Author Archives: jaynecoster

Celebrating Love on Valentine’s Day at Rotary

–submitted by Andrea Kaminski

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For Valentine’s Day, Rotarians and guests were treated to a lively performance of love songs from Broadway musicals by five very talented teen performers in the Southern WI Tommy Ensemble. Students from St. Ambrose Academy, Verona Area High School, Edgewood High School and Mt. Horeb High School sang solos and duets from musicals as diverse as Phantom of the Opera, Carousel, Dear Evan Hansen, Motown the Musical, and Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812.

The Southern WI Tommy Ensemble was created nine years ago, when its first members performed in 23 area high school musicals. This year the group has 92 productions on its schedule, with performances at the Overture Center, the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in Milwaukee, The Grand Theater in Wausau and Wisconsin Public Television.

Students have to audition and be accepted into the company. The full ensemble has 21 students.

One high school senior who has been in the group for three years told Rotarians that he is auditioning for admission to post-secondary musical acting schools. Certainly his three years with the Tommy Ensemble will help!

At the end of the performance, after the standing ovation, a Rotarian in the audience asked for an encore. Clearly the performers did not have a plan for that, but they got up and sang a beautiful a capella version of our national anthem, which they have performed at sporting events.

Our thanks to members of the Southern WI Tommy Ensemble for their musical presentation this week!

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In the “Growth Zone” to End Domestic Abuse

–submitted by Kay Schwichtenberg; photo by Mary Ellen O’Brien

IMG_5168 speaker 2Stephanie Ortiz, a Prevention and Public Awareness Coordinator at End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin has a unique perspective on the dynamics of power that present themselves in both our work spaces and personal lives.   Her work with rape prevention and programming for Native youth informs her intimate view of these power dynamics.

She opened her dialogue with the hope that the topic makes us all a bit uncomfortable.  In her view, the ‘groan zone’ will yield a ‘growth zone’.

The topic of power and its misuse has saturated our reading, news viewing and discussions over the past many months.

The video from Time magazine’s person of the year laid out the raw nature of self-blame, manipulation and shame felt by those impacted by abuse.  Ortiz emphasized the need for ‘turning these moments into movements’.

Ortiz laid out two areas where power dynamics can be understood and changed.

In our home lives, she said that consent is about shared and equal power.  To facilitate that discussion at home, Ortiz encouraged open dialogue on the nuances of consent, the need for all of us to speak up, and teach people how to treat us.

Work life is the second prominent place that needs a cultural change.  Ortiz suggests the following actions that can positively influence that shift.

  1. Clear policies for gender based violence
  2. Ensure that Human Resources has a level of autonomy to address the issues
  3. Provide a complete list of resources available in your community
  4. Create a culture of accountability

Individuals in the workplace should be encouraged to share knowledge and information, watch documentaries and read books with groups.

Ortiz presented a passionate discussion about the need for engaging all of us to address changing any unhealthy power dynamics that may occur in our personal and work lives.

For each of us these issues are personal and framed by our individual experiences.  What matters now is that this is the perfect time for having these conversations.

Resources to Share: www.endabusewi.org; www.ncall.us; www.riselawcenter.org

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here.

Culinary Arts Takes a Tour on the Spice Route

–submitted by Joyce Bromley; photos by Keith Baumgartner & Steve Wallman

IMG_0192Instead of following the yellow brick road to get to a magical destination, we drove through some beautiful Dane County roads on February 5 that led us to Vignette where a candle-lighted long table filled the length of the room.  The house was soon filled by Rotarians and that means the sounds of conversation and laughter everywhere.  Chef Mark Wroczynski prepared us for a journey with him along the ancient spice route sampling various spices and surprising us with a variety of techniques he used to make each morsel seem one mile further on the path.

We came to love the succulent descriptions along with the food and Chef Mark’s principle of beginning and ending each meal with a dessert.  His method of blending sweet with savory in each course made each initial taste a springboard of surprises.  Loretta Himmelsbach worked with Chef Mark to perfect the 4-course meal and mother nature perfected the ambiance.  Through the windows that extended along the entire dining hall wall, we enjoyed the snow reflecting light from the ground and the sparkle of diamonds in the air.  The best party is the one anyone who did not attend would regret, and this was that kind of party.

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Photo 1: from left: Haley Saalsaa, Ted Ballweg & Joan Ballweg; Photo 2: from left: Al Goedken, Brian Hellmer, Annete Hellmer, Carol Goedken & Loretta Himmelsbach; Photo 3: Betsy & Charles Wallman

IMG_2849We began with a red wine & star anise poached pear, orange coriander chocolate sauce, brandied caramel cream and for the savory—pepper candied almonds.  Course 2:  We were served a Szechuan pepper marshmallow wrapped in a crispy wonton in a bowl and then the soup was added—sweet  potato bisque with 5-spice roasted pumpkin seeds.  He warned us that it would numb our lips, but not interfere with our further enjoyment.   Course 3:  resting on orange gastrique was a roll of beef wrapped around roasted Chinese broccoli, roasted ginger sesame carrots, with the star of the evening—cashew fried rice arancini (ball) made from creamy risotto rice with mixed vegetables, formed into balls, breaded, and fried.  Course 4: Our last stop on the spice route was Key lime & matcha mousse torte with raspberry sauce.  The pretzel and ginger snaps crust as promised made it both sweet and savory.

