50 Quintessential Local Dishes to Celebrate Terra Madre Day

December 10, 2009 at 8:22 am

As we noted yesterday in the Local Calendar, today is Terra Madre Day, the anniversary of the birth of the Slow Food Movement and a day to celebrate the pleasures of the local table.  One does not have to be a card carrying member to take part in Terra Madre Day.  Just use today or the upcoming days to recognize and enjoy some of the quintessential local dishes of our foodshed.  We’ve re-posted below, our list of the 50 dishes/foods of the Great Lakes.  What better way to celebrate than with something from this list.  When you look at the list, you may find a few things that seem out of reach now, like a Red Haven peach, yet what better way to celebrate the season and the day than with some peach jam or peach chutney. 

The list below began after coming across a compilation of 50 quintessential American dishes by ChefGwen.  Instead of making our own list of American dishes, we made a list of 50 LOCAL dishes.  That is dishes native to this locality, the Great Lakes area, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin. 

We welcome your comments on the list.  Tell us what we’ve missed; what you think should be removed.

50 Quintessential Local Dishes of the Great Lakes Region

Chicago hot dog
Coney dog
Chicken vesuvio
Frozen custard
Friday fish fry
Corn on the cob
Maid-rite/loose meat
Italian beef
Italian (fresh) sausage
Persimmons/persimmon pudding
BBQ ribs
Boned + buttered perch
Black walnuts
Concord grapes
Black truffle explosion
Pork tenderloin
Deep dish pizza
Thin crust, square cut pizza
Sheet pizza
Maple syrup
Red haven peaches
Panfried chicken
Sugar pie
Sour cream raisin pie
Cole slaw
Long cooked green beans
Skillet breakfasts
Turtle candies
Shrimp de Jonghe
Fish boil
Cheese curds
Cheese spread
Summer sausage
Carmel corn
Steak tacos
Jello salads
Relish tray/plates

There’s 50. I did not include hamburgers. We have plenty of great burger options in this area including some unique variations like the butter-burger. Still, burgers are so quintessentially American, I did not feel they belonged in a local list.  Moreover, I went from struggling to fill the list at around 35 to quickly going over 50.  Pumpkin pie and biscuits and gravy were two things that almost made the cut.  Argue away.



  1. Megan D. says:

    German Potato Salad
    Applewood Smoked Bacon
    Potato Pancakes
    Venison Sausages
    Whitefish Livers

  2. Megan D. says:

    German Potato Salad
    Applewood Smoked Bacon
    Potato Pancakes
    Whitefish Livers
    Venison Sausage
    Apple Pie (homemade liquor)

  3. Megan D. says:

    Pickled Northern (Pike)
    Pickled Eggs

  4. Alex Lopez says:

    I’ve eaten the list.

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