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Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Culinary no-no #250

Culinary no-no's



Like the old game show…

Today's password is:


New, as in, gee, it sure would be nice not to have the same old meatloaf or scrod or chicken for dinner this week. Providing variety that will bring smiles to families that still dine together at the same time at the same table can be tough for whoever is doing the cooking.

“Aww, Mom. Spaghetti, again?”

“Can you put some meat in it this time?”

I hear ya, kid. I used to drink the same whine.

A similar challenge is faced by today’s restaurateurs and chefs. How can we keep refreshing our menus while maintaining a balance of patron favorites? How do we continue to update with new, exciting, innovative creations that will catch on?

The solution for some is to go exotically different.

And how.

Diners are bored. To satisy unsatisfied foodies, restaurants are turning to ingredients I submit can be categorized as unusual. Do any of these tantalize your taste buds?


Veal brains

Hyssop (an herb)

Preboggin (wild greens or "weeds")


Spiced pigeon

Duck with blood sauce

Pig udders

Pig wombs

Suddenly a Big Mac sounds like pheasant under glass.

Now, I clearly understand that some of these "cool trends" evolve elsewhere and take their good-natured time arriving in these humble Midwest parts, if at all. Even so, it's difficult to imagine veal brains on the menu of, let's say...

Bacchus, one of the best restaurants in Milwaukee.

My palette isn’t exactly pedestrian so my judgment, I believe to be sound when I suggest the weirdest menu item I could find at Bacchus was, well…I couldn’t spot anything strange at all to be honest.

The same held true over at Sanford's with the possible exception of that octopus deal.

Here’s the irony about all the above-mentioned ingredients intended to generate a buzz and more seats in the restaurants seats: What is designed to be marketed as “new” ideas actually is far from it. Those culinary innovations come from as far back as ancient Rome or from Renaissance manuscripts. The newest ideas can be found in 19th century cookbooks.

Number One reason to doubt this trend: It’s not a trend. Hardly.

Number Two: If these new ingredients are supposed to spice up interest and dinner plates, forget it. They tend to be rather bland.

Number Three: They may not see the light of day known as the regular menu. Chefs and restaurant owners are more skeptical than optimistic. So instead of offering these odd new entrees to anyone and everyone, they’ll instead be served during special events that require reservations when restaurants are generally closed.

A special tasting during off hours for pig udders? No thank you.

So why the hell do these chefs bother?

Sometimes you can bend over backwards and try too hard to be creative. We merely turn to an episode from a popular TV series.

In “The Most Unforgettable Characters,” Radar gets a kit from a writing class in Las Vegas and goes too literal.

The accompanying brochure is filled with imaginative assignments. One of them was, “Relate an amusing anecdote.”  Radar gets the entire camp involved in his writing escapades. His pad and pencil construct sentences like, “The wounded were aided attended by super surgeons.”

By the end of the episode, the man in charge has had enough. Colonel Potter bluntly informed his underling, “The first rule if you want to be a writer is to be yourself.”

Bingo for chefs.

Read more in the Wall Street Journal including why restaurant patrons might never have to worry about ordering the Meat Mincer, thank God.


10 Best and Worst Food Issues in America

Now that's a supersized burger...

The new big burger at Mallie's Sports Bar and Grill in Southgate, Michigan had an official weight of 338.6 lbs. It could set a new Guinness World Record once it is validated by Guinness. AP photo

It's on the menu and costs $2,000.


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