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The Cheese War Between the States

January 21, 1998|CHARLES PERRY

They take their cheese seriously in Wisconsin, and the "It's the Cheese" ads run by the California Milk Producers' Advisory Board have evidently struck a nerve there. "A more accurate proclamation," writes the Wisconsin State Journal, "would be 'It's the hot air.' "

Meaning that in the biennial U.S. Champion Cheese Contest, in which more than 500 cheeses from 22 states were entered, Wisconsin took 13 of the 20 first prizes and California got only two (aged goat cheese and hard cheese). "Big deal," the newspaper concludes.

The contest they cite was held in Wisconsin in March. However, as the Milk Advisory Board points out, California won 17 categories against Wisconsin's eight at the American Cheese Society tasting held in August on neutral ground--in Seattle.

The Cheese War Goes On

Possibly buoyed by these findings, Gov. Pete Wilson bet Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson 150 pounds of California cheese, among other things, on the outcome of the NFC Championship game held weekend before last. During the game, "It's the Cheese" planes flew overhead, the scoreboard flashed the question "Hey Wisconsin, here for the cheese?" each quarter and a new "Where's the Cheese?" ad debuted on TV.

All to no avail. As we know, Green Bay won, and California is now out a case of wine, some raisins, some clothes from the Gap and a whole bunch of cheese, which Wisconsin might even refuse to eat.

Next: Southwestern Aloysius Cuisine

Two leading lights of Southwestern cuisine have recently discovered their middle names. So get used it: They're now Mark Charles Miller and John Riviera Sedlar, to distinguish them from all the other Mark Millers and John Sedlars of the world.

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