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B1G 2022, Wisconsin Badgers Potluck Preview #2: Graham Mertz and Flaky, Filled Pastry

Plus, the wide-range of ethnic culinary cuisine that Wisconsin offers...

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not ALL Germans in Wisconsin , thankyouverymuch. You can come to Wisconsin for the diversity of everything from the Swiss of New Glarus to the Danes of Racine, too!

We’re going to continue our breakfast theme from Monday with another filling treat for Tuesday: the Danish Kringle of Racine.

It’s a ring of layers and layers of flaky dough. It’s filled with some sort of fruit or nut and topped with a white cream cheese frosting. It’s perhaps not the most overwhelming thing you’ve ever experienced, and then you take a bite out of it.

Because oh. my. god.

There’s a reason it’s the state pastry of Wisconsin. (And yes, Wisconsin is the only state to have a state pastry, because of #thebrand.)

Writers: Your favorite kringle, please, as well as your thoughts on the classically Wisconsin breakfast treat? Any reason it’s as good as it is?

Is there a local, ethnically-inclined breakfast where you are that outsiders need to try?


Also, do not eat Scandinavian food. It’s just not worth it.

MC: Shoutout to Trader Joe’s for making kringle fixes so much easier. I’m down for pretty much any fruit/jam-like filling, raspberry probably being the favorite. Almond can fuck right off. It’s good because it combines things that should be universally-liked, namely the description above. Also can be eaten cold or warm and you have full portion control capabilities so you can lie to yourself with a sliver before you end up 1,000 calories in.

I can’t think of any breakfast food that is uniquely Chicagoan. If you eat a Chicago dog for breakfast I certainly wouldn’t think twice about it. Chilaquiles? Obviously not a local find but they’re good here. It’s a big city with a lot of options; people generally just brunch.

BRT: I’ve never had one, actually. But I definitely would, and since it sounds like TJ’s has them, perhaps I can seek one out. It’s good, I assume, for the reason that all pastries are good: butter.

WSR is wrong about Scandinavian food–not entirely of course, as these are the people who bring us lutefisk, which yes, you absolutely should never. But Swedish meatballs done right, lingonberries, and many varieties of Scandinavian cakes and pastries are not just edible, but delicious. And, they understand the delicious potential of cardamom. I WILL TAKE A STAND AGAINST WSR FOR MY LYE-LOVING VIKING FORBEARS.

misdreavus79: The biggest thing I’ve learned doing these so far is how not Midwesterner I am. I’m not a big sweets person in general, but I am even less of a “sweet things for breakfast unless it’s the sweetness of fruit” kind of person. So no, I can’t tell you what my favorite kringle is because I don’t think I’ve ever had one.

Now, there’s this Dominican breakfast staple called mangú, which is mashed plantains, and you pair it with salami (of the Dominican variety, of course), cheese (again, Dominican cheese that you can fry), and fried eggs. Some people put onions and peppers as well. All in all, it’s a lunch in breakfast clothing, but it’s freaking delicious and one of the first things I seek out when I visit the motherland.

Beez: It’s pretty simple for me. Kringle = Christmas. For whatever reason, the only time of year I can remember ever having kringle at our house. I do remember, however, that it is delicious and the perfect kid workaround to “you have to eat breakfast before you can open presents,” because it’s just a long skinny delicious donut (sorta), so what kid wouldn’t gladly eat it?

Do grits count for a local breakfast people need to try? Are fried chicken and waffles considered “local” to anywhere anymore?

HWAHSQB: A business partner of mine sends me a raspberry kringle and a pecan kringle every Christmas. This is pretty great, except they used to send smoked prime rib and I’m allergic to nuts. While a raspberry kringle is tasty as hell, it ain’t smoked prime rib.

Everyone at the office says the pecan one is great when I bring it in and pass it off as something I got for them, but still, I’d prefer the warm feeling in my gut of eating prime rib than the warm glow of passing off a gift I got secondhand.

Jesse: My dad loves the kringle, and buys one every Christmas (because ‘kringle’) and it really is delicious. I wouldn’t go as far as to say like, it’s something I need often, but it’s a nice change of pace from donuts.

As for local breakfast fare… I’m going to go with “I live in central Texas” and while I thought I understood the deliciousness of the kolache, the Czech population in West, Texas has that game on lock. While the line is generally all around the - oddly appropriate - gas station to get to the kolache counter, stopping at the Czech Stop (aka the Little Czech Bakery) is totally worth it. They are so damn good and make me so happy, and while you can probably get some form of kolache where you are, they don’t compare to this strange little place off I-35. Definitely stop if you find yourself driving south of Dallas on the interstate.



This poll is closed

  • 64%
    Yes, any flavor, gimme gimme gimme
    (56 votes)
  • 26%
    Yes, but none of that almond nonsense
    (23 votes)
  • 9%
    No thanks, I’ll have a kolache.
    (8 votes)
87 votes total Vote Now

The Football

“Braelon Allen is the next elite Wisconsin RB.”

