The website 247Tempo has assembled a list of strange food items found and commonly enjoyed in all 50 states. Don't think of these items as deep-fried Oreos or something quintessential to a county fair. These are truly strange foods, and some don't sound good for the faint of heart.

This month, I've written about a strange Norwegian dumpling dish in Iowa known as "Kumla," as well as the amalgam of Italian delicacies known as "spaghetti pizza," which is apparently popular in Illinois. I remarked about how spaghetti pizza is a bit easier to find than Kumla, but no dish is easier to find than what 247Tempo calls Wisconsin's "strangest food."

Photo Credit: koromelena
Photo Credit: koromelena

I'll admit, I rolled my eyes when I saw that 247Tempo pegged cheese curds as the strangest food to be found in Wisconsin. Then, I thought about it. I've lived in the Midwest for so long that cheese curds are one of the most commonplace menu items at almost any restaurant next to French fries and mini tacos. For people outside of the Midwest, the idea of cheese curds is not only foreign, but probably a little strange too.

Here's how 247Tempo describes cheese curds for their readers:

Cheese curds aren’t all that strange as long as you don’t mind eating something that squeaks. When making cheese, the milk is acidified and coagulated, separating the whey from the solid part – the curd. Curds are then pressed into a mold to form cheese. Curds that don’t get pressed just stay curds – and in Wisconsin and other dairy states, they’re enjoyed fresh by the handful like popcorn. (They’re also the correct cheesey component of Quebec’s famous poutine.) - per 247Tempo

Photo Credit: bhofack2
Photo Credit: bhofack2

Props to 247Tempo for noting that cheese curds can be enjoyed just like popcorn. I've been to many Wisconsin stores where vacuum-sealed bags of squeaky balls of cheese are available for purchase, and are presumed to be consumed in such a state. Personally, I've always preferred them fried, sprinkled with salt and served with a side of raspberry jalapeno sauce.

With that said, yeah, maybe cheese curds are a little weird and different.

No less, I'd still say they're not nearly as odd as whatever "Kumla" is or the too-much-of-a-good-thing pizza known as "spaghetti pizza." If you're hankering to make your own cheese curds, however, the website offers a pretty easy-to-follow recipe:

  • 2Gallons of Milk (Not UltraPasteurized)
  • 1/2tsp Calcium Chloride
  • 1packet C201 Thermophilic Culture
  • 1/2tsp Single Strength Liquid Rennet
  • Cheese Salt

Visit 247Tempo's website for other strange foods across all 50 states.

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