Michigan Food Ways Exhibit: MSU

Ann Arbor Food

Show Michigan’s ranking of certain foods by amount produced compared to other food producing states

Ann Arbor Food

Pasty Festival Mascot

Michigan Agriculture Stats.

Here is a picture from the Food Ways exhibit at the MSU. The exhibit feature cooking tools and gadgets from old time michigan cooks, and native americans, ranging from pottery, butter molds, squirrel gelatin molds, apple peelers, sausage stuffers, ceramic crocks and more.

There were a wide range of pictures and stories of some the cultural influences like this picture of the mascot from the Pasty Festival.

One of the highlights of the show was a rebuilt general store featuring a tour guide to answer questions. The store displays were packed with some of the same food brands that we still use today, like King Arthur Flour, and Jiffy Mix. The general store was also the post office, and sold clothes, horse riding equipment, sewing supplies, hardware, and just about everything.

For a food geeks like myself, the exhibit was great. On a local food perspective, what was interesting in the general store was the push for availability of imported foods like coffee, and spices for baking. Most of the food cooked was probably local like farm raised meats, and dairy, home gardening, hunted game and birds, fishing, and from local farms, but having a touch of cinnamon, or other spices was a luxury and I imagine many cooks enjoy the novelty. For myself, giving up spices would be hard to do if I were to cook 100% locally.

Immigrants often changed the culinary landscape by introducing their own dishes and either adapting recipes from what was available, growing what they could not find, or importing they needed ingredients. The climate of Michigan is similar to much of Europe, which aloud many immigrants to grow the foods that they were accustomed too. As a newbie to Michigan, I have to admit that I never had a pasty. But I have a plan to take a “Pasty World Tour,” of the UP next summer.

One things that stands out is that we as local Michigan foodies have the opportunity to both honor past food ways traditions, and to create some new ones of our own from our own food traditions that we brought here.

Ann Arbor Food

Ann Arbor Food

Old Jiffy Mix Box

Ann Arbor Food

Squirrel Gelatin Mold


Open Fire Toasters

Ann Arbor Food

Maple Taps

Ann Arbor Food

Old Vernors Soda Bottle

2 responses to “Michigan Food Ways Exhibit: MSU

  1. I’m curious about the top graph. Is that by lbs produced, lbs exported, popularity or what? And is there some reason corn and soybeans aren’t on the list at all? I can’t guess.

  2. Hi Maggie,

    Thanks for the comment. The graph at the top of the post shows Michigan’s ranking as a producer compared to other US states with regards to growing a certain crop.

    The chart only goes to 1-10, so both corn and soy would not be on the graph because Michigan is not in the top ten.

    I assume graph is suppose to be in pounds, bushels, tons or what ever standard of measure is use, but I cannot say for sure.

    I posted a link at the top with Michigan Ag Stats.


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