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The Interstate Limburger War of 1935
August 11, 2014 1:47 PM   Subscribe

"Burkhard challenged Miller to a 'Cheese Duel': Burkhard and Miller would sit at a table, and if Burkhard could cut a piece of Limburger cheese and Miller not wretch, Miller would be forbidden from complaining about Wisconsin and her cheese ever again."

Previously from Jim Cofer: an account of the Berners Street Hoax
posted by Iridic (44 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'd brie up for the challenge.

I'm not sorry.
posted by Fizz at 2:08 PM on August 11 [10 favorites]


Thanks to all the publicity from Burkhard and Miller, it was by far the most popular Cheese Day in history to that point: more than 50,000 people showed up to celebrate.

I am extremely put out that the writer did not employ a "milking the bet for all it was worth" joke here.
posted by elizardbits at 2:12 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


He thought it would be too cheesy.
posted by zamboni at 2:26 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


I camembert puns.
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:27 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Retch
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 2:31 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]


I grew up in Dubuque and now live in Wisconsin. It's good to see that our states can come to accord over beer, cheese, and smoked fish, even if we can't agree on marriage equality, fireworks, or much else.
posted by BrashTech at 2:36 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Ah, Limburger. I actually tried eating it once. Only once. That was enough. It's one of those leftovers from a bygone era my grandparents occupied, full of "holy shit, you actually eat that?" items. Like fried brain sandwiches. Which I actually like quite a lot. But, not Limburger. A line must be drawn somewhere.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:39 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Limburger is something I have heard about all my life (generally as a punchline of some sort) but as far as I know have never encountered, and I wouldn't even have any idea where to find some if I wanted to.

This has not really encouraged me to look more deeply into the issue.
posted by Wolfdog at 2:47 PM on August 11


I don't understand how the "duel" was supposed to work. Miller could fake retching, couldn't he, and win if he chose to do so. And why was Miller being offering gas masks, cloths pegs etc? I mean wouldn't that render the whole thing completely moot? Shouldn't it have been Miller challenging Burkhard not to retch, under the belief that nobody could really enjoy the smell of the cheese?

And then if the big reveal was that Miller didn't have any sense of smell, why go through the whole farce at all?

Something in this story doesn't smell right.
posted by yoink at 2:51 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]


My grandfather liked Limburger, but then on the other hand it did provide him with weapon against injustice when he was younger. He was at a party, and some big bully started to, well, bully him. So he went to the kitchen and got some Limburger, and then went to the where everyone's coat was hanging up and smeared the inside of the bully's coat with Limburger.
posted by 445supermag at 3:02 PM on August 11


Even in Wisconsin, where every grocery store has 150 linear feet of six-foot tall cheese displays, the Limburger section (if it exists at all) is one small pile of three or four carefully wrapped pieces. Usually the one made in Monroe, since there's only one other place in the country (in Michigan) that makes it.

I got a chunk as a practical joke once, and even in a plastic bag in a plastic bag in a sealed jar in the back of the refrigerator you could STILL smell it when you walked into the kitchen.
posted by echo target at 3:02 PM on August 11


So I liked this factoid from the Wikipedia entry on Limburger:
In 2006, a study showing that the malaria mosquito (Anopheles gambiae) is attracted equally to the smell of Limburger and to the smell of human feet earned the Ig Nobel Prize in the area of biology
posted by yoink at 3:05 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Shouldn't it have been Miller challenging Burkhard not to retch, under the belief that nobody could really enjoy the smell of the cheese?


Right. I wonder if the author wrote that backwards. It wouldn't make any sense otherwise.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 3:07 PM on August 11


I saw some Limburger at Publix of all places a few years ago and based on its reputation I had to try it. Pungent but not bad; lots of other things out there I would avoid more than Limburger. Brains, for one. And that Italian cheese with maggots.
posted by TedW at 3:09 PM on August 11


Right. I wonder if the author wrote that backwards.


Or is the article linked in the FPP just this blog post rewritten, which itself is just a reprint of something from "Uncle John's Slightly Irregular Bathroom Reader"?

The cheese duel definitely happened but I wonder where these specific details came from.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 3:12 PM on August 11




Pungent but not bad; lots of other things out there I would avoid more than Limburger. Brains, for one. And that Italian cheese with maggots.

Let's talk about the durian fruit.
posted by Fizz at 3:15 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


I would love to try durian sometime! Don't see it much in Georgia, though.
posted by TedW at 3:18 PM on August 11


Market of Choice has a little basket of cheese ends and bits sold for a buck or two each. We pick through the offerings occasionally to try cheese we wouldn't otherwise encounter. They had Limburger so we bought a small wedge.

The smell was...intimate. It's the sort of smell you forgive your love for producing because you love them, and if you didn't love them, it would be enough to pack shite and walk out. The flavor was abhorrent. Just awful.
posted by malthusan at 3:24 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


AHA! This entry in the same newspaper NA-ID linked to above makes it clear what the actual nature of the duel was: they BOTH took turns sniffing the limburger--the idea being whoever gave up first was the loser. That makes sense: Burkhard was being gallant offering the gas mask to Miller--it was a "I can lick you with one hand tied behind my back" gesture.
posted by yoink at 3:25 PM on August 11


And those Limburger sandwich recipes look delicious! Pumpernickel, onions, German mustard with the stinky cheese? I'm there! Probably some weekend when I'm home by myself though. Although it sounds like something my former father in law would eat before going to the dentist, who just happened to be his younger brother.
posted by TedW at 3:30 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


Durian just smells bad, it's worlds more palatable than Limburger. I'd like to see anyone try enjoying Limburger ice cream.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 3:32 PM on August 11


I love love love love me a nice limburger and onion sandwich on rye, best eaten with a nice dark beer. Best if the limburger is well aged to a wonderfull pungent smell and creamy texture.

