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Touring Wisconsin Food

Tag: cows

8 Ways to Celebrate June Dairy Month


June is National Dairy Month and since Wisconsin has 1.26 million cows, we celebrate dairy month better than anyone! Here are 8 fun ways to celebrate dairy!
1. Attend a Dairy Month event.  From farm breakfasts to cheese carving contests, there’s plenty of places to go and fun activities to enjoy in June. Check out the Dairy Days of Summer website for a complete list of events around Wisconsin.
2. Fight osteoporosis. Did you know 54 million Americans have osteoporosis? This disease occurs when bones become weak due to loss of density. The National Osteoporosis Foundation encourages everyone to get enough calcium in their diet to prevent bone loss and dairy products are the best way to get calcium, so drink your milk!
3. Eat ice cream. I can’t think of a tastier way to enjoy dairy than ice cream! Legend has it that in 1881, the first ice cream sundae was served in Two Rivers, Wisconsin when a customer at a soda fountain asked for a dish of ice cream with chocolate sauce on top.

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Promoting Wisconsin Milk – Controversy or Celebration?

Recently, I wrote a post in response to the Food Blogga’s blogging event to raise awareness of osteoporosis. Calcium consumption is critical to preventing the disease and milk is the food with the highest calcium content. That’s why my mom daily fed me milk and I daily feed my children milk. Milk is the only food we will run out to the store for at 9:00 at night. Yet, Saturday I realized that I take milk for-granted.

On Saturday, I went to the celebration of milk at the Cows on the Concourse events at the Dane County Farmers’ Market on the Square in Madison, WI. While I watched children pet dairy cows on the steps of the state capitol building, I talked with the “Moo Experts”, members of the dairy industry who volunteered their Saturday to educate Wisconsinites about the vital role milk plays in human health and the health of Wisconsin’s economy. “Milk is such a staple food,” I said, “Why do you have to promote it?” Their answers surprised me. And this morning when I was doing some web research to verify the moo experts’ comments, I was shocked.

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Kids, cookies, and cows: Bringing it all together for the holidays!

One batch of cookies can take 1/2 lb. of butter.  Frosting it will take another 1/4 lb.  Calculations using the U.S. 2000 census indicate that if just 1/3 of American households make 3 batches of cookies this holiday season, then butter consumption will increase by approximately 79,110,075.75 lbs.  That’s a lot of extra butter.  Where does it all come from?

For the answer, this investigative reporter went to the source.  The following is an excerpt from my interview with Anna May, Lulu, Sassy, Sprinkles, and Julia –Holstein cows on George Dittmar’s dairy farm in central Wisconsin.  The composed demeanor of these heifers, tastefully chewing their cud while sporting hides of contrasting black and white patches, belied the critical importance of their labor.  I asked, “Does the extra baking during the holidays make this a busy time for you?” kids-cookies-1

They looked at each other.  Then Anna May, the group’s most forthright member, spoke first.  “Oh, well, our busiest time is in the fall.”

“Yes,” said Sassy, “that’s when Mr. D. asks us for extra milk to send to the cheese and butter factories.”

“They need it early to get the holiday food supplies ready in November,” explained Julia.

“Oh, I see,” I said, “which might be why Wisconsin butter production increased 6.9%, up to 33.9 million pounds this past October.”  The cows’ expressions went deadpan as each tried imagining a million pounds of butter.  “The extra work probably puts quite a strain on you,” I offered.

“Oh, but it’s worth it,” replied Sprinkles sweetly, “to see the children’s faces light up with joy when they’re given a frosted sugar cookie.  It just puts a lump in my throat.”

“That’s her cud,” quipped Lulu to Sassy.

Anna May shot them a stern look and said to me, “Sprinkles is right.  When you give a special holiday-shaped cookie to a child you give them more than a cookie, –you give a TOY!”

“Yes indeed,” confirmed Julia, “you give a TOY!”  The irreverence ceased as the younger cows deferred to Julia.  I learned later that Julia enjoys a position of authority in the barn because she had been named after Julia Child, a cook who definitely understood the value of good cream and butter.  Julia said, “A child doesn’t eat a cookie like an adult does.”

“Oh, no,” said Sprinkles shaking her head and pursing her lips in agreement.

“When adults bite into a cookie,” continued Julia, “their pleasure appears with a smile and brightening eyes.  The adult will say, ‘Mmmm! This is good!’  But a child’s pleasure…well, a child’s pleasure begins long before the first bite.” 

Christmas Cookies

holiday cookies

“You see,” explained Anna May, “the magic of the holiday is in the cookie.  In a child’s hand, a cookie comes alive.  Children hear the bell-shaped cookies ring when they shake them.”

“They see a shooting star’s fiery tale when they wave the star cookie above their heads,” said Julia.

“A wreath slipped on to a finger becomes a spinning ring,” added Sassy.

“Oh, that’s a wonderful game!” laughed Sprinkles. “Children love to see how much of the ring they can nibble away before it falls from their finger.”

“And they like to sing Frosty the Snowman when they pretend the snowmen cookies are skating over the table,” said Anna May.

“They sing Santa Claus Is Coming To Town when they make the Santas walk,” said Julia.

“Don’t forget the gingerbread man,” reminded Lulu. “Whole classrooms of kids run throughout schools looking for him.”

“And then it’s horrible!” wailed Sassy.  The other cows looked at her, stupefied.  “Haven’t you seen how those little boys eat a gingerbread man?!” she defended.  “They put their teeth around his neck and rip his whole head off!”

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