Crying over coffee cake a long way from home
Let me tell you about a very special breakfast I had in Northern Wisconsin last weekend.
Wisconsin isn’t anywhere near Missouri, but I sure felt home there last week.
I was on a press trip to Door County, the peninsula north of Green Bay that’s filled with orchards, artist studios, cheese shops and signs of Scandinavia.
The area was heavily logged in the 1800s, mostly by immigrants, who built the area’s first houses and deep water docks, which led to its first hotels and restaurants.
During our trip, we got to visit a nature preserve, a coffee company with an international customer base, a music performance hall and school, and a school house-turned-winery, but this story takes place at a bustling Swedish restaurant, where I had a piece of coffee cake that made me cry.
To explain: Door County is in the northeaster tip of an upper Midwestern state. I’m from the southernmost part of what you’d even call the Midwest. But Swedish immigrants shaped both communities, in different ways.
You won’t find Swedish bakeries or barns in Southwest Missouri. (It’s hard enough to find them in Texas, another place heavily settled by Swedes during this time.) But in Door County, it’s not uncommon to see a hotel named Little Sweden or Scandinavian Lodge or homes with a norse dragon woodcarving along the ridge of the roof or under the eaves.