10 Things I Learned On My First Trip To Wisconsin


By Jonathan of The Candid Appetite

Jonathan of The Candid Appetite recently visited Wisconsin with a group of food bloggers from around the country. Look for their recipes in the upcoming Harvest issue of Grate. Pair. Share.


I’m going to preface this post by saying that I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. I’m spoiled in more ways than one, especially when it comes to the weather. Having lived my entire life in a big city, going to a “big city” in the Midwest was a culture shock for me, in the best way possible. I learned so much from my short trip to Madison, yet what stuck out the most to me was how friendly everyone was. Everyone talks about Southern Hospitality being superb, but no one ever mentions how great “Small Town Hospitality” is. I went to Wisconsin not knowing much about the state — let alone where it was located, I’m bad with geography — but I left with so much knowledge and a yearning to go back soon.


1.) Pride Is Number 1. Everyone in Wisconsin is very proud of their state. Proud of cheese curds. Proud of cows. Proud of the Badgers. Proud of the Packers. Proud. We should all take note of this, and be a little more proud in our everyday lives.


2.) There’s No Such Thing As Too Much Cheese. I tried a lot of cheese during my trip (a lot of cheese) and the one thing I learned is that it was never enough. Living in America’s Dairyland is like living at Disneyland. Wisconsin, you’re the Disneyland of Dairy (even if California likes to think it is). Just embrace it.


3.) Cheese Curds Are The New Kale. While everyone is running around gushing about kale, brussels sprouts and cauliflower, Wisconsinites are sitting back laughing at us and enjoying the best snack of all time. They’re deep-frying cheese curds and not looking back. They’re living life right.


4.) Ice Cream Falls From The Sky. Living in a city where Starbucks are literally on every corner, and not being a coffee drinker at all, I’m sad that LA isn’t more like Wisconsin where everywhere you turn, ice cream is being sold. I also would love to be able to say, “Yeah I live in the birthplace of the ice cream sundae. No big deal.” Really big deal though.

5.) 40° Weather Is Shorts Weather. Where I’m at home freezing and completely bundled from head to toe, avoiding the “cold” that is 40°, Wisconsinites are outdoors enjoying the warmth and thankful that it isn’t snowing. You couldn’t pay me enough money to wear shorts in anything under 65°.


6.) The State Has A Sense Of Humor. I’m determined that Wisconsin gave most of their cities and counties hard to pronounce names just to watch us out-of-towners struggle. Trempealeau. Ashwaubenon. Oconomowoc. Weyauwega. Chippewa. The struggle is very real. I’m on to you Wisconsin.

7.) The Capitol Building Is Like The White House, But Better. The Wisconsin State Capitol Building is just as grand and just as white as The White House, yet we don’t really hear much about it on the West Coast. It’s a shame. The building itself is pretty majestic on the outside, but you forget all about that the second you step inside, because the inside is magical. I’m pretty sure wishes are granted inside.


8.) A Smile Goes A Long Way. Everyone is so laidback and friendly. The “Good Mornings” “Hellos” and “How are yous?” were a breath of fresh air. No one is too busy to stop for a second and greet you. It’s like I suddenly encountered all of these old friends that I hadn’t seen in forever, and we needed to catch up right then and there.

9.) There Is No Traffic. Sorry Wisconsinites, but you don’t know traffic until you’re sitting in a car in bumber to bumber gridlock for TWO AND A HALF HOURS in Los Angeles. I’m jealous of your 10 to 15 minute delays. Let’s trade!


10.) Wisconsin Has Skies For Days. I’ve never seen a sky so wide, filled with so many clouds and not obstructed by buildings and smog and pollution. I’d move to Wisconsin if it weren’t for the fact that I’d die from shock during my first winter. The cheese curds are calling my name though (See Number 3).