Nestled beneath the surface of Missouri lies a hidden world— the Cave State. With a nickname inspired by its 7,500 recorded caves, including a vast network under St. Louis, Missouri’s underground expanse remains a captivating mystery. While not many people can access St. Louis’ caves, a trip an hour southwest of the city unveils the mesmerizing realm of Meramec Caverns and the 40-plus caves of Meramec State Park. Along the Natural Wonders Trail in Meramec State Park, visitors can enjoy the beauty of the autumn season before a short drive to the iconic Meramec Caverns, home to the largest cave west of the Mississippi.
A Tapestry of History Beneath the Earth’s Surface
Meramec Caverns’ significance goes beyond its geological wonder. In the 1890s, it morphed into an underground escape, hosting lively parties in its expansive ballroom.
In 1933, Lester Benton Dill purchased it and transformed Meramec Caverns into a show cave. A subsequent revelation in 1941 led to the unearthing of Jesse James’ hidden loot, elevating the cave’s historical significance. Today, seven levels of the cave await exploration, safeguarded by Dill’s descendants, who continue to preserve the captivating tales within the caverns.
The Living Chronicle of Meramec Caverns
The fall season brings an additional enchantment to the area, as the maples, ashes, hickories, and oaks take on vibrant hues. Guided tours show the subterranean wonders of the enchanting cave daily.
Above ground, the Meramec Cavern complex offers more than cave exploration. A campground and motel provide accommodation options, while adventurous souls can try out a zip line, climbing wall, and riverboat tours.
There’s something about grilled chicken that brings a smile to every face. While we’ve all had our share of KFC and barbeque grills, here’s introducing you to a very simple, straightforward, and delicious grilled chicken to sink your teeth into – Togo Grilled Chicken! An original recipe from the heartland of Togo, a small African country bordering Ghana, the Togolese love this recipe. Mrs. Essowedeou, who sells eggs and chicken to feed her family, tells us, “Sometimes all you need is good chicken to bring you a bit of joy.”
So are you ready to dig into this lip-smacking Togolese winner? This fuss-free recipe rests on a simple marinating of three basic ingredients- ginger, garlic, and onion. Bring on some cayenne pepper if you’re feeling hot; and to go really Togolese, shake on a mix of red palm oil, salt, and pepper. Marinate overnight for best results, and slow cook the chicken legs.
10 Chicken legs (other pieces will do as well)
2 Tbsp ginger, freshly grated
8 cloves garlic, freshly crushed
2 Tbsp red palm oil (use any other oil if unavailable)
Salt as per taste
Pepper and Cayenne pepper ( if you like it hot)
1 onion, chopped into large rings
Traditionally served with cornmeal cakes (called Djenkoume), sliced onions, and tomatoes.
Step 1: First, get your feet tapping to Togolese beats! Now rub on the first batch of ingredients (ginger, garlic, red palm oil, salt, and pepper/s).
Step 2: Next, toss in the onion and mix well in a large bowl. Let the Marinate sit for thirty minutes at least, and overnight if possible.
Step 3: Set the grill to medium heat (about 450F). Grill chicken till done, separating the onion rings. (You can also use an oven to roast the chicken)
Step 4: Grill onions separately so as not to burn them.
Your chicken is ready!
Serve on your table with Togo betas playing in the background. And watch your family break into a happy dance.