Thursday, December 11, 2008

Michigan vs Indiana

When I first moved to Michigan, I heard people talk about going Upnorth. Where on earth was this place called Upnorth? Then I realized it was two words: Up North and it wasn't a town, it was the entire region north of Midland and Bay City. You see, Michigan is shaped like a mitten with a scarf waving across the top. People live in the U.P. (Upper Peninsula), Up North, the Thumb or Down Below, which is what people Up North call everything not Up North, in the U.P., or in the the Thumb. The Thumb is the part that resembles ... well, you get the picture. I'm sure there are other parts of Michigan, but those are the main divisions.

People in Michigan have funny names and eat funny food. For example, people living in the U.P. are called Yoopers and most Yoopers like pasties. No, not those miniscule things that twirl and which, so I am told, are often worn by dancers in certain places not frequented or mentioned by ladies. I'm talking about the thing that makes up the main food group of Yoopers.

Pasties were introduced to this country by immigrant Cornish miners who worked in the copper and iron mines. They are sort of like western Kentucky fried pies, but with meat and potatoes instead of fruit. Maybe they would taste better if they did have some fruit, 'cause the way they make them in the U.P., they are good for nothing but bear bait.

Even though Michigan was the birthplace of Domino's Pizza and has 1,001 fine dining establishments, I was really glad to get back to Indiana where real food can be found every day in the local supermarket. Imagine my delight after returning to God's Country to find real pork brains ready for frying up for brain sandwiches. Another counter had dressed squirrels. I'm not sure those little skinned darlings were for sale, though. I figure some real smart hunter had placed his prizes in the supermarket cooler because his own cooler was chock full of deer meat and pork brains.

The sad thing, however, is that progress has come to my town. Our little market is 20,000 feet bigger and is graced not only by seafood, soup and salad bars, but also a wireless coffee shop. And it's huge - any market that requires a map to find your way in and out is too dadburn big. And they don't even have pork brains or squirrels in the coolers. Can this be progress?

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