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Wierd Minnesota: Beer Cheese Soup

The majority of Carleton’s student population is not from Minnesota, or even from the greater Midwest. This creates a geo- graphic diversity that gives us classmates and friends from each coast and everywhere in between. It is only natural that when Minnesota’s seemingly unexplainable sub-culture leaks into the every day life of campus, students often react with panic and confusion. As a born and bred Minnesotan, I am here to tell you to not worry. Like any other place, Minnesota has a set of cultural norms that can be recobnize although probably not understood. After asking my floor about elements of Minnesotan culture they were confused about, the list seemed to go on and on— Jello etiquette, ice fishing, hockey, and Fargo, for example. However, possibly the most unbelievable and disgusting thing to them was the dining halls repeated serving of beer cheese soup.

First of all, beer cheese soup is technically not from Minnesota, or even from Wisconsin. Beer soup was quite common in medeval Europe before it came back into popular cuisine later in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa.

Usually consisting of a chicken or potato broth, recipes generally require a pound or more of cheese and one bottle of beer. It is commonly served with bacon, popcorn, black pepper, and garlic. Be warned, however, that it is not proper to serve beer cheese soup in the summer or spring. In fact, unless you want to get kicked out of the hockey moms’ club or the cabin barbecue, you only serve beer cheese soup once snow is on the ground. Despite popular belief, this delicacy is not only appropriate for adults, but for children as well.

I learned the taste of beer as a young child by eating beer cheese soup at my grandma’s house. Contrary to what my friend (who shall remain anonymous) argued, you cannot get drunk from the soup. I promise. So the next time you are looking for something to make on a chilly day, grab all the ingredients and make some soup (unless you’re 21 of course.)

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