A little taste of Michigan

On Monday, the British English speaking teacher at my school asked if I could write or find a menu for a restaurant serving “typical American food.” I said sure, no problem… but then realized two seconds later that there is no typical American food. In the following class, I had a hard time answering the students’ questions about what Americans normally eat.

I told them there is no real American food. We eat everyone else’s food… Mexican, Greek, Thai, Chinese, Italian, etc. I’ve been trying to think of a restaurant that serves a little bit of everything, but I don’t know if a place like that really exists. So I finally settled on a Coney Island.

For those of you who are not familiar with Coney Island restaurants (which most likely means you are not from Michigan), think of the greasiest, fattiest food imaginable. Almost everything is fried. And the prices are so cheap, you can afford to eat 2,000 calories in one sitting alone. These restaurants are generally open 24 hours a day and you can order breakfast at any time of the day. In short, these places live up to the American stereotypes of unhealthy diets and problems with obesity.

Not only that, but they are incredibly patriotic, as the Gillie’s Coney Island site will show. I intend on using their menu in my classes. Sadly, I am now craving a greasy cheeseburger with chili cheese fries.

I can count more than a dozen Coney Islands around the Flint area, and I know there are even more in Detroit. I have so many memories of ordering a grilled cheese with a chocolate malt and chatting for hours with my co-workers at 1 in the morning. When I lived in Flint, there was a Coney Island a block from my house. There was a statue of a cow on the roof, which later was taken down and (I hope) to this day, remains in the parking lot.

Cheddar cheese. Places that are open 24 hours. Driving my car. I’m a little nostalgic today.

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  • Pat

    Never been to a Coney Island restaurant – none in my area of Connecticut. Although I have actually been to the real Coney Island in New York. :-)But I what one of everything on their menu!!! Wow – that looks like some good stuff.

  • Pat

    Never been to a Coney Island restaurant – none in my area of Connecticut. Although I have actually been to the real Coney Island in New York. :-)

    But I what one of everything on their menu!!! Wow – that looks like some good stuff.

  • Penny

    Nothing like the thought of food from home to make you feel a bit nostalgic!

  • Penny

    Nothing like the thought of food from home to make you feel a bit nostalgic!

  • phelps5

    I too am from Michigan, actually not far from Flint. I live in the thumb of MI in Pigeon. Anyway I know exactly what you are talking about. Chili cheese fries…..

  • phelps5

    I too am from Michigan, actually not far from Flint. I live in the thumb of MI in Pigeon. Anyway I know exactly what you are talking about. Chili cheese fries…..

  • joy suzanne

    Flint… Colonial Coney Island with the giant mini-skirted waitress on the sign….

  • joy suzanne

    Flint… Colonial Coney Island with the giant mini-skirted waitress on the sign….

  • nicole

    mmm cheddar cheese. yeah, i’m missing home right now too.

  • nicole

    mmm cheddar cheese. yeah, i’m missing home right now too.

  • Lindsay

    I miss Coney Islands too! My boyfriend has always hated how they were started in Michigan and it is a misnomer that they are called Coney Islands–he thinks, why not Belle Isles?

  • Lindsay

    I miss Coney Islands too! My boyfriend has always hated how they were started in Michigan and it is a misnomer that they are called Coney Islands–he thinks, why not Belle Isles?

  • o_O

    Hi JennieI am also from Michigan and living in France (actually in Alsace…still haven’t figured out if this is actually France). While a find most things about life in France nicer than in Michigan, I agree with you that Michigan is the place to be for the Christmas season (let’s add Thanksgiving too). Each Christmas season here in France, I scour the tv guide in search of It’s a Wonderful Life and How the Grinch Stole Christmas! I find plenty of star academy, but no signs of deer with a red nose. I thought you might appreciate this site…a little blast of Michigan everyday…http://www.lelandreport.com/index.asp?indate=3/19/2008Enjoy.Rob

  • o_O

    Hi Jennie

    I am also from Michigan and living in France (actually in Alsace…still haven’t figured out if this is actually France). While a find most things about life in France nicer than in Michigan, I agree with you that Michigan is the place to be for the Christmas season (let’s add Thanksgiving too). Each Christmas season here in France, I scour the tv guide in search of It’s a Wonderful Life and How the Grinch Stole Christmas! I find plenty of star academy, but no signs of deer with a red nose.

    I thought you might appreciate this site…a little blast of Michigan everyday…
    http://www.lelandreport.com/index.asp?indate=3/19/2008

    Enjoy.

    Rob…

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Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In January 2010, I started focusing more on teaching and learning languages in general. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at the university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling (though now my trips are usually in Australia) and being an American abroad.

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