Wisconsin's Bread Traditions
Photo: Anne Pryor,
"Blessing of Magdah" ceremony, Armenian picnic,
Racine, WI, 1997
Hundreds of ethnic groups and many tribal nations live in Wisconsin.
Our cultural richness shows up especially in our food.
Food is one of the most basic ways for us to know-and tell others-who
we are. Food helps us to remember our heritage, express our ethnicity,
and take part in our communities. We pass recipes down through generations,
and we make special foods to celebrate religious and other important
events in our lives.
We even identify certain places with their foods: Cornish pasties
from the former lead mine towns of southwestern Wisconsin, fry bread
from the reservations, Norwegian lefse from Stoughton, Danish kringle
from Racine, Belgian pies from Kewaunee County, Polish ponczaks
in Stevens Point.
Photo: Michelle Hartley, "Trimming
a Pasty Pie," Patti McKinley at Red Rooster Cafe, Mineral
Point, WI, 1997
Many of the cultural groups in Wisconsin have distinctive breads
and traditions about bread. Middle and Northern Europeans brought
with them the taste for rye breads. The Oneida people and African
Americans both make cornbread, but they prepare and serve it in
culturally distinct ways. Tortillas, Syrian flatbread, Ethiopian
injera, lefse-all are forms of flatbread, made from different ingredients
in different ways.
People outside the state may think Wisconsin is nothing but sausage
and cheese, but our breads show our great diversity.