This is an open response to Robin Raisfeild and Rob Fatronite who have insulted Wisconsin cheese lovers in the New York Magazine article “Fifty Cheeses.” Entry 39 (Cheese curds) makes erroneous assumptions about those who are not ashamed to be called cheeseheads. We can forgive categorizing the curds as “trashy cheese,” but their assertion that we “no doubt” love our cheese curds battered, laden on fries, and smothered in gravy is sacrilege. These tourist and junk food recipes are merely ancillary to the best way to prepare curds.
Consumer recipe for cheese curds: It's all about local
- Cheese curds must be fresh and eaten warm or at room temperature while still squeaky. While packaging contain date stamps, Wisconsinites and local cheese factories know the absolute code. A hand lettered sign only need one word: “Today.” Correct spelling is not essential.
- Cheese curds must be fresh. Laws require refrigeration, but cheese crafters announce their schedules so locals and traveling aficionados line up to buy the warm nuggets before they hit the fridge.
- Cheese curds must be fresh. If the schedules of a road trip have not synced with the cheese factory timetable, and today’s curds have hit the cooler, Wisconsin road trippers know that a sunny day and a dashboard ledge can recondition curds to their original warm, textured, but smooth, squeaky, and moan-inducing status. This culinary technique will work for up to 48 hours. Legend has it that a 1954 International Pickup dash and an August day once rejuvenated three-day olds, but this may be a rural myth.
Once the window of squeaky perfection has passed, we dip them in batter, fry, and sell them to tourists and drunks from New York. And we disagree with Raisfeild and Fatronite who advise readers to use processed American cheese (entry 36) on burgers or grilled sandwiches. A thick slice of Wisconsin Munster holds up to heating and adds a salty velvety perfection without melting away. Want to investigate American cheese? Skip the processed crap and take a road-trip on the Wisconsin Cheese Tour.