The Cabin

Wisconsin Holiday Traditions

Episode Summary

In the last episode of The Cabin, we covered Wisconsin holiday gifts; this week, we turn to some of Wisconsin’s holiday traditions… food, drink, sights, and sounds that are emblematic of the holiday season in our wonderful state. We cover hot toddies and cannibal sandwiches; aluminum Christmas trees and the traditions of St. Nick; sending kringle to loved ones and crawling for hot chocolate and other treats in town, and more. Join us as we also celebrate the eve of St. Nick’s today on The Cabin!

Episode Notes

The Cabin is presented by the Wisconsin Counties Association and this week we’re featuring Calumet County;

Campfire Conversation: 

Eric and Ana discuss some holiday traditions popular in - and in some cases practically exclusive to - Wisconsin while educating Jake (a relative newcomer from California) on how awesome the holidays are in this state. Wisconsinites definitely have a sweet tooth, and traditions often brought from the “old country” gave the state tendencies to lean toward desserts and treats that others around the country don’t get to experience as often. We profile plenty of bakeries around the state baking up treats like stollen and Danish kringle (the official pastry of Wisconsin), along with holiday cookies, candied fruit, spices, and nuts. Even We Energies, formerly Wisconsin Electric Company, puts out their annual “Cookie Book” and has every year for generations at this point.
Both bars and traditional basement parties in Wisconsin would mix up quite a concoction of cocktails that are particularly popular in the holiday season, including the hot toddy, the Tom & Jerry, and the Brandy slush (this state consumes a lot of brandy.) Hot chocolate is also very popular, and some towns in the state have bars that organize “hot chocolate crawls” to keep people warm as they “crawl” from spot to spot.
Another big holiday tradition, especially in eastern Wisconsin, is tiger meat or steak tartare - raw beef with onions, salt, pepper, on rye. Some even crack raw egg on top. The German version - mettbröchen - consists of raw minced beef or pork & onions on a bread roll.. it’s known as the “cannibal sandwich” in the Milwaukee area. And yes, we discuss what the Department of Health has to say about these sandwiches.
The holiday decor is another topic, and those unique and cool-looking aluminum trees that became hugely popular in the early 1960s came out of Manitowoc, where they made them and shipped them all over the country. You can still find them, and enjoy a huge display of the in Manitowoc every holiday season with “Evergleams on Eighth” downtown. We cover all of this and more as we’re fully imbibed into the holidays on The Cabin!

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