After all of the confusion that ensued on twitter these past few weeks with the lack of pastie (the food) knowledge and with tomorrow being Packzi Day, my friend Lisa suggested that a Michigan/regional food theme may be appropriate. I happen to concur. The only problem being that having grown up with these things I tend not to think about them being regional.
So, after much contemplation of what I missed when I lived out of state, here are five of my favorite foods from my home state (plus 1 bonus).
This savory pastry entree came over to Michigan with the Cornish miners and grew to become embedded in the culture of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Signs for pastie shops are one of the first things you see once you’ve crossed the bridge. As a Yooper’s daughter I was surprised to discover that the dish was not better known when I wandered beyond the state boundary. If you’d like to try it out for yourself, I posted a recipe for them just last week.
In Southeastern Michigan Fat Tuesday equals Paczi Day. It warmed my heart to see all of the signage about it while downstate this past weekend.
So, what’s a packzi? It’s a Polish treat traditionally made on Fat Tuesday to use up all of the ingredients that could not be eaten once Lent began (like sugar, lard, etc.). These deep-friend, filling stuffed, powered sugar covered dough balls are by no means light in the calorie department, but worth the once a year indulgence.
This handmade confection is known statewide as being a special variety of fudge different from other run of the mill fudges you might encounter due to it’s stick to the roots recipes that work all the way up from scratch just as when it was invented. Read here for a bit of the history around the fudge’s rise to prominence.
This is another one of those brands that I didn’t realize was a regional food until I moved out of state. The news spread like wildfire amongst the Michigan students at my college when a few of their flavors like Red Pop and Moon Mist were spotted in a small Tennessee town not far from our campus. It was a limited variety of flavors, but we all knew there was no place like home to get the full assortment.
Candy, chocolates, dessert toppings and even coffee; Sander’s has it all. My fondest memories, though, are of their hot fudge ice cream topping. Sure you could get Hershey’s or some other topping at the store, but growing up we all knew that Sander’s was a special treat.
Koegel Meats – Most famous for their Viennas (natural casing hot dogs), this Flint based company has been in business since 1916 and is a trusted name in our area. In fact, I know people who literally will not eat any other hot dogs unless under severe duress.