Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin’

Really, doesn’t everyone love cheese?  Most people settle for your grocery store varieties of cheese;  Cheddar, Muenster,   Brie, Harvarti, Edam.  Hey guys, there’s a whole world of cheese out there and every Foodie knows it.  There are some great places to live if you love cheese.  Vermont is known for its tangy, sharp Cheddars, Wisconsin produces a lot of cheddars, some with infused wine, also Limbergers and Havarti.  

You could also be lucky enough to live in New York City, the home of Murray’s cheese.  Founded in 1940 by Murray Greenberg, Murray’s is proud to be a Greenwich Village-based business and part of the neighborhood’s rich food history.  Murray was a Jewish veteran of the Spanish Civil War who was rumored to be a Communist – but pay no mind, he was a smart capitalist who built a great reputation for the business. In the 70s, Murray sold the shop to his clerk Louis Tudda, an Italian immigrant from Calabria. In those days, it was a humble butter and eggs shop that had a lot of block cheeses and catered to the little Italian enclave that Bleecker Street was at the time.

Murray’s is your answer to what “cheese gift” to give to your Foodie recipient.  Your choices are myriad;  Of course you can buy cheese;  A few of the out-of-the-ordinary choices offered are: 

ELEGANT Chabichou , MILD Vermont Butter & Cheese Coupole, EARTHY Camembert, NUTTY Comte Saint Antoine, CREAMY Cave-Aged  Fourme d’Ambert, SAVORY Challerhocker, SNACKABLE Murray’s Cave Aged Pyrenees Brebis

Then there are gift baskets and boxes that Murray creates which include such other items as salamis, jams, olives, crostini, proscuitto and other delicacies.

Or your present could be a gift certificate to one of his terrific classes like Cheese 101, Mozzarella Making, The Harmony of Beer and Cheese and Sweet Indulgence/the pairing of cheese and chocolate.

Not quite exotic enough for your giftee? Ok, well then how about the gift of a tour of Murray’s Cheese Caves?  These caves are located under the very sidewalks of the New York. I n 2004, they  constructed cheese caves beneath Bleecker Street, and in 2013, they expanded their Cave Aged program to their production facility in Long Island City, which is now home to four more sizable caves and a drying room. Brian Ralph, the Cavemaster, works from both a scientific and a sensory point of view to ensure that you can tell what a difference a cave environment makes in terms of texture, aroma, and flavor!!!                                                                 


               Oh give me some cheese please!


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Inevitably anyone who visits me in our New York City apartment poses this question within moments of coming through the door.  Our bedroom is just off the foyer and with door open it is only natural to glance in that direction and this is what they see…

Sock monkey, Redford socks, work socks, red heel socks, Depression toy

What's Up with the Monkeys

Sock Monkeys!! I just love them – they are Soooo cute! I mean look at those faces.  Each one is smiling a silly smile with big red lips and they all have attitude.  Every morning when I put them back on the bed, I never know where they’ll land, which two might be entwined, who is going to be lounging and who will be sitting up straight and alert to what goes on around them.  These monkeys are special because if you look closely they are all wearing hats.  That gives them the right to be on the bed otherwise they must sit in the chair…

Sock monkeys, red heel socks, work socks, Rockford socks,

We Only Get to Sit in the Chair

Actually there is ONE VERY SPECIAL tiny monkey sitting on the chair.  NOT because she doesn’t have a hat BUT because she is soooooo tiny, she would get crushed or lost on the bed.  Meet Molly, she comes from Wisconsin.   I know that seems strange since mostly they have cows and cheese there,  not monkeys!

sock monkey, Wisconsin, cheeseheads, Rockford work socks
Meet Molly

Wisconsin, cheesehead, sock monkey
Cheesehead – They Start Them Young

Molly was a gift from my friend, Joan.  Joan discovered Molly among her mother’s belongings after she had passed away.  It was such a loving gesture to fly Molly to New York from Wisconsin just so she (Molly) could have a home amongst her own here in NYC.  And I’m happy to report that Molly is very happy to be here.   I have no real idea as to why I started collecting Sock Monkeys (or anything else for that matter!).   I didn’t have one as a child.   I would see them from time to time at Flea Markets and in Antique shops.   I bought one and was sort of hooked on them right off the bat.  I don’t need to tell you how the others arrived do I?  Hey it’s a collection!   AND I am not alone – they’re everywhere.   How did it all come about?  Glad you asked…

John Nelson, an immigrant from Sweden arrived in the United States about 1860 and he patented a sock kitting machine in 1869 and began producing work socks in 1890.  In 1932 the Nelson Knitting Company introduced the red heeled work sock which became their logo and gave birth to the iconic   Sock Monkey. Through innovation, the company had been able to produce a sock that did not have a seam in the heel and became instantly popular.  The popularity of the seamless sock was such that the market became flooded with imitators and all were known generically as Rockfords.

The country was in a Depression and many a mother, aunt and grandmother took creating homemade stuffed animals as toys for their children and that red heeled sock was just perfect for making a monkey and stuffing it with rags. The early sock monkeys were made with worn out socks  Around 1951 the Nelson Knitting Company became aware of the Sock Monkey craze and the use of their socks, so they applied for a design patent for the pattern and won the suit in 1955.  At that point, the company began including an instruction sheet on how to make the monkey with every pair of RockfordsSock Monkey started appearing in the company’s promotional marketing.  !  The Rockford Knitting Company was sold to Fox River Mills in 1992 and the brown heather red heeled sock is still being produced, sold and made into Sock Monkeys!

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