Wisconsin - The Badger State
Updated: Jun 12, 2022
Official Motto: Forward
Suggested Motto: Blessed be the cheesemakers
Two Truths and a Lie
Each summer, tourists flock to the Driftless Area, a bizarre section of coastline along Lake Superior where fine, translucent grasses hold the sand in place resulting in large beaches that resist forming dunes.
Green Bay is famous for its football team, but also boasts the title “Toilet Paper Capital of the World.” The city earned this title when it unveiled the world’s first “splinter-free toilet paper” back in 1935.
Until 1967 the sale of margarine, oleo, and other non-dairy spreads was prohibited by law to protect Wisconsin’s butter business.
The Recipe - Crispy Cheddar Crackers
On a June evening in 2010, my friend and I sat at a bar in Madison drinking farmhouse ale and munching fried cheese curds. My friend paused to reflect then asked, “Is this the third time we’ve had fried cheese today?” Yep, it sure was. We had enjoyed saganaki at Milwaukee’s Greek Festival that afternoon, and crab rangoons at a Laotion restaurant for dinner. We delighted in the abundance and ate the whole basket of cheese curds with another round of Spotted Cow. No regrets – Wisconsin is a great place for cheese – and beer.
I visited a delightful shop in Papillion, NE called “Northwood’s Cheese Hause" to purchase Wisconsin-made aged cheddar. To highlight the cheese, I started with Liz Prueitt’s recipe for Cheddar Oat Crackers and made a few tweaks. I toasted my oats before grinding them into flour to improve the final color. I also replaced pine nuts with mix-ins native to the upper Midwest: cranberries and pumpkin seeds. I went a little heavy-handed on the butter, which caused the crackers to spread into a lacey mess, but they were udderly delicious!
These are so packed with flavor, that one is never enough. They would be really nice with red wine, but I am honoring Wisconsin so I had to go with beer. When German immigrants first flocked to the state in the 1830s, they brought their brewing traditions with them. A century (and 21st amendment) later, tradition transformed into big business. Pabst, Miller, and Schlitz set up on shop in Milwaukee, transforming it into the beer capital of the world. Today, most of the big brands have international owners, but the local craft beers are phenomenal. I chose Leinenkugel's Honey Weiss simply because it was prominently displayed and my children were making shopping horrendous this morning.
Want to experience Wisconsin for yourself? Then Teresa recommends ...
In the summer of 2007, I was 21 and working as an intern at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The newspaper sent me to so many cute towns with delightful names: Oconomowoc, Sheboygan, Wauwatosa. I even went to a town named Theresa. (see below) I had particularly fun times in Madison and New Glarus. If you’re in Wisconsin, try a pint of Spotted Cow, and/or a whole flight of New Glarus beers. The whole state is really quite beautiful from Devil’s Lake State Park to Door County. Go check it out, but if you can’t, try reading “The Westing Game.” I have not reread this as an adult, but I remember being utterly captivated by the mystery in junior high.
Time for the whole truth
The Driftless Area is found in the southwest part of the state and refers to the fact glaciers never covered the area, giving it a different topography from the rest of Wisconsin. Tourists do flock to Lake Superior in the north, but it is to see stunning sandstone cliffs, not beaches.
(By the way, you can click on any of the 2 truths and a lie statements to visit the source of the trivia)