Ah the holy trinity of Wisconsin cuisine: beer, brats and corn. Well, I suppose I should throw in cheese curds as well. Room temperature, of course, so that they squeak when you chew them. Up North, all attempts at healthy eating go right out the window and before I know it, I’m stocking up on summer sausage at the grocery store, shoe-string potatoes and candy at the Fleet Farm. At the local ice cream parlor, one scoop is the equivalent of a pint. It’s only for a week. It makes everyone happy. Well, almost everyone…
My son’s friend is not quite as enamored with Wisconsin “haute cuisine.” Such a sweet and polite boy, but by no means a big eater. He tries a curd, eats half a brat, nibbles a row of corn. Surely I could find something this child would devour and yet, I seem to strike out with every meal. Out of options, I ask him point blank, “What is your most favorite thing to eat?”
He looks at me and without hesitation, shouts “Hamburger Helper!” ughhhhh…..really?
Of course I ended up making it for him. And thankfully because I am out of town, no one spots me at the grocery store with the box bearing the photo of something that resembles beef stroganoff along with a disfigured, smiling hand. My son’s friend smiles too, as he eagerly cleans his plate. And you know what, who am I to judge? Life in Wisconsin is about as unpretentious as you can get. I like that.
So yeah, eat that Hamburger Helper kids, and feel free to wash it down with a Dr. Pepper. When you’re happy, mom’s happy. After vacation, well that’s a different story 🙂
Finally, for those of you looking for a recipe at the end of this post, I will instead direct you to a site which speaks with great authority on the subject of cooking brats “Sconnie style” (they lovingly refer to bratwurst as Wisconsin’s Soul Food):