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Friday, June 29, 2007

Thank You Ralph

Here's a Wisconsin item that our normally reliable Dairyland correspondent, Frank Paynter, let slip by. We have to cut him a bit of slack, however. He was probably caught up in the excitement of being appointed an Honorary Fellow at the University of Wisconsin.

Ralph Stayer, founder and creator of the divine Johnsonville Brats, passed away the other day. Five years ago, when I was just getting my feet wet as a blogger, I blogged about my love for the Wisconsin brat, inspired by a piece by the late, great journalist, R.W. Apple.

Apple declared the Johnsonville the best of breed, and Paynter chimed in with his agreement.

RIP, Mr. Stayer. What I didn't realize about you was that, not only did you make the best brat of the lot ( a rhyme in case you don't know the correct pronunciation of this special concoction), you were responsible for bringing the brat into the American consciousness. Apparently, before you came along, the quality of sausage in this country was abominable.

Writing this post is making me drool. I am fantasizing about sitting on the deck of some brat joint along the shoreline of the pleasant lakeside town of Sheboygan, Johnsonville's home; then a drive through the bucolic countryside over to Frank's farm to watch him do his tractor jockey routine; then into Madison for seconds at the patio of State Street Brats.

(Follow the above Johnsonville link, btw, for some mouth-watering photos and great recipes).


  • time out of mind
    when it was called The Brat House
    I dined there
    on the steak sandwiches
    they were splendiferous

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:26 PM  

  • Ah, yes. The Brat House. Tom, you don't have to drive downtown after a visit to the farm. I'll fire up the grill and cook some of those Johnsonville bratwursts right here for you. I have package in the refrigerator for today's cookout, and there are more where that came from.

    By Blogger fpaynter, at 6:53 AM  

  • Ouch! You're making the longing even more intense, Frank. Enjoy your cookout!

    By Blogger Tom Shugart, at 9:22 AM  

  • Six months have passed and the heating bills are through the roof. Ironic that, as so much heat goes up the chimney. And it's snowy. Temps above freezing at the moment but it would take a long warm spell to melt all the white stuff on the ground. One wonders if you'll post here again.

    By Blogger fpaynter, at 9:08 PM  

  • I love brats -- it's in my blood my grandparents and uncles have been dairy farming and raising hogs in Wisconsin since the early 20th century!!! Brats were a summer treat when I was a kid and brats weren't available in Ohio Now my grocer sells Johnsonville brats. Great stuff!!!!!

    By Blogger Kay Dennison, at 11:25 AM  

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