Monday, November 22, 2010

Menu at Detroit's Michigan Exchange

What were Ypsilantians eating in 1870? Well, their diet was somewhat different. For one, they observed "tea" at what we now think of as dinnertime, and ate another meal around 8 p.m. Kind readers may remember Ypsi teen diarist Abba Owen in 1888, still making reference to having tea at her grandmother's house. Earlier in 1874, another Ypsi teen diarist Allie McCullough made reference to it too.

The Michigan Exchange was a big hotel and restaurant in Detroit on Jefferson Avenue. This ad in the Ypsi paper was meant to lure Ypsi travellers and tradesmen taking the train to Detroit, and farmers coming into town there, to stop off for a meal. Menu for November 10, 1870 as printed in the Ypsilanti Commercial:

BREAKFAST: Green Tea, Coffee, Black Tea, Chocolate.
Broiled--Beef Steak, plain, Mutton Chops, Beef Steak with Onions, Ham, Liver, Salt Mackerel, Pork Steak, Salt Pork.

Fried--Oysters, Veal Cutlets plain, Mush, Calf's Liver and Pork, Veal Cutlets in Butter, Pork and Apples, Codfish Balls, Sausages, Fresh Fish.

Miscellaneous--Minced Codfish, Hashed Potatoes, Stewed Potatoes, Cold Boiled Ham, Stewed Oysters, Hashed Meat, Baked Potatoes.

Bread, etc.--Rice Cakes, Plain Bread, Graham Bread, Hot Corn Bread, French Rolls, Boston Crackers, Soda Biscuit, Butter Crackers, Plain Toast, Dipped Toast, Butter Toast.

Hours for Meals--Breakfast 6 1/2 to 9 1/2; Dinner at 1; Tea, 6 to 7; Supper 8 to 10.

4 comments :

jml said...

Ooo, oysters with a side of mush for breakfast tomorrow!

Dusty D said...

Sounds nummies! In all seriousness, though, I'm sorry I missed the age of oysters around the turn of the century. I adore seafood and would have loved to have gorged on plate after plate of fresh oysters, for any meal.

I'll pass on the mush though. :)

Fritz said...

I never would have expected to see green tea on an 1870 Midwestern menu. I wonder if this was a time when Ypsi had a significant Chinese population.

Dusty D said...

Fritz: That threw me, too! There were several areas in the northwestern/western greater Detroit area that originally had Chinese names: Canton, Peking, Nanking (I think those were/are all townships originally) and Ypsilanti has its own Shanghai Pit.

I've dug for the reason for the name of the latter but got nothin'. Could be a hobo name; they did hang out in that area. If so I'm guessing it's sort of a sarcastic name, like naming an old scrawny nag "Apollo's Steed" or the like.