I appreciate cheese. Glorious Cheese! I can’t imagine my day without it. In fact, being from Wisconsin and loving cheese go hand in hand. When you have your baby in a Wisconsin hospital, the pacifier the baby receives in the hospital nursery is made of cheese. Okay… just kidding there. I wanted to see if you are paying attention to what I am writing. But seriously, cheese is a big deal.
To Squeak Or not to squeak
Photo Credit Alex Klein
I grew up across the road from the Friesland Cheese Factory. There was always something going on at the cheese factory. Milk trucks would pull in and the driver would begin to unload the milk cans onto the metal roller line. Then, someone from inside the factory would swing open the waist-high metal doors and begin pulling in the milk cans. At least once or twice a week, the whey waste tank would spill its rotten smelling preserve. This sent my mother into fits. She would call out to us kids to stay away from the whey puddle. Then she would pick up the phone and call the cheese factory yelling into the receiver “THE WHEY IS RUNNING OVER!”
Most every Saturday before lunch my dad would walk across the road and get fresh cheese curds. When I say fresh, this means they were first of all warm. Next, they were blubbery. Finally, they squeaked on your teeth. I can still feel the fresh curds slide over my front incisors and make a squeak. In case you are dying to know more about cheese curds, check out this great website http://www.wisconsincheesetalk.com/2015/07/09/10-things-didnt-know-cheese-curds/
It’s not easy being cheesy
Cheese seemed to be a normal part of everyday life. People made reference to cheese in normal conversation like… “Man… they rolled right on out of here like a wheel of Cheddar.” Or “Her baby weighed as much as two bricks of Mild Brick.” And the favorite… ” That story had as many holes as a slice of Swiss.” Now, if you managed to pass the test in the first paragraph, you’re doing really “Gouda” if you just caught my cheese jokes in this paragraph.
In June, the town chamber would host June Dairy Night at the Tuesday Night Band Concert Pie Social. The chamber set up tables and served free cups of whole milk and chocolate milk along with free slices of Cheddar, Muenster, Mild Brick, and Swiss cheese. What kid in their right mind wouldn’t want free cheese and free milk? It also meant you could hold your spending money till next week. It was like winning the lottery.
Photo Credit macdeedle
MISCHIEF IS AFOOT
My dad regales a tale of sneaking Limburger cheese onto the bus. He wanted to make the biggest impact, so he chose a very cold day in which the heaters on the bus would need to be tirelessly working. Carefully he placed several slices on the heaters which were located midway through the bus. Ten minutes into the ride most of the bus occupants were gagging from the pungent smell. To make matters worse, the cheese melted deep into the heater, thusly providing several days of smelly bus riding torture. Needless to say, the bus driver was pretty angry and my dad would never say what his punishment was for his strategic cheese efforts.
It is no easy feat moving into Minnesota being a Greenbay Packer fan. Folks find it fun to call us “Cheeseheads”, but we actually take that as a compliment. And yes, I already know what you’re thinking. We do own a Cheesehead hat and proudly wear it when we remember. The Cheesehead hat doubles as a great condiment holder. You just flip the hat over and “Voila”- the area where your head goes doubles as a bowl holder. Genius!
We have had many requests from Viking fans who want to wear the Cheesehead hat at Halloween parties. It has gone out a time or two to those who promised to be good. People just can’t resist the power of cheese in any matter or form. For a good laugh go to http://www.cheesehead.com/.
It’s all in how you slice it up
I am pretty biased when it comes to Wisconsin cheese. Because of this bias, I believe that nobody makes cheese like Wisconsin cheese makers! I have my favorites and stick with them. I like Mild Brick, Muenster, Farmers Cheese, Provolone, Cheddar, Co-Jack, Mozzarella, and Swiss.
Tom Bouma pulled me over to the cheese counter at Edgerton Food Center one day. He said, “Michele, I know you think Wisconsin is the only place that can make great cheese, but, have you given this Dutch Gouda a try?” With a wary eye and wrinkled up nose, I agreed to sample a piece and was pleasantly surprised. It was very tasty! I will have to plan a trip to the Netherlands to check out some more cheese. But in the meantime, I am grateful for the awesome cheese selection that is available here in Edgerton.
Come over to the dark side
I invite you to cross the border to the east and check out some of the awesome cheeses that are made in Wisconsin. Stop in at the Ehlenbach’s Cheese Chalet in De Forest, Schultz’s Cheese Haus in Beaver Dam, or Mouse House Cheese in Windsor. Any good grocery store will carry some fine cheese labels also. Until next time, here is to good friends, good food and a good life!
Michele Bruxvoort is sure to draw you in with her delightful sense of humor and love for living life. She enjoys reading, repurposing, as well as remodeling the family home with her husband. Drawing from her life experience as wife, mom, and follower of Jesus, Michele brings you a very honest and real perspective on life. When you don’t find her writing, you can find her mowing lawns, stocking shelves, taking care of her grandbaby and tackling her latest life adventure.
Wisconsin native and empty-nester, she now makes her home with her husband of 27 years in the South West Prairie plains of Minnesota.