It’s spring break and the kids and I are visiting family in Chicagoland, which means we’re not technically in the city, but we’re minutes away from its border and absolutely everything we eat, drink, do, and read is influence by the city. This cultural wonderland has captivated my children: “Mom! There are SO MANY kid TV shows! You won’t believe it! Arthur is on in the morning AND at night.” I try to get them outside, but after one walk around the block they come back in. “There’s nothing to do, Mom. There’s no snow!”

No snow…I pause to appreciate this long-awaited news. I’m almost giddy. Perennials are poking up in Mom’s garden. My dad is grilling. Last night I marinated chicken using Mom’s recipe for Lemon Barbecued Chicken. It turned out fantastic! – moist with a nice lemon accent. I’ll post the recipe on the side page: Everyday dinners easy enough to cook every day.

Grilled Bratwurst

Will snow be past and perennials present when we return to Wisconsin tomorrow? Not likely. But folks may be grilling. Wisconsinites start lighting charcoal when temperatures approach 50 degrees. Yes, bratwurst season is dawning!

I like bratwursts – especially in a bun with mustard that’s piled high with sauerkraut. I especially like sauerkraut. If you don’t think you do, try a different brand – they are NOT all alike.

My husband, John, likes brats too, but the two years he lived in Chicago during his salad days left an indelible mark on him, – he prefers Chicago-style hot dogs. He makes them at home according to a very strict recipe. It’s the same recipe adhered to by Chicago-style hot dog connoisseurs Mitch and Kevin of Hot Dog Chicago John knows these hot dog guys and for a short time joined their quest for the BEST Madison Chicago dog. For a while, they most favored the Chicago dogs served off the cart at Home Depot – the Home Depot at the junction of the Beltline and Verona Rd. Passionate quests for the ultimate Chicago dog are common for Chicagoans transplanted to Wisconsin. Even our busy, former Madison mayor, Paul Soglin, has hit the streets searching for a true Chicago-style hot dog. Like most Chicagoans, he is a self-elected expert on the subject. You can read his favorable critique of one contender that he found on a Madison street-cart. 

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