Caroline shares her last morsels of advice

Where has all the time gone? It feels like I wrote my first food article just yesterday, yet an entire year has passed, and my tenure as one of your Cardinal columnists has come to an end. It's just too soon! There is so much more I wanted to share and, okay, occasionally over-share. Here are a few last food tips, some things you absolutely must not miss while here in Madison. 

 

1. Go to the farmers' market right when it opens. 

 

The Dane County farmers market is always great, but there is something special about it first thing in the morning. The air is still a little chilly, the displays have yet to be touched and the vendors' sleepy children can be seen napping in the back of pick-up trucks. Everything is quiet and still - perfect if you're still a little fuzzy from Friday night. 

 

2. Make grilled cheese with some fabulously expensive fromage. 

 

Splurge on a block of havarti, Edam or 8-year-old cheddar. Any bread will do, but I would skip those wheat varieties full of distracting nuts and seeds and whatnot. The cheese is supposed to be the centerpiece of this dish. Generously butter the bread and be sure to cook the sandwich on low to medium heat so the cheese can melt without burning the bread. Trust me, it will be worth every penny. 

 

3. Have a picnic at the Monona Terrace. 

 

The upper level of the Monona Terrace is absolutely beautiful in the summer and far less busy than the Memorial Union. Spread out a blanket and enjoy your favorite picnic food, be it a baguette and some Camembert, or a bucket of chicken. 

 

4. Visit the Yummy Buffet. 

 

An unlimited buffet of some of the sketchiest, yet tastiest, food in Madison for only five bucks. Be sure to visit before the next grease fire. 

 

5. Go out for sushi.  

 

Everyone should eat sushi at least once. Madison is full of great Japanese restaurants like Takara, Wasabi and Restaurant Muramoto that will give you an authentic taste of the east without breaking the bank. Don't forget the sake bombs. 

 

6. Make beer can chicken. 

 

This one's a no-brainer. Buy a whole chicken, which are usually only six or seven bucks, and pop open a can of whatever's in the fridge. Drink half the can of beer, stick the bird on top and toss it on the grill. You can rub the chicken with a little olive oil, salt and paprika if you wish, but the flavor will be fine without. Feel free to drink another case or so while the bird cooks, which usually takes about an hour and 20 minutes. Be careful with those tongs. 

 

7. Spray champagne everywhere. 

 

You don't have to wait for the New Year to try this nifty trick. Any cause for celebration, be it a job offer, graduation or overdue breakup, deserves a champagne shower. Buy a case of the cheapest stuff you can find, but make sure the bottles have real corks. Amass at least a dozen friends on your porch, unwrap and untwist the top and shake what your mother gave you. Don't be afraid to squeal like a little kid as the bottles explode. 

 

8. Cook with some vegetable you've never heard of. 

 

Bok choy, okra and kohlrabi abound at the farmers market and in grocery stores throughout Madison. Pick up the most interesting looking veggie you can find and then return home and Google it. You are guaranteed a slew of recipes, but always remember when in doubt, deep fry. 

 

9. Tour Capital Brewery. 

 

This fantastic local brewery is only 10 minutes from campus and offers tours every Friday and Saturday. Sample their Amber, Maibock or Island Wheat and discover why it is America's No. 1 rated brewery. 

 

10. Have trashy pizza with a great bottle of wine. 

 

Go to a liquor store sometime during the business day and pick out the most authoritative-looking person you see. Ask him or her to recommend a fantastic bottle of wine within your price range. You've most likely chosen the owner or an important salesperson, so chances are you'll get a great bottle. They want you to keep coming back. Order some greasy pizza and drink the wine out of plastic cups, while sitting on the floor watching a romantic comedy. This is what college is all about. 

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