Pure Michigan Pasties

Pure Michigan Pasties

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Did you catch this map floating around the Interwebs yesterday? It reveals more about our country than you might have originally guessed, and even more about whatever state you’re currently reading this from. More importantly, it reveals plenty about the vacation home choices that Chicagoans face, and the revelation isn’t pretty if you’re one mitt-looking state. When I glanced over the states, I was mostly pleased with what I saw. Sure there’s that delicious six pound deep dish pizza hovering over Illinois. And the ribs over Kansas. And the cheese steak over Pennsylvania that mocks my nascent diet with fatty deliciousness. Then there’s the ubiquitous cheese over Wisconsin looking all round and salty and tempting. All seem normal and perfectly fitting, except for one. I looked at Michigan, and I see some blob of dough that resembles a giant empanada or perhaps a calzone. I thought it might be a poorly made and fried pierogie. Stuffed with mashed potatoes I figured. Maybe onions too. Then I thought perhaps it’s something sweet, like an apple stuffed pastry, which sounds delicious. I was bothered by this fried mass, and so I took to the interweb once again to figure out just what this hellatious Michigan born item really was.

It turns out it’s a pastie. Not a pastry, but a pastie. Like the thing that Janet Jackson employed during her infamous wardrobe malfunction, but large and stuffed with rutabaga. That’s right, rutabaga. I love food (more on that later), and even I don’t really know what a rutabaga is. Go ahead, draw one right now. See what I mean? If you’re marooned in northern Michigan, through either bad luck or bad decision making, like what happens to those people on I Shouldn’t Be Alive, legend has it that you stuff some vegetables into this breaded pouch, and call it a pastie. It’s like a hot pocket for Michiganders and I don’t like it one bit. Not only do I not like it, but Wisconsin as a whole doesn’t like it, and neither should you.

The ethereal wheel of cheese hovering over Wisconsin should be of greater interest. For cheese signifies dairy, and with it comes milk, butter, cream, and of course, ice cream. Man cannot live on pastie alone, but he probably could live comfortably on the gifts that cows generously give us. Love coffee? We have more than enough cream to take the acidic edge off. Try stirring a pastie into your coffee. In need of a cool, refreshing, creamy frozen treat? You’re not going to be able to satisfy that with a pastie, even if it is blended and frozen. Culver’s will never feature the pastie as a flavor of the day. No one ever made a grilled-pastie sandwich, but to call a grilled cheese with Pleasant Ridge Reserve divine is a sorry understatement. A dollop of butter can make every sauce velvety smooth, but a chunk of dry pastie would only turn a sauce into a rutabaga-based glue. Michigan, you and your pastie disgust me.

To make matters worse, I heard Tim Allen again this morning. He wasn’t hawking Chevy’s or Campbell’s soup this time, even though those companies probably pay their bills a bit quicker than Michigan does. He was talking about snow. And winter. And Michigan. And uttering some nonsensical line about your heart melting when you see a snowman. In Wisconsin, Tim, when we see a snowman our hearts grow cold, for it signifies not a jolly snow creation, but a painful reminder that summer is still many weeks away. But when we see that snowman melt, when his sorry carrot nose and his mischievous coal eyes lie on the ground waiting to be crushed under our collective feet, it’s then that we know another Lake Geneva summer isn’t far behind. And that’s when our heart is warmed.

Lake Geneva, hater of snowmen and pasties since John Brink first saw the Geneva Lake and shortly after told Chief Big Foot, “we’ll take it from here

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