It’s never easy to be away from home for the holidays. Besides missing friends and family, if you aren’t here in Wisconsin, you miss out on some pretty great traditions, as well. If you’re far from home and looking to cure those winter blues, here are a few options for curing Wisconsin homesickness over the next few weeks.
1. Have an Old Fashioned.
They've become much more popular nationwide but they never really went out of style here.
2. Go to a Packer Bar.
They're literally everywhere, across the US and in other countries. At worst, you're surrounded by fellow fans of the home team, but at best, you find other local transplants and you can share your Wisconsin food and beverages while working on making sure you don't lose your accent. These same places usually have Badger gatherings on Saturdays, as well.
3. Have some pickled herring.
This is a Wisconsin New Year's tradition, but you'll find some Ma Baensch's on plenty of holiday tables around the state, as well. Still make in Milwaukee, Riverwest neighborhood, it just tastes like home.
4. Have some brandy.
You probably already did in your Old Fashioned, but a second drink never hurts. Wisconsin consumes 1/3 of all brandy Korbel makes, which is kind of unfathomable.
5. Buy (or make) some Stollen.
It's best enjoyed in the morning accompanied by some dunking in your coffee, in my opinion, but it's a staple of holidays in Wisconsin. Find a European baker and you should find some version of it.
6. Run a meat raffle.
Do we just really love meat? Is it the access to sausage? You can find meat raffles elsewhere, but honestly most of them are run by transplanted Midwesterners.
7. Break out the New Glarus.
Don't lie, we know you have some stashed away from your last trip home just waiting for a special occasion. They don't get more special than this. A fruity lambic is a perfect holiday treat, in my opinion, and no one makes better options than New Glarus.
8. Have some cheese.
The preferred option is curds, fresh or deep-fried, but really any good aged cheddar, Wisconsin-created Colby or stinky Limburger will do. Folks that move away most know how absolutely spoiled we are by great cheese because they no longer have access to it. Splurge on a gift box from a local maker or go scrounging specialty shops in your area. Close your eyes and enjoy some great cheese and remember why Wisconsin is so darn great.
9. Make yourself an ice cream cocktail.
Photo courtesy of author
The best way to transport yourself, even momentarily, to Wisconsin is to pretend you're at a supper club. It's a bit difficult to fully recreate the prime rib and relish tray experience at home, but blending up a grasshopper will definitely remind you of home.
10. Make something from the WE Energies Cookie Book.
Long gone are the days of having to either wait in line for a physical copy of this book or figure out a way to get your hands on one long distance - the current edition and an archive of past editions are available on their website. Spending a full day in the kitchen making some Wisconsin favorites like you used to do with Grandma should help cure some of the homesickness.
11. Fire up the grill.
If your local grocer sells bratwurst, even better. But no matter the weather, we Wisconsinites love to grill out, so fire up your Weber and pretend you're much closer to home.
12. Make a Wisconsin playlist.
It'll be an eclectic collection including "Jump Around," "Roll Out the Barrel," "Bang the Drum All Day," "30 Point Buck," "The Bud Song," "The Chicken Dance," "Brewers Keep Turning Up the Heat," "Swingtown," "Enter Sandman," The Violent Femmes, The BoDeans, Les Paul, Garbage, Al Jarreau and Bon Iver.
13. Start planning a trip home.
Even if you can't be home right now, it's time to start planning one for as soon as possible!
What other things do you do to help remind you of home? Let us know in the comments!
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