Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

50 Shots of America–Wisconsin

Pretzel Dip
Pretzel Dip

On May 29, 1848,  Wisconsin brought our state-count up to a nice, even 30. Known as the Badger State, it might surprise some to learn that name didn’t come from the bustling fur trade of the early-settled territory but of the miners (whose industry replaced pelts in the economy’s hierarchy) that had the badger-like habit of seeking shelter in holes they’d dug.

We’re not entirely sure what the name Wisconsin means (though we know it’s not ‘people who where foam cheese on their head’) but one possible etymology concentrates on its red rocks, like those found in the Wisconsin Dells. I wonder, then, is that why Republican States (founded in Ripon, Wisconsin, on March 20, 1854) are painted red on political maps?

America’s Dairyland is actually not the total agrarian state that such a name conveys. It became dairy-central because early agriculture was pursued to the detriment of the land. While it’s regained some of it’s croplands and the forests, the service industry plays a far larger part in the state these days while still leading the nation in cheese production (2nd in the US for milk and butter).

Pretzel Dip

1 oz Wisconsin Ale
1 oz Cranberry Juice
1 tsp Brown Mustard

Combine over ice and shake like a Barbie(1) and a troll(2) riding a Harley(3) around the center ring(4). Strain into a chilled cordial glass and sip.

Breweries are big in Milwaukee and the state is a major producer of cranberries (among other crops). This drink may sound strange (Todd certainly thought I was stretching it a bit) but it’s totally drinkable and does remind me of a big. soft pretzel dipped into berry-laced stone-ground mustard. Give it a shot before you judge it unfairly, and remember that it usually takes 2 sips before you get the full flavor of a drink.

The other references are as follows:

  1. Barbie-creator Barbie Millicent Roberts is from Willows, Wisconsin.
  2. Mount Horeb, Wisconsin is, apparently, the Troll Capital of the World. It’s also home to the Mustard Museum which houses over 2300 specimens of mustard.
  3. Harley Davidson Motorcycles are headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
  4. Ringling Brothers Circus got it’s first show in Baraboo, Wisconsin, in 1884.

And, hey, as we head into Labor Day weekend, if you’re in the neighborhood of Prairie du Sac check out the State Cow Chip Throwing Contest.

Jennifer Walker
Jennifer Walker

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