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Jan 15, 2007 02:32 PM

What to eat in Michigan?

Hi, I am doing some research. What do people eat in Michigan that is unique to the area? Please be as specific as possible.
Thanks so much

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  1. You may be interested in the recent Chowhound thread on Detroit and Michigan food traditions at

    1. I'm from california but was researching in the U.P. and was impressed with the variety of Cornish pasties - the bakeries and places serving them as ubiquitous as hamburger stands in other parts of the country. ANd very well-made.

      As well, got some thimbleberry jam which was great - a small wild raspberry. worth the effort.

      otherwise - in general, the freshwater fish like the whitefish, the walleye/pickerel (american sander) were good and often the only fish available. wild rice was more widely seen than I'm used to seeing.

      As well, cherry products, cherry cider, pie, more common in Michigan.

      If you go over the border to bayfield wi, though, you will find whitefish boils and whitefish livers, both of which are quite good. Perhaps they are also available in upper michigan.

      1. Pasties. But only in the U.P. I was driving west on Route 2 and had a craving for a pasty. It was early in the day and most pasty shops were closed. By the time I got to Ironwood (about as close to the Wisconsin border as you can get and still be in the U.P.), I was famished. Exit, stage right, to Joes Pasty Shop.
        Hot pasties, right out of the oven. Having spent a year at Michigan Tech, I knew a good pasty by the splendid aroma wafting through my olfactory organ. Yes sir. I'd like a Cornish Pasty, please. It was the best I'd ever had. But then, I was in a severe state of pasty deprivation. Still, it'd worth a return trip, even it it is 400 miles out of my way. But wait.
        Joe will mail pasties to you. Oh, frabjous joy!
        I'll be on his mailing list.

        1 Reply
        1. re: fastfred

          I'm from CT but have been vacationing on the lake for 28 yrs...

          Just to follow up on what Jerome said....the cherries are HUGE in MI. They'll make anything with them....there's a festival every year in Traverse City honoring cherries.

          Also, lake perch...usually fried. Is it ever good!

        2. Actually there is a Michigan foodways exhibit touring the lower Peninsula, done through the Michigan State University Museum. They have a foodways specialist on staff. I know Chelsea was one of the stops. I just read about it last week --you'll get a scholarly overview of Michigan's traditional foods. Check out MSU's website.