Kind of… told us this on Monday morning, and there’s little to argue with there. But, in the paragraph preceding it, there’s always the caveat that “Graham Mertz continues to flummox.”

NCAA Football: Michigan at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

And flummox he does…or, actually, is it simpler than that?

CFB Reference

You have to admire some of the game logs in that middle winning streak: 15 passes against Army. Eight against Purdue. Passer ratings over 150 in three straight games against the dregs of the Big Ten.

But the rest tell a story of “good against bad teams, bad against good ones.”

1. Help me out, writers: Am I missing something on Graham Mertz? Is it possible he takes a step forward in 2022 under new OC Bobby Engram, or will it depend on a steady diet of Braelon Allen and the prayers that Chimere Dike got open?

2. Did you know Allen was 17 last season?

3. Give us a similar fact we may not have known about one of your team’s players.

WSR: No, Mertz is shit. The question is if it’s his fault or if he got the Chryst in him. My guess is that it’s a combination, and either when the next QB fails or Mertz goes somewhere as a grad transfer we’ll get a better idea of what is more at fault.

Braelon Allen was 17? I just thought that was how many yards he had against the Gophers. Was I supposed to be impressed with him?

Tanner Morgan has been on the Gophers roster for every game of the PJ Fleck era.

MC: While I suppose a former blue chip recruit could still have their latter years range from Hunter Johnson to Joe Burrow, Mertz has seen the field enough that it’s fair for the optimistic arc for his future to feature more modest gains. He has the tools to figure it out but there’s no indication that he’ll just start lighting the world on fire.Everything around him on offense this season will be good, so overall success/failure falls squarely on him. There’s promise further down the depth chart but no one that’s ready, so it’s the Mertz show for better or worse once more.

BRT: Mertz is mediocre at best. But that’s the entire point of a Wisconsin QB, no? Be mediocre, and give the ball to the stars. I see no reason for him to become drastically better. I’d love it if he became drastically worse though.

Honestly, I have forgotten everything I ever knew about Husker football, and I like it that way. I’m just another trivia generalist now.

misdreavus79: When you’re asked to pass the ball 15 times total, in a game, any and all decisions you make become increasingly more important. It so happens that last season, every time Mertz made such a mistake, it was costly.

A guy like what’s his name from Ohio State can throw three interceptions in a game and still come out on top, because he will actually get plenty of opportunities to rectify those mistakes. Mertz won’t. And, to his and Wisconsin’s credit, he doesn’t have to. Wisconsin isn’t going to throw 50 passes a game anytime soon, and if Mertz can get to the point where his 10 passes a game are 80% not disastrous, Wisconsin will continue to Wisconsin.

We’ll see what Bobby Engram has in store for the Badgers, and if the offenses he’ll run will end up rendering all of this moot (after all, Barry isn’t there to pull the strings anymore, or so you’d think), and maybe we’ll see if it was Mertz all along or if it really was Chryst kneecapping his own quarterback.

I did not know Allen was 17, but he wouldn’t be the first 17-year old to join a team, right?

As per my own trivia tidbit, my favorite is the fact that Sean Clifford will have the same offensive coordinator two years in a row for the first time in his career in 2022. Fun stuff!

Beez: At this point I’m hoping for Mertz to rise to the level of Actual Game Manager as opposed to the Somehow Worse Than Game Manager he’s been thus far. His ratio of good things to bad things has not been great thus far, and it seems beyond hopeful to think an improved O Line and WR corps and steady backfield will turn him from meh-minus to very good.

HWAHSQB: Mertz is good against Illinois. Illinois is bad. Mertz being good against bad teams checks out from what I’ve seen.

Yes, I knew Allen was 17. Announcers kind of flogged that one to death I thought. Isaiah Gay started at DE for Illinois at 17 a few years ago. That seems like a much harder position to do that.

Jesse: The fun part with Allen is that we now get to figure out how announcers can shoehorn that narrative into whatever broadcast on Wisconsin football they have this year. “This guy was only 17 last year. Can you believe it? He’s now only one year removed from being 17. He should’ve been getting ready for prom a year ago and now he’s a bonafide starter in the Big Ten”. Ugh. That’s def a bingo square in the near future.

As for Mertz, sure, he’s definitely in the Iowa mold of “should be better than he actually is” but also that doesn’t seem to matter. I think Wisconsin’s ceiling is limited regardless of QB, and quite frankly, Mertz or “fill in the blank” at QB doesn’t really change the dynamics of what Wisconsin is trying to do.


In 2022 Graham Mertz will be a...

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Somehow Worse Than Game Manager
    (30 votes)
  • 32%
    Actual Game Manager
    (41 votes)
  • 14%
    Supreme Football Air Handoff God
    (18 votes)
  • 29%
    Doesn’t matter if he only has to throw 10 times a game
    (38 votes)
127 votes total Vote Now