Say Cheese

Say Cheese

I spent the majority of my Saturday fishing in a couple lakes and rivers of northern Wisconsin. I’ve been rather remiss in updating this space, but for those who’ve been wondering where in the world I am—and for whom that opening sentence didn’t clear things up—I’m in northern Wisconsin.

I used to fish a lot growing up but haven’t cast a line in years, and after stomping about most of the day my tally was paltry: a single bluegill as well as a clam. The bluegill wasn’t anything to write home about, but this is the first time I’ve ever caught a clam on a hook. This is also the first time I’ve ever known anyone to catch a clam on a hook. I’m still not 100% certain how it happened, but I can say in all honesty—and with an upstanding cousin as my witness—that such a feat has been accomplished.

The past several weeks have been busy. I went from Detroit to Chicago to Seattle to Juneau to Seattle to Chicago to Wisconsin. Should I get sufficiently motivated I’ll write something about any or all of those places, but given my dismal track record of updates I wouldn’t encourage readers to hold their breath.

But now here I am in Wisconsin, where cheese is all the rage. When I crossed into the state on Thursday one of the first stops I made was at the Cheese Chalet. In case you’re curious, this is a building, cast in the shape of a chalet, with a giant mouse climbing a pole mounted on the roof, whose insides are shelved with rows of…., well…, cheese.

The lead news story on the local radio channel was the theft of a semi-truck containing 20,000 pounds of cheese. If that raised your eyebrows, let me assure you that it’s not bullshit—someone really did steal a semi-truck containing 20,000 pounds of cheese. And in case you’re wondering, No, this isn’t the first theft of that kind this year. It’s difficult to imagine what one would do with a semi-truck’s worth of cheese. In a perfect world I believe there’d be a shady cheese underground run by the notorious Queso-nostra, but the sad reality is that there are probably several hundred pounds of Gouda spoiling in some idiot’s garage right now, expanding The Bard’s notion of something rotten in Denmark.

To round things out, earlier today one of my cousins suggested that we drive to a bar 45-minutes away to eat their beer battered cheese curds. If you’ve never had this snack it’s exactly as advertised: you take cheese curds, batter them, then deep fry them. It’s also something that can be found at 98% of bars in Wisconsin, and given that I’m staying in a town that boasts that highest per capita of bars in the entire state, finding this item locally is not an issue. When pressed if this particular bar’s curds were worth the hour-and-a-half round trip (it’s essential to remind you that we’re discussing pieces of deep fried cheese), my cousin simultaneously insisted that obviously it was, scoffed at us for questioning his analysis, and bemoaned the fact that we clearly weren’t turning the car toward the curds.

I’m told that there’s plenty more to Wisconsin than cheese, and if things go well I’ll report back on them in the coming weeks.

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