has many claims to fame, deep dish and hot dogs being the top contenders. But if you widen the lens to outside the city — to encompass the vast Midwest — what do you find? A garden of veritable down-to-earth delights: corndogs from southern Illinois, cheese curds from Wisconsin, cherry pie from Michigan, provel-topped pizza from St. Louis. While you can drive in any direction out of the city and find some of these items, many Midwesterns have found their way to our fair city, serving up their tastes of home. And lest we forget, the melting pot that is the American experiment is still boiling away, with flavors from Germany, Lebanon, Korea, Ethiopia, Italy, Poland and more all making their way into our cuisine, our culture. During August, our "Craving" series celebrates food and drink of the Heartland. Check back daily for featured foods in this gallery. — Joseph Hernandez

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