Eating is pleasure. It evolved that way. Animals that don’t eat die. And eating for most animals requires a lot of energy expended finding food and manipulating it into an edible form. With all that work required, the eating itself had better be enjoyable or animals wouldn’t do it.  Over the eons, those creatures for whom eating was more chore than pleasure tended not to eat very much. And so they usually died before maturity. Since they didn’t reproduce more of their food-neutral or even food-averse kind, and meanwhile their brethren with hearty appetites were abundantly prolific, today our planet is mostly left with animals that enthusiastically seek out and obtain food and then revel in the pleasure of eating it.

As you remember, we humans are in the animal kingdom. And in fact, we are so highly evolved for food-craving, seeking, and obtaining that we have maximized efficiency in these three areas. Point in case, – Wisconsin fudge shops.

Keep reading for more about the evolution of Wisconsin fudge shops and an authentic recipe for Wisconsin fudge.

Take a pleasure tour of Wisconsin and you will no doubt note the abundance of fudge shops. And why fudge? Per square inch fudge has the most calories of any other food on Earth. And no other food is as easy to ingest as fudge. No cutting required, not even chewing is mandatory. Fudge melts in the mouth. It is perfect for old animals who have lost their teeth. They will survive on fudge. But what about ice cream? you ask. Yes, Wisconsin excels in the production of high-fat ice cream, but ice cream is a pour second to fudge. Ice cream requires extreme refrigeration (although not usually a problem in Wisconsin) and a spoon. No, I argue that fudge, Wisconsin fudge, is the most efficient food by which humans can ingest life-supporting units of heat (calories) with which to fuel our bodies.

But humans have gone beyond creating the highest calorie, and most easily-eaten food. Wisconsin fudge chefs have maximized the pleasure felt from a tiny fudge square by using the sweetest fresh cream, pure cane sugar, and super, high-quality cocoa. Coco itself sends our brains’ neurons into frenzies of pleasurable neurotransmitter activity. Eat chocolate, and the mood elevates. When the neurons regain quiet, the memory of ecstasy remains. And this memory is often tinged with feelings of loss. Great loss. What to do? Return to the fudge shop for more.Yes, thanks to Wisconsin fudge shops, fudge-seeking behavior has risen to an extreme form.

And this is well and good for those of us lucky enough to live in Wisconsin. But sadly, many of Wisconsin’s offspring and vacationers have been forced by circumstances to leave our great state. Fearing they will perish without a sufficient supply of life-sustaining fudge, today I am passing along one of Wisconsin’s best recipes for fudge. I found it in Jerry Minnich’s North Woods Cottage Cookbook. Jerry packed this cookbook with easy, delicious recipes as an aid for vacationers enjoying cabin-living in Wisconsin’s north woods. He introduces the Wisconsin fudge recipe with, “OK, it’s doubtful that there’s not a fudge shop within a three-minute drive of your cottage, – but just in case…

Wisconsin fudge

  • 1 pound chocolate chips (dark or milk)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 8-ounce jar of marshmallow cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 medium-size can evaporated milk
  • Chopped nuts (optional)

You’ll need a mixing bowl, a cooking pot, and a baking pan for this recipe. Sorry about that. In a large bowl, mix together the first four ingredients. In a separate large cooking pot mix together the sugar and milk, and bring to a boil while stirring constantly. At the boil point, lower the heat and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, without stirring. Pour the milk mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well until all the ingredients are well blended. If desired, add chopped nuts. Pour into a greased baking pan and refrigerate for 24 hours. Cut into pieces and wrap in cling wrap or waxed paper. Fight over who gets the biggest piece.”

This fudge recipe is so easy to make that my 10-year-old made it as part of her book report project. The Harry Potter books have completely absorbed her attention. In her report on the first in the series, she chose the option of preparing one of the foods mentioned in the book. She tells me that whenever the Potter characters are feeling blue, they pop a piece of chocolate into their mouths and feel much better. I wasn’t surprised. She wanted to make something chocolaty that would create a similar effect in her classmates when she gave her oral report. Naturally I directed her to this recipe for Wisconsin fudge. And she reported back to me that her report was a grand success. Her whole class loved the fudge. Make it and likely you will too. Enjoy.