musings about food, travel, creativity and life

Madison—and the World!

”Food is our common ground, a universal experience.”

                                        —James Beard


 I love traveling—here, there, everywhere.  

Right now, we are in Madison, Wisconsin, where I can experience not only the unique qualities of Midwest living, but also all the openings to other cultures and cuisines that this town and state provide.

On Sunday, we went to the Madison Irish Festival where all kinds of music and dance groups performed at indoor and outdoor venues.   “Bangers and mash,”  corn beef and cabbage and beer were plentiful, and people watching was fun.  Another night, we heard the University of Wisconsin Russian Folk Orchestra play  many traditional folk tunes and classical pieces, as well as their concluding piece of “On Wisconsin,” but of course!  I also attended a performance of 12 monologues on the theme of travel, both physical and emotional, called “Out in This World.”

And then there are all the ethnic restaurants in town—in just a week and a half, we have had food from Laos, India, Nepal, France, and Italy.  Inexpensive, tasty travel—woo-hoo!  And then there are the close by towns founded by immigrants from Norway (Stoughton),  Switzerland (New Glarus) and Cornwall, England (Mineral Point) where their culture and cuisine shine.  

Add on the traditional Wisconsin Friday night Fish Fry, the extensive Saturday Farmers’ Market around the capitol (photo above), and this upcoming weekend’s Bratfest, and any foodies can taste their way around this land and vicariously around foreign lands with great pleasure.

I also tasted two cheese treats that can be experienced outside of Wisconsin:

 SarVecchio Parmesan cheese made by Sartori, a Wisconsin based cheese company started by an Italian immigrant and

Grilled cheese sandwich composed of Hook one year cheddar, provolone, red onion, mayonnaise, thinly sliced Honeycrisp apple, and avocado, on a hearty sour dough bread.  

Along with all these wonderful food possibilities, there’s food for thought, too…after all, this is a university town.  A new bookstore just opened three blocks from us.  We have already frequented it often and helped support them!—and us.  Two culinary themed books I purchased are:

The Osteria Papavero Cookbook by Francesco Mangano and Lindsay Christians, with tempting recipes from a good local Italian restaurant—Pasta Zucchine e Ricotta, La Ribollita (Tuscan Bread Soup) and Salame di Cioccolato (sounds like my kind of salame!)


The Smart Cookie, a delightful children’s book with fun plays-on-words and a teacher character named Ms. Biscotti—how could I not like the book!  The two authors, Jory John and Pete Oswald, have written many other food-themed books, like The Good Egg, The Couch Potato, and The Cool Bean.  I look forward to exploring those, too.

And there you have it, a smorgasbord of international fare found close at hand.  Now if I could only remember to explore this way on our California home front in order to feel the foreign and new there, too. I will👩‍🍳💃🏽 


12 thoughts on “Madison—and the World!”

  • Oh Lynn, you must be in heaven! It’s 7AM here in Carmel Valley, and all the food treats you mentioned sound just perfect for breakfast! Your colorful descriptions bring back wonderful memories of being in Madison with you two. It is a magical place! Soak it in!

    • It is fun! As was our time here with you two💕. Happy eating to all of us, no matter the locale or cuisine🥳

  • Love this post, Lynn. Sounds like Madison offers you all that you love!
    Perhaps you should write for the Chamber of Commerce. Madison sounds like a restorative sojourn. Keep having fun! Hugs-b

  • I simply MUST try that grilled cheese when I visit this summer. Please let me know where to find it. Loved your international take on my little state capital, thanks, Gigi!

    • Longtable Beer Cafe in Middleton! And with the sandwich, this non-beer drinker had a wee bit of New Glarus Berliner Apfel beer. Such a good combo! Ciao,

  • As always I love your writing about food, and books (often about food too). My sisters and I spent a few days in Madison one fall and loved it. We were lucky to have enjoyed the huge Farmer’s market and an outdoor symphony in front of the capital building as well. This piece brought back lots of fun memories of our time there. You and John have picked 3 awesome places in which to live. Each so different , beautiful, and nurturing. Bon Appetit!

    • So glad you got to spend time in Madison—it is fun in so many ways❣️👏❣️ And thanks for reading my blog💓

  • Loved your post, Lynn! Sounds like you and John are having a great time. I’m especially interested in making this:

    ♥ Grilled cheese sandwich composed of Hook one year cheddar, provolone, red onion, mayonnaise, thinly sliced Honeycrisp apple, and avocado, on a hearty sour dough bread.

    That sounds amazing!

    Are you coming our way soon? I hope so.

    • Hi Lenore! And it really was a great sandwich! And yes we hope to come up your way mid June….looking forward to seeing you❣️

  • Love to hear of your travels, and news of Wisconsin, which is not politically seasoned!

    I just returned from our annual PKS sailing adventure, this time returning to Placentia, Belize. We were in need of a catamaran sail to some warm water for swimming and medicinal drinks (tonic-malaria, lime-scurvy, bitters-homeopathic prophylactic, and RUM-takes care of everything else) to maintain our health. I’ll forward a pictures of our PKS crew, although Mike Boland and Marco Magnano were not able to join us on this trip – missed Fred of course.

    • What a sweet adventure with such a wonderful “crew.” And I’m so glad you were able to partake of all those essential medicinal drinks to keep your health vibrant! And I can imagine how you missed Fred. What a long wonderful history you’ve shared with your dear friends and how lucky I am to have known all of you, too.💓💓

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