Posted by: Waheeda Harris | October 17, 2012

A proud stereotype

I don’t like stereotypes. I’ve been labelled by them, and always tried to avoid them.

But I do like when people take a stereotype and embrace it as their own. It only works when the stereotype can be perceived as positive too – there’s enough negativity in our world.

I knew Wisconsin was all about cheese, and proudly called cheeseheads. But I don’t think I realized the pride until I visited the state and saw how people were happy to be labelled a cheesehead.

Everywhere I went there were examples of the state pride – and its not that I saw people on a daily basis wearing their foam cheese hats.

For Wisconsin residents, Wisconsin cheese was something there were proud to buy and consume – and if the rest of the world thought they were cheeseheads, even better.

Visiting Henning’s Cheese near Elkhart Lake gave me a bit of historic background, as this family-owned company has been making cheese in the same spot for decades.

And despite the changes in the industry, Henning’s proud to create cheese the old-fashioned way, with natural ingredients sourced locally and knowing what’s exactly in every round of cheese – and knowing they’re nothing else needed in their cheese that’s artificial or chemical.

Local, natural, handcrafted – all these adjectives apply at Henning’s.

If this is what it means to be a cheesehead, then I understand why everyone embraces the stereotype – its part of their history and something to crow about to everyone – even if its generally at a football game.

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