Squeaking cheese

Our explorations have not led us far, yet.   The first order of business was to get things cleaned up so we’d be ready for the next few days, which will likely be hectic.   The best way to do that is to check the nearest town and start looking around.   We drove five miles to downtown Stoughton, which turned out to be a small but vibrant old fashioned city center, replete with interesting shops and everything we needed: car wash, laundry, post office, public library with free wifi, bakery with kringle, and of course cheese.

Of course, cheese is not the only attraction to Wisconsin, but it is a running joke for tourists to mention it frequently. We’re doing our best to be temporary cheese-heads while we are here, and that led us to Cheesers on Main Street in Stoughton.   Fresh cheese curds were piled high on the counter when we arrived, and we were told that when they are really fresh, they squeak on your teeth.   Well, there’s a culinary experience for you — so of course we bought a package.

It’s true, they do squeak on your teeth.     Listening to the sound in my head, I had the strangest sensation of eating a live mouse.   Texturally (and I’ll probably be hung in effigy for saying this) it’s a bit like eating a piece of rubber tire, but of course better flavored.   I think cheese curds are an acquired taste.   After half a bag, I haven’t acquired that taste, but I’m sure it is coming.

Culinary stuff is a major theme of the tourist areas in Wisconsin. Along Rt 20 on Wednesday we noted a Mustard Museum.   I’m sketchy on the details of what it contains (besides, obviously, lots of mustard), but the billboard gave us a hint:   “Home of Poupon U”.   Apparently it is also a center of higher learning.

With work and errands, the day sort of disappeared, which happens to us a lot.   Uneventful can be better than the alternative, as I was reminded later in the day.   This time year thunderstorms are a constant threat, and yet knowing that I made a complete newbie mistake in the afternoon.   I set up the trailer awning under a clear blue sky, and then went away for an hour to the grocery store.   In this part of the country, thunderstorms pop up quickly, and they can sense deployed trailer awnings.   We came back to the Airstream to find one awning arm completely pretzeled, literally U-shaped.   Fortunately the rest of the awning was undamaged.

The awning arm has since been removed and the awning is safely stowed for now.   I am lucky to be right next to the International Airstream rally, since Zip-Dee (maker of the awning) will be there and can get me the replacement parts on site.   Their headquarters are in the Chicago area and they’ll be making at least a couple of parts runs for boobs like me who leave their awnings up unattended.   I suspect Zip-Dee will do quite well selling replacement parts this week.   More thunderstorms are expected.

Trivia:   How did Zip-Dee get its name?   The founder of the company had the last name of “Dudah.”   True story.


  1. Marie Luhr says

    One of your funnier blogs! I got several belly laughs out of this one — have you acquired the squeaky mouse taste yet? I’ll have to see a picture of the Poupon U sign to believe it–really, is there a University named Poupon? Tell me the truth.

  2. Barry says

    Thanks for my laugh of the day! This is great, making me want to come to Wisconsin to try these cheese curds!!

    Sorry to hear about the awning, but fortunately, there’s a quick fix.
    Great post, Rich.

  3. Lou says

    We saw the food channel piece on the Mustard Museum and Poupon U. Looks like a neat small place to visit. Poupon U. lets you learn about the history of mustard. There is mustard tasting and even some “making” of mustard. I don’t know if they did it specially for the TV visit or if it is a regular thing. I would go visit! The owner was very vibrant and excited about mustard! Obviously!

  4. says

    CHEESE CURDS??? Quel fromage!!! Uhm, do you use a mouse with your computer?
    good thing it was just the arm…

  5. says

    It’s all true: fresh cheese curds squeak, there really is a Poupon U, and Zip-Dee was founded by Dudah. Truth is stranger than fiction.

  6. Tom Palesch says

    As you leave the area and if you are lucky enough to head out thru northern WI and luckier yet to go through Spooner, WI, seek out a local drive-in called Sam Hicks.

    Order their fresh deep fried cheese curds and not only will you hear a squeak, you will hear a sigh.. Your heart and vascular system will forgive you and your life will never be the same. Couple that with a glass of their fresh lemonade and you will think you have died and gone to heaven.

    Remember, deep fried cheese curds!

    Safe traveling Luhrs.

  7. says

    You’ve gotta get a fried curd on your plate and all will change in your mind about the curd. I can eat them any way you give ’em to me but fried is the highest level a curd can achieve my friend.