My kids call them "stinky sandwiches".
posted by fimbulvetr at 3:33 PM on August 11


I'd brie up for the challenge.

I guess you could say I wouldn't even swiss cheese twice about it!
posted by shakespeherian at 3:33 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


I'd brie up for the challenge.

Mighty Gouda of you to offer!
posted by Renoroc at 3:39 PM on August 11


Ahem.
posted by Floydd at 3:43 PM on August 11


I'd like to see anyone try enjoying Limburger ice cream.

I love some stinky cheese, I also love blue cheese, so when I saw Blue Cheese and Pear ice cream, I gave it a shot.

Don't do it. Let my experience be your object lesson. It was terrible. Luckily I still love stinky and blue cheese so no long term damage.
posted by arcticseal at 4:14 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


But why won't you dance with me?
posted by lumpenprole at 4:20 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


when I saw Blue Cheese and Pear ice cream

My dad used to core a pear, fill the hole with blue cheese and pack it tight, and cut it into slices. Damn that was a good snack. Thanks for reminding me, I'm going to buy some stilton and pears now.
posted by Hoopo at 4:20 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Try salt rising bread. Hell, add a schmear of Limburger on there for good measure. Lightly toasted...
posted by Windopaene at 4:21 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


THIS IS JUST TO SAY

I have eaten
the Limburger
that was in
the cheese drawer

and which
you were probably
saving
for rye bread

Forgive me
it was delicious
so pungent
and so stinky
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:37 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


I think a trip to the German deli may be in order.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:43 PM on August 11


I cheddar at the very thought.
posted by Chitownfats at 4:46 PM on August 11


Limburger will retire to it's place in the graveyard of bygone foods. Right next to aspics.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:19 PM on August 11


And why was Miller being offering gas masks, cloths pegs etc? I mean wouldn't that render the whole thing completely moot? Shouldn't it have been Miller challenging Burkhard not to retch, under the belief that nobody could really enjoy the smell of the cheese?
And then if the big reveal was that Miller didn't have any sense of smell, why go through the whole farce at all?
Something in this story doesn't smell right.


You're right -- it's got more holes in it than a Swiss colander.
posted by uosuaq at 6:18 PM on August 11


I used to date a woman who liked durian. One day she brought some in to work for me to try...a task which was made more difficult when a buddy of mine two tables away retched and said "god, what's that SMELL??"
posted by nevercalm at 6:28 PM on August 11


I find stories about durian both amusing and baffling. To me it smells nectar-like in a creamy way.

Haven't tried limburger before, but I have tried blue cheese and goat's cheese; both were a bit whiffy but nice on a cracker.
posted by Alnedra at 11:56 PM on August 11


Jackass 0.5
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:46 AM on August 12


I've never had this cheese is it more pungent then other washed rind smear ripened cheeses like real Munster?
posted by JPD at 4:47 AM on August 12


I brought a coworker who likes unusual foods a packet of durian sandwich cookies from a trip to Hong Kong. The entire office knew the instant he opened the package. You can practically see the stink coming off of a durian.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 5:55 AM on August 12


To me it smells nectar-like in a creamy way.

It does have a custard-y texture, but the flavor is like eating an overripe banana mixed with raw onions out of a sweaty sock.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 5:57 AM on August 12


A cartoon dog had Limburger dumped on him while reading the “a rose by any other name” line from Shakespeare in 1949′s A Ham in a Role, the “last cartoon of the Golden Age of American Animation”.

This is pretty clearly a misreading of the Wikipedia entry for this cartoon - this was the last appearance by that particular dog character in the Golden Age.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:15 AM on August 12


I've never had this cheese is it more pungent then other washed rind smear ripened cheeses like real Munster?

As a connoisseur of stinky cheese: no, it's not. Limburger is just the most culturally known, at least in the US, of this kind of cheese. I had a ridiculously soft pile of taleggio from Whole Foods a couple weeks ago that made most Limburger smell like roses. And it was delicious.

The funniest thing for me about people who run from the smear-ripened cheeses without ever tasting them is that they are some of the tastiest. The flavor is almost always mild and nutty and savoury in a way that no other cheese is, in my experience. For those worried about flavor, you get more of a punch in the mouth from any run-of-the-mill blue cheese than you do for most of the smear-ripened ones.

(dark rye bread, a couple slices of Limburger, some fresh white onion, and a thick layer of spicy German mustard. Hell yes.)
posted by jammer at 10:28 AM on August 12 [2 favorites]


This is pretty tangential but Hwy 11 that runs through Monroe is a very nice drive. There is very little light pollution and you can see lots of stars. Years ago I was so awed by them that I just pulled over on the side of the road and sat on the hood of my car.

About 25 miles from Monroe, across the Illinois border, is an excellent restaurant out in the middle of nowhere. Try the fried chicken with maple bourbon sauce (seriously).

Highway 14 from Madison to LaCrosse is another great drive, probably even better since there are more rolling hills.

This has been your Wisconsin highway report.
posted by desjardins at 11:42 AM on August 12 [4 favorites]


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