A Heart of Cheese

On Tuesday my book tour schedule brings me to the Midwest, what I like to refer to as “The Old Country.” I say that because I am, at my core, a Midwestern woman. No matter how far I roam there is still a Minnesota girl inside me.

There’s also a Wisconsin girl. My parents were dual citizens, born and raised in Wisconsin but who moved as adults to Minnesota. They rooted for the Vikings—unless the Vikings were playing the Packers. They always root for the Packers. I went to first grade in Milwaukee, and my sister was born there. My mom, to this day, refers to visiting our relatives in Wisconsin as “going home.”

Minnesota and Wisconsin share one of those regional rivalries that is all-too-real to the invested parties and incomprehensible to anyone else. In Oregon, where I live now, people don’t even know where these states are, let alone any silly subtle nuances between them. But ask a native Oregonian about California and you’ll get an earful.

The Minnesota-Wisconsin rivalry is less vitriolic than the Wisconsin-Illinois rivalry, and more substantive than the Minnesota-Iowa rivalry. I mean, really, what is the difference between southern Minnesota and Iowa?

To the trained eye, this is not nuance:

                     Minnesota                                             Wisconsin

Protestant

Catholic

Scandinavian

German/Dutch

Twins

Brewers

Lutefisk

Sausages

Lefse

Schwarzbrot

Herring

Headcheese

Walleye

Perch

Mayonnaise

Butter

Stocking cap perched
on very top of head

No hat

Bridge

Sheepshead

Ford

Chevy

Pepsi

Coke

Sweet white wine

Beer

Coffee so weak it looks like tea

Beer

Those Germans drink beer all the time, even on Sunday. Scandalous.

Most of my heritage is German (and Dutch, another one of those differences that no one but the invested parties can discern). My great-grandmother Hazel provided a splash of Scotch-Irish, English and French. I assume that this one aberration in my genetic code is responsible for my love of whiskey and dry red wine. The rest of me is cheese, sausages and beer. Ein Prosit!

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4 thoughts on “A Heart of Cheese

  1. Don’t forget about the Polackas!!!!

  2. Oh, cripes! I forgot all about Our Respected Friends of Polish Descent!

  3. […] south of town, and 2.) Supper clubs. Have I written about supper clubs? I really need to. This blog post is the closest I’ve come. Anyway, I didn’t know my hostess from Eve, but I figured […]

  4. […] A Heart of Cheese. In which I compare my dual-heritage of Minnesotan and Wisconsinite. […]

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