Mad about Madison

Madison – now we’re talking. This town has some life, some action, and some spirit. Unlike in Milwaukee, you cannot lie down in the middle of a major intersection and take a nap during business hours.  Au contraire.

In Madison, even thinking about crossing the street at a marked crosswalk could get you seriously injured.  They are what you might call aggressive drivers, and no quarter is given. But it’s worth it to see a town that has a vibrant student population thanks to the University, and a hive of activity in the center, thanks to the state government. Okay, maybe it’s a bit polarized here, but since everyone knows where we stand anyway, here is our favorite automotive statement of the day:

We started the day in what must be a suburb called Middleton, but we don’t differentiate, so to us it’s all Madison. It was an essential and long-awaited stop on our pilgrimage. Behold the National Museum of Mustard!!!

This place had everything. We now understand the growing and harvesting process, the history, the variations and the origin of the phrase, “cutting mustard.” But space does not permit sharing this kernel of knowledge. (However, you Brits will appreciate the credit given to Colman’s for marketing genius.)

Barry Levenson, who runs this place, has a great sense of humor and that made it even more fun. Yes, he has an extremely mustard-centric view of the world, but you have to believe in something. The range of mustards in the shop just made you wonder how you get by with just the few dull bottles in your fridge. We wanted them all!

Then we found the Unitarian Meeting House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and opened in 1951. Those Unitarians are so open-minded that most of it was closed as they were renting the space out to a Jewish congregation today and we couldn’t see the whole thing. But, we were able to get into the auditorium (some would call it the church) and see it before they arrived. It had some drama and grandeur, but we almost knocked our heads on the roof overhang as we were leaving. That Frank was short and didn’t care about those who were more vertically endowed.

I had a date with destiny and needed to attend to some beautification issues, so Don made good use of his time by touring the State Capitol. He reports that it is astonishing in its excess, and wonderful to see. Unlike many such buildings we have seen, there was no security – no metal detectors?! – and the only sign about no firearms was outside the Supreme Courtroom. Trusting souls!

But the best reason for visiting Madison was seeing some very special people last evening. We have a dear lady in our lives named Bev, who was more than a sufficient reason to visit this part of the world. We also met her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter, who were all as lovely as one would expect from people in her sphere of influence. They introduced us to the iconic Old Fashioned Tavern, which had everything you would expect to find in this state.

Meet Bev and her family and gaze at the wide variety of dairy-related products (including beer-batter fried cheese curds  – which went fast), pickled products, encased meat products, un-encased meat products, beer and several healthy salads the graced our table. Dilly beans? I will not reveal what dishes went with which people, but just enjoy what we feasted on, and the folks we feasted with. (That mac and cheese was the best ever, and no, I did not eat it all!)

3 thoughts on “Mad about Madison

  1. Love the Mustard Munch!
    And thanks for the nod to us Brits. In Norwich, UK HQ for Colmans, the local soccer team wear yellow shirts and go by the name of The Canaries. One for the museum?
    It’s not every day that you get a ketchup-related house fire headline. You two know how to seek out the goodies.

      1. And re the house fire, it is absolutely clear that making the wrong choice in condiments can be devastating. We say no more.

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