My mom is from Racine, Wisconsin. I have two very fond memories of edible delights from visiting my grandparents out there when I was a kid.
The first is Kringle. This Danish pastry treat looks like a pizza, but with a large hole in the center, only making it about four inches wide. Unlike the cheese of a pizza, a Kringle is frosted on top and filled on the inside with your choice of things like apple, cherry, or pecan. According to the Wikipedia entry for Kringle, they’re especially important to Racine, one of the few places in the country that even makes Kringle, because of their large Danish immigrant population. Denmark’s loss is our gain!
Even though my grandparents have both passed on, my parents occasionally go out to visit other friends and family, and when they do they always bring back some Kringle. In fact, when finances permit (which they haven’t for some time now, alas), I’ll order one through the mail myself.
I can’t recommend highly enough that you visit the website of Racine’s O&H Danish Bakery and order some Kringle. Especially at this hot time of the year, we could all enjoy a cool, light, sweet treat like this.
The second is a hamburger and homemade root beer from Kewpee. I remember my grandfather taking my brother and me there whenever we visited, and it was the highlight of every trip. Kewpee is an old fashioned place, with only a few locations left open in that part of the country, but somehow they make the absolutely best food in the world.
Check out the pictures and menu on their web site. It almost makes one want to go out to Racine just for a trip to Kewpee, doesn’t it? I realize now that I haven’t been there for…twenty years? Wow. I really do need to go to Racine to eat at Kewpee.
By the way, on the off chance that anybody from Racine ends up reading this, my grandfather was Frank Cooper, who was a high school principal out there until about thirty years ago. Not only do we share a penchant for long, solitary walks, but I had completely forgotten about his career in education until after I decided to become a teacher myself. But if I think about him too long now, I’ll start to remember him taking me to Thrifty’s for ice cream, and this post has already made me hungry enough…