I Love Wisconsin

My good friend Steph was in town from Door County this weekend. An outing was in order for Monday, so she, Stanley, and I went to Old World Wisconsin to check out what they had going in mid-May.

Old World Wisconsin simulates life in Wisconsin in the late 1800s. It's made up of real historical houses from around the state that have been picked up and moved to the site, about halfway between Madison and Milwaukee. Employees dress up in period clothing and do the tasks that people would have been doing. There's also some killer gardens and livestock.... I hadn't been there since I was a kid, and I'd always wanted to go back, so we did.

Before I get to that, I have some pictures from our own old world cookout the night before. Steph and I have been friends since we were little kids, so my family was all anxious to see her too. We hosted a good old fashioned cookout at my house......

I finally made local mayonnaise from my chicken's eggs and local sunflower oil. So good and creamy, and so easy! The oil gave it a strong sunflower flavor that went well with the dishes we put it in. I'll include a recipe for the mayo at the end of the post.

The treat of the evening was these morels that Steph brought from Door County. As you can see, she's had excellent mushroom hunting luck this spring.

Wow. We sauteed the mushrooms in butter. What flavor!

She made deviled eggs from my chicken's fresh eggs, homemade mayo, salt, pepper, paprika, and a little local watercress for garnish. I make a lot of deviled eggs these days, I don't think I could ever get sick of them!

My potato salad also utilized the mayo, along with sorrel and some green garlic. Those storage potatoes from the fall are almost at the end of their life, but they still taste good! I'll add a recipe for this potato salad at the end as well. The sorrel added an excellent flavor.

Brats! These are from Willow Creek Farm. Nothing says Wisconsin like a brat cookout. We ate them with local raw sauerkraut and mustard.

OK, now on to Old World Wisconsin. I have a lot of pictures to share, so I'll spare you excessive commentary. Thanks to Steph to taking most of the pictures.

Rhubarb was everywhere! One of the houses had rhubarb drying for winter use. Others were using it for pies and sauces. Unfortunately the public can't eat any of the food that's made here (damn health code!), so we had to content ourselves with looking.

Looking up through the chimney at one of the homes. The Germans who lived here originally smoked meat up there.

Everything is made in old wood fired ovens - not an easy task. It's neat to see them up and running.

The path through the garden to the outhouse - this one was a three seater! I love the path lined with strawberries. The wooden barrel was used to crate water out into the garden for irrigation. Makes you really appreciate the invention of the garden hose!

A happy snout.

Provider of eggs.

Lovage. I saw it growing in several of the gardens and was puzzled by it until I had a chance to ask one of the employees. It's a bit like celery or parsley. I think I might have to plant some....

I didn't see any asparagus in any of the gardens. When I asked one woman, she said it was because the early Wisconsinites didn't grow it. I asked someone else, and she said no, they did have it, it just wasn't planted in Old World Wisconsin. Upon further research, I think that they did have asparagus (it's a really old vegetable, and it certainly grows well in Wisconsin). I sure would have grown it if I was as dependant on local food as these folks were.

A primitive stove.

I want some of these crocks!

Back to the garden..... they were trellising bush peas up these sticks. I'd love to see them when they're grown!

A gorgeous garden. Sort of like a raised bed layout, except the beds aren't raised. Most of it was not yet planted, but there was a square of sorrel, a ton of asparagus, lovage, thyme, oregano, and sage. The plant flowering in the background is a dye plant.

Happy cows. These guys are used to pull a plow - the tips of their horns were capped with a gold colored metal. Take that California cows!

A nifty and newfangled butter churn.

The old fashioned butter churn.

This contraption was used to press the water out of the butter. I want one!

All Wisconsin Mayonnaise

1 Egg
2 Egg Yolks
2 Cups Sunflower Oil
Apple Cider Vinegar

Puree the egg and yolks in a food processor until they're quite thick. Season with a few teaspoons of vinegar and a dash of salt. Turn the processor back on. Very slowly, in a steam of droplets, add 1 cup of oil. Turn off processor and check for seasoning. Turn the processor back on and very slowly add the remaining oil. check again for seasoning, and serve. Best used fresh, but this mayo will keep 4-5 days in the fridge.

Spring Potato Salad
Red potatoes
Mayo (recipe above)
1 Big bunch Sorrel, chopped (use stems and leaves)
3-4 stalks Green Garlic, chopped (everything but the very top of the greens)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cube potatoes and boil them until just tender (don't overcook). Drain and run cold water over them to cool. Add enough mayo to dress the salad, then add the vegetables. Season to taste.

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1 comment:

  1. How fun, Megan. My mom is getting ready to volunteer at Old World Wisconsin this summer. Thanks for the tour!


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