Today in America, we celebrate President’s Day. It is a day to honor our first President, George Washington and our first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln. It is also National Wisconsin Day.
I thought it would be nice to tell you about a President who was born in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, there are none – at least none thus far. No surprise that Virginia is the birthplace of more Presidents than any other state with a total of 8. Of those, George Washington was the only President that did not belong to any political party, although he was more closely associated to the Federalist Party once in office. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe all belonged to the Democrat-Republican Party. Yeah, they were once one and the same. The Democrat-Republican Party eventually evolved into the Democrat Party. Woodrow Wilson, the last Persistent from Virginia, was a Democrat. The remaining three Virginia Sons who became President; William Henry Harrison, John Tyler and Zachary Taylor were part of the Whig Party. The Whig Party, formed in 1834 to oppose the “tyranny” of President Andrew Jackson, crumbled under the crisis over slavery. By February 1854, anti-slavery Whigs began holding meetings in the upper Midwest to discuss the formation of a new political party. One such meeting, on March 20, 1854 took place in Ripon, Wisconsin. Some historians believe this meeting was the founding of the Republican Party.
So our first President, George Washington, had no party backing. Our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, had the support of the newly formed Republican Party. It’s interesting to note that George Washington warned Americans of the dangers of Political Parties. He feared that partisanship would lead to a “spirit of revenge” in which party members would no longer govern for the good of the people but for power and control. He felt the formation of parties could pose as threats to the liberties of citizens, and eventually erode into a divided nation.
Looking at the political climate today, the bitterness on both sides, the hatred and ugly cruelty, maybe we’d be better off scraping the whole political structure and start over again with a clean slate. Clearly so much of what has happened has to do with power, control and oppression of the opposing side. I love my country and pray for healing needs to happen soon.
That’s my rant for today. As for celebrating Wisconsin Day, the recipes I’ve chosen are so cliché. Hubby has a running joke that he doesn’t drink beer or eat cheese, so the folks of Wisconsin asked him to leave. Hey, what could be more “Wisconsin” than a soup made with beer, brats and cheese? None that I can think of. Many of the settlers of Wisconsin are German, so Rye Bread made sense. And the butter? Hey, Wisconsin is a dairy state. There ya go!
Cliché Wisconsin Supper
Beer Brat Cheddar Soup
Caraway Rye Bread
Sweet Honey Butter
Wisconsin Beer Brat Cheddar Soup
1 medium White Onion
1 medium Carrot
3 larges Shallots
1 teaspoon Caraway Seeds
10 oz Wisconsin Aged Cheddar Cheese
4 Smoked Bratwurst,
2 tablespoons Butter
1-3/4 cups Vegetable Stock
1/3 cup Flour
1 cup Half-and-Half
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
1 (12 oz) can Miller or Old Milwaukee Beer
Peel and finely dice onion, set aside. Peel and coarsely shred carrot, set aside. Peel and dice shallots, set aside. Crush caraway seeds, set aside. Shred Cheddar Cheese, set aside. Split smoked Bratwurst in half lengthwise, then slice and set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and shallots; reduce heat to medium low. Cook, stirring frequently, about 10 to 15 minutes or until the onion is very soft and golden.
In a large screw-top jar, combine broth and flour. Cover and shake until combined and smooth to create a slurry. Stir into the onion mixture. Add the milk, caraway seeds and black pepper.
Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Gradually stir in the cheese; reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, until cheese melts, but do not boil.
Add the bratwurst and beer. Cook, stirring frequently, until heated through. Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with more cheese if desired.
Bread Machine Caraway Rye Bread
1-1/4 cups lukewarm Water (100 degrees)
2 tablespoons Dry Milk Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons Molasses
2 tablespoons Butter
3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1-3/4 cups Bread Flour
3/4 cup Rye Flour
1-1/2 tablespoons Caraway Seeds
1-3/4 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
Honey Butter for serving
Put lukewarm water, milk powder, salt, brown sugar, molasses, butter, whole wheat flour, bread flour, rye flour, caraway seeds, and yeast into the pan of a bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer.
Select the Grain setting and 2-pound (large) loaf size. Press Start.
When complete, remove bread from pan. Cut with a bread knife into slices. Serve warm with honey butter.
1 cup Butter, soft
1/4 cup Honey
Mix together butter and honey until smooth and well blended. Taste and adjust honey to personal preferences.
Mound in a small crock. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator. Allow butter to come to room temperature before serving.