On Wisconsin!

It all started at a terrific little restaurant on East 34th Street in New York City called The Barking Dog. Although pets aren’t allowed inside the restaurant, there’s a large outdoor dining patio where pets are permitted. And just inside the door I spotted a large bowl filled with dog biscuits. The walls are adorned with photos of dogs and cute sayings on a blackboard about dogs and people. All-in-all, a very nice, family-type restaurant with an extraordinarily wide range of dishes on the menu.

Okay, that’s the pet-friendly story from your pet-friendly website. However, now to the food. Have you noticed that almost everything you can order on the menu in almost any restaurant today comes with cheese? How did that happen? Do I want cheese on my bacon and egg sandwich? On my grilled Portobello mushroom sandwich? Grilled chicken with cheese on top? No matter what you order today, they ask, “Do you want cheese?” A cheeseburger maybe (I prefer blue cheese), or a ham and cheese sandwich for sure.

It’s certainly the doings of Wisconsin—the cheese state and home of the Cheese Heads. Now it’s a perfectly nice place. Our next door neighbors are from Wisconsin, and we’ve never had a problem with them (except when the Giants played Green Bay in the playoffs in 2008, but that’s another story), and frankly I can’t recall them ever serving me cheese at their house. Also my son and daughter-in-law attended the Univ. of Wisconsin, and my granddaughter currently goes there. But still—enough is enough. I’m tired of cheese on everything I order.

Even macaroni and cheese, my all-time childhood favorite from Kraft, you can’t order in a restaurant without it being four cheese macaroni. Or four-cheese pizza! Whatever happened to just plain Mac ‘n Cheese, or plain pizza with mozzarella and tomato sauce? Or a hot dog with sauerkraut and mustard—not a cheese dog. But do I really want cheese on my fries? Why?

Fortunately, the cheese craze hasn’t taken over the dog-food market entirely. It turns out that cheese is not great for dogs. Pets lack significant amounts of lactase, the enzyme needed to break down lactose in dairy products. As a result, some may have difficulty with digestion and end up with stomach upset, although probably low-fat cheeses are okay. In fact, here are ten foods that are not good for your pets: http://bit.ly/f02k4g.

I think someone should look into the Wisconsin Cheese Lobby. Check with Vermont also–they’re no slouch in cheese-producing prowess.

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