What’s Cooking, Milwaukee Kitchen?


Coming soon, look out for our interview with guests from Milwaukee Kitchen, a different kind of cooking show that artfully showcases food and community in Milwaukee, WI. The show’s motto is always staged, never rehearsed.

Author and fermentation expert Christina Ward says of the show, “The only surrealist cooking program in the world.”

Here’s the backstory, as the show’s creator, Paul Druecke, put it to me in a recent email: “I began producing MK in 2018 as a way to blend entertainment, art, my love of cookbooks as cultural artifacts, and add a slice of Milwaukee pie to the (youtube) cooking program genre. Over the course of three seasons, it has evolved as a versatile format to explore practical and over-the-top kitchen routines.”

Here’s episode 1:

Until the start of the pandemic, each episode would begin with a host working on the kitchen, when a string of guests would seemingly spontaneously stop by. In the first episode, a neighbor comes by to borrow some salt, prompting an exploration of all the salts in the host’s kitchen. He has a lot of salt. Then another neighbor appears with a box of salt to give him. Finally a fourth person comes, looking for the first guy, who was supposed to return home from his errand to borrow the salt. Together they share some “Panada,” a bizarre dish from Ruth Berolzheimer’s 1940s cookbook, The American Woman’s Cookbook. The dish is just saltines soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, then topped with whipped cream. Each episode is punctuated by interludes, or overludes perhaps, of the thoughts of the household cat, Penita, which are in a different language, and subtitled.

It’s amazing.

For more info on the show, here’s a link to a recent overview from the Milwaukee Kitchen website.

My favorite so far is episode 5, which features a spontaneous and beautiful poetry reading in the Anishinaabemowin language:

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