Today is National Cheese Curd Day. Happy National Cheese Curd Day! Today is also the second consecutive day of cheese-related content on Milwaukee Record. Hope you’re enjoying those giant mozzarella sticks that are, as one Twitter user put it yesterday, “the size of the average romance hero’s cock.”

ANYWAY. It’s kind of weird that it’s National Cheese Curd Day, isn’t it? Cheese is beloved the world over, but aren’t cheese curds primarily a Wisconsin thing? Don’t out-of-staters usually gasp in shock/awe when they’re confronted with these deep-fried bullets of pure love? Are folks in Vermont, Colorado, and other states that recently topped Politico‘s “Which states had the best pandemic response?” article while Wisconsin surely ranked dead last really eating a ton of cheese curds? If they are, more power to them.

Which brings me to two more regional delights: Culver’s and Cousins. Before we pit their cheese curds against each other, let’s take a moment to appreciate how blessed we are to call these two fast-food favorites our own. Culver’s, founded in 1984 in Sauk City, Wisconsin, home to Butterburgers and frozen custard and the Shorewood High School Alumni Hall of Fame! Cousins Subs, founded in 1972 right here in Milwaukee, home to better bread and better subs and really funny Vincent Price commercials! I grew up thinking these glorious franchises were national concerns; I can’t begin to tell you how sad I was for the rest of the country when I learned they were not. I also grew up proud living in the great state of Wisconsin; I can’t begin to tell you how disgusted I am that I now live in a state where 19,880 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the last seven days and where state Republicans continue to show nothing but smug indifference or outright hostility to anything resembling a rational plan to save lives and put an end to this nightmare that could have lasted a few months but now appears will last into 2021 and possibly even 2022. There were 1,017 active hospitalizations in Wisconsin yesterday. There were 1,536 total deaths.

I picked up some Culver’s Wednesday afternoon on my way home from my office. I was planning to order curds only, but I decided to surprise my family and bring home a giant bag of burgers and fries and chicken strips and cheese curds and Mountain Dew instead. Rest easy, everyone! Dad’s got dinner tonight! There’s currently no dine-in service at the Shorewood Culver’s, and because of that the drive-thru line can sometimes snake into Capitol Drive. Happily, there’s always a group of headset-clad employees working the line, asking you to pull into a parking space if you know what you want, and taking your order there. It’s a pretty slick system and it always gives me time to check on Mark Borchardt’s latest Culver’s tweets.

As for the cheese curds, they’re pretty good! They’re harder and more nugget-like than I typically prefer, but they get the job done. “Every Culver’s Cheese Curd begins with farm fresh dairy from a Wisconsin family farm,” says the Culver’s website. “From there, the milk is brought to our exclusive provider of Cheese Curds, La Grander Hillside Dairy in Stanley, Wisconsin, our friends for nearly 20 years. They use the freshest, un-aged yellow and white Wisconsin Cheddar, which is then breaded with our signature blend of herbs and spices.” Yum!

Oh, and if you’re not familiar with Stanley, Wisconsin, it’s about 70 miles south of Sawyer County. That’s where the Tavern League of Wisconsin recently filed a lawsuit against Gov. Tony Evers’ latest emergency health order, and where a judge sided with the Tavern League on the same day Wisconsin had to open a fucking $15 million, 530-bed field hospital in State Fair Park. Yes, the so-called alternative care facility (ACF) is currently staffed for “only” 50 patients, and those patients will be low-risk patients “in the last few days of a normal hospitalization,” but good lord. We sure missed the Wisconsin State Fair this year, but hell, thanks to the Tavern League and a legislature that continues to do absolutely nothing in the face of death and disease and record-setting COVID-19 numbers, maybe we’ll get there this year after all. Just yesterday, 3,107 new cases were reported in the state, the third-highest one-day total on record. When will this end?????

I ordered Cousins on Tuesday afternoon from that new-ish delivery-only place on National Avenue. Have I ever told you the story of the time I ordered Cousins and a guy in our building intercepted my sub and ate it and knocked on our door and told me to order a new one and walked away? Dude didn’t even pay me back or offer to pay for the new one! Crazy times. Anyway, on a whim, not even knowing that National Cheese Curd Day was right around the corner (it seems to arrive earlier and earlier every year), I tossed in a small order of those bad boys on Tuesday. I usually go with chips. Some people say Cousins’ fries are slept on, but I dunno.

So how are Cousins’ cheese curds? They’re really, really, really good. They’re big, they’re fluffy, and they deliver that all-important squeak when you bite into them. Plus, there was a lone fry hiding in my cheese curd box, and okay, Cousins’ fries are pretty good. I honestly can’t believe these curds come from a fast food joint, just like I can’t believe this ghoul/dolt claiming that the opening of the State Fair field hospital is a political stunt. A political stunt! Honestly, these fucking people. Nothing will convince them. Nothing will change their minds. Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing.

So at what point do we have to accept reality and try something else? Death won’t convince these people. Press briefings won’t convince these people. Reporting won’t convince these people. Even the White House won’t convince these people. “Wisconsin’s ability to limit further and avoid increases in hospitalizations and deaths will depend on increased observation of social distancing mitigation measures by the community,” the White House’s COVID-19 Task Force said yesterday. “Lack of compliance with these measures will lead to preventable deaths.” Unreal. Absolutely unreal. And still: nothing. What’s that old quote that Albert Einstein never said? “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” At what point do Evers, Democrats, and anyone with half a brain have to accept reality and just…get on with it? I’m not saying we should give up, and I’m certainly not advancing a “Both sides are equally bad!” argument, but I can take only so many impotent calls for common sense and cooperation before I lose it. Seriously, we could fast-forward 400 years into the future and there would be seven people left on the planet and somehow Evers would still be saying, “Folks, I’m disappointed the Republicans tossed out my Safer At Home order 400 years and five months ago, but we really need to start working together.” Good grief, I really am losing it. I spent the weekend in a small town and witnessed, oh, about 90% of folks absolutely not giving a shit about masks or social distancing or occupancy limits or anything else, and just getting on with their lives. Bars were full. Gas stations were full. An apple orchard was full. There was a band. The biggest grocery store in town had a sign that basically said, “Wear a mask if you want, but we don’t give a good goddamn if you don’t.” And then, on Sunday, I drove back to Milwaukee where we remain in a weird limbo where some businesses are kinda-sorta open and some businesses are completely closed and some businesses are on the verge of completely closing any day now. And boy was it fun explaining to my kid that even though her cousin was going to school and seeing her friends, she likely won’t see the inside of a Milwaukee classroom or any of her Milwaukee friends for the rest of the school year. And again, I’m not throwing in the towel or blaming people who are ultimately doing the right thing. I know who the villains are. I know who’s to blame. I’m just…so ground down by all of this. I’m so tired. I’m at wits’ end. My mind is starting to crack. My family is starting to crack. Everything is starting to crack. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I think is, “I can’t believe I have to do this again.” This isn’t fun. It never was fun. I honestly don’t see an end to this. Is it really just every person for themselves? Can someone please do something? Is that too much to ask? Anyone. Anything. Please. Please. Please.

Cousins’ cheese curds are better than Culver’s cheese curds. Culver’s founded National Cheese Curd Day back in 2015, so I feel kind of bad giving the title to Cousins, but it’s true. I still love Culver’s and Cousins equally, though. Happy National Cheese Curd Day. Wear a mask. Do something. Please.

About The Author

Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.

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