I don't often talk about things like the European Union, trade agreements and senators on Edible Antics, but for a news story about beer, cheese and bratwurst, I'll make an exception.
If you haven't heard, news outlets are reporting that during recent trade negotiations, the European Union wants the U.S. to agree to change the name of bratwursts, cheeses (like parmesan and feta), and beers (Octoberfest, Kolsch and Bavarian) that they feel are devaluing their local specialties. According to USAToday.com, if the U.S. agrees to E.U. demands "U.S. manufacturers would have to change product names to "bratwurst-style sausages," "Oktoberfest-like ale" or "the lunch meat formerly known as bologna."'
Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin is fired up: "I consider this an attack on our proud traditions and I am standing up for Wisconsin cheese, brats and beer." She's working with other senators to block this part of the trade agreement.
It sounds to me like the E.U. is trying to say Wisconsin cheesemakers, for example, can't use the word parmesan because if I buy Wisconsin-made parmesan at Copps in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, that is somehow harming people in Parma, Italy? I find that hard to believe.
As a food blogger and all around food enthusiast I do understand that certain foods become part of a culture and a tradition, but bratwurst, cheese and beer have been part of the Wisconsin tradition for hundreds of years now because of European immigrants. You would think the E.U. would be proud their influence has spread so far. Plus, after 100+ years, there should be a "no-take-backs!" rule on food names.
But don't worry, politics are all about compromise, and as proud and friendly Wisconsinites, we're willing to make concessions. Wisconsinmade.com artisan, Master Wisconsin Meat Crafter, and Diplomat Extraordinaire Jeff Roberts of Glenn's Market suggests Wisconsin keeps names for bratwurst, cheese, and beer, and "They (the E.U.) can have 'weiner schnitzel,'" he said. "We don't use that very often. Give them that one; make them happy. That's good enough.'"
What do you think about relabeling bratwurst, cheese and beer? Are you willing to give up Wiener Schnitzel?