Michigan: The Great Lakes state complete with wonderful foods

Michigan and food.

Michigan is such a great state. We all know of Michigan history which is pretty amazing. Not everyone realizes Michigan soil is superb and to be able to grow the fruits, vegetables and grains we do has put our great state on the map. Michigan has more coastal region than any other state in the U.S. Our unsalted Great Lakes provide delicious fish for healthy eating. The amount of farms in Michigan provide us with excellent beef, pork, lamb and chicken. And our beautiful wild land gives many the opportunity to hunt and eat wild game. We certainly are lucky to have a beautiful and resourceful state.

Many recipes have been developed using our special crops. As I prepare meals for family and friends, I always try to find a special recipe that is a “Michigan Recipe”. Not only is this fun to do, relatively economical, but a great conversation piece. Below is a wonderful recipe for a cool morning. Make it the night before and heat it up in the morning. My children use to take the left overs to school for their lunch and eat it cold! ENJOY!

Michigan Baked Oatmeal

2 cups old-fashion oats                                                           ½ cup sliced almonds

4 cups milk                                                                              ½ cup dried cherries

½ teaspoon almond flavoring                                     1 large apple unpeeled, chopped

¼ cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a two-quart casserole or baking pan with butter. In mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Transfer to baking dish. Sprinkle top with additional almonds. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Serve hot, plain, or with milk, Michigan syrup, or fruit.

For those of you who have not been in Michigan for a long period of time, here are some highlights from the Best of the Best from Michigan Cookbook

  • Battle Creek, known as the “Cereal City”, is the world headquarters for Kellogg Company.
  • Traverse City is the self-proclaimed Cherry Capital of the world, holding an annual week-long Cherry Festival every year.
  • In 1945 Grand Rapids became the first city in the U.S. to add fluoride to its drinking water.
  • Apples are Michigan’s largest and most valuable fruit crop with a value of about $100 million annually to the apple grower.
  • Michigan leads the nation in blueberry production producing 32 percent of the blueberries eaten in the United States.
  • Holland is home to the world’s largest pickle factory.
  • One-fourth of the population in Metro Detroit claims German Heritage.
  • Michigan has over 15,000 acres of vineyards, making Michigan the fourth largest grape growing state.
  • The first flour mill in Michigan was on the banks of Cass River in Frankenmuth and it ran for more than 100 years.
  • Vernors ginger ale was created in Detroit and claims to be the first soda pop made in the United States.
  • Michigan is the home to the oldest State Fair, first held in 1849.
  • The Upper Tahquamenon Falls on the Tahquamenon River is known locally as “Root Beer Falls”.
  • The pheasant is one of Michigan’s most popular wildlife species.
  • Michigan Great Lakes are known for being cold and having delicious northern pike, walleye, perch, lake trout, smelt and bluegill.

For more tips on health and nutrition visit Michigan State University Extension website.

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