Discover the history of UP’s unique cuisine in Sault Ste. Married

SAULT STE. MARIE – From pasta to fudge, the culinary history of the Upper Peninsula is full of delicious dishes.

On September 27, retired Northern Michigan University professor Russell Magnaghi will be in Sault Ste. Marie to teach people at the Bayliss Public Library about the history of food and agriculture in the Upper Peninsula.

Russell Magnaghi

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For 40 years, Magnaghi taught the history of this region at Northern Michigan University and served as director of the Center for UP Studies. Magnaghi has written 12 books, most of them on the history of food. His latest book, “Classic Food and Restaurants of the Upper Peninsula”, chronicles the most famous and well-known restaurants on the Upper Peninsula and was published earlier this year.

Magnaghi’s passion for food history began when he moved to Marquette in 1969 and wanted to find a local Finnish restaurant, only to find there were none in the area. He began to research not only the popular foods of the region, but also how they were introduced and the farming methods used to grow these foods.

In her food history presentation, Magnaghi will cover the farming and food history of the Native American tribes that lived in this area hundreds of years ago. Magnaghi will also explain how this food evolved and was influenced by immigrants over generations to become the food that Yoopers eat today.

A worker slices a loaf of freshly made fudge at Joann's Fudge on Mackinac Island.

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In his research, Magnaghi discusses the origins of what he calls the UP trio – pasty, cudighi and fudge – all of which are popular in the region today.

“I’m excited to learn more about it,” said Bayliss program director Natalie Nowak. “We’ve never done a show dedicated to food, so I’m pretty excited for that and I think others will be too.”

Contact Brendan Wiesner: [email protected]

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