Thank you Loretta, Chef Mark, and his sous-chef Brian for giving us such a memorable evening!

 

A “Different” Wine Tasting on Feb 1

–submitted by Mike Wilson; photo by Pete Christianson 

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The Wine Fellowship met at Mike and Patty Wilson’s for a “different” tasting.  We tried fortified wines and added three Single Malt Scotches to show the effect of a REAL aftertaste.  I love the aftertaste of wine and I score it very highly on my rating assessment of individual wines.  A 20-second aftertaste is superb in wine, but Scotches and Cognacs have aftertastes that last all night, and welcome you the next morning.

We first tried Sherries from that small triangle in Southern Spain right at the Straights of Gibraltar. These fortified wines were at their popularity peak in the 70’s when I left NZ and I had often drunk Tio Pepe and Harveys Bristol Cream – bone dry and sweet examples – aperitif and dessert wines.  This time we tried the Tio Pepe Fino and a Lustau Oloroso – the latter a more complex wine.  The latter was the preferred wine  but I warned everyone the Fino is great as an aperitif.  These wines are aged in the Solera system

Next we tried two Ports – the nearest thing to usual dinner wines among those tasted.  Here we tried two styles that are the best bargains – a Kopke Tawny 10 year old port and an unfiltered Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) from Quinta do Noval.  The Kopke is the longest family run Porto in Portugal dating to 1638.  Both were very good and were well liked by most tasters.

These 4 wines averaged about $25 and are all available from Steve’s on University.

Next I tried to make a case for Marsala not being relegated to a cooking wine.  Here there was an interesting tale about this old wine being confined to the Trapini region near the NW corner of Sicily.  When Englishman John Woodhouse in 1773 was forced by a storm to land in Marsala, he fell in love with the wine and recognized the similarity to the popular Port in England, and decided not to collect the load he was to pickup in Sicily and rather filled his ship with Marsala. He came back in 1796 and set up a winery.  In 1806 he was followed by fellow Englishman Benjamin Ingham who even built the first Anglican Church (Church of England), the only church of the Diocese of Europe, across the road from his mansion. These wines use the Perpetuum system – similar in concept to the Sherry Solera system.  We tried a Florio Dry wine (the oldest Sicilian producer of Marsala -established 1833) fino (Aged 1 year), and Marco de Bartoli Vigna La Miccia 5 year riserva which is medium-dry,.  These two represent the range of Sicilian Marsala’s – the first a “post-English” and oldest Sicilian Marsala winery and the latest a very serious wine maker Marco de Bartoli producing what he describes as a “pre-English” Marsala – predating Woodhouse’s arrival.  What drama!  These wines were not favorites of the tasters but Mike had fun reliving his trip to Palermo where he and Patty stayed in the Bingham residence, now the Grand Hotel de Palmes in Palermo, Sicily.

Next we tried two fortified wines being located on distant islands.  First we tried a Madeira from the island of the same name some 600 miles from the home land Portugal, and an Isle di Pantelleria closer to Tunis than Sicily.

The Madeira Islands were discovered in 1419 by Portugese explorers and became the first requisitioning station for travelers/explorers to India, the America’s, and the East Indies.  This was likely the first fortified wine as such, and there the best wine was that that had traveled the “round trip” – vino do roda – to and from the “Hetherlands”.  To simplify production the Madeirans invented the cheaper and more efficient “hothouse” system where the stored wine in large rooms heated by the sun with the wine in large barrels raised on trestles.  They are stored for 20-100 years – and many old wines are still for sale. I personally liked this very much and recounted how a 100 year old sample was brought to a Bring Your Own Wine Rotary Wine Fellowship once.

The other Island DOC is the Moscato/Passito from Isle di Pantelleria. This is made by the new Powerhouse Marco di Bartoli who is restoring Marsala’s name.  He also started this Passito production on the Island, now followed by other major Marsala producers.  This wine is a Passito (slightly raisanated) where the heating of the grapes is done in the field where the grapes are handpicked and left in fields between natural rock walls and allowed to dry out and concentrate sugar and flavors for two weeks before the rest of the grape crop is picked then the Passito is added. This is like brother-sister Italian Passito wines of Valpolicella in the Veneto, and the Montefalco in Umbria.

Last we tried Single malt Scotches.  I selected three of the six regions where Single malts are made.  First we had Auchhentoshen Three Wood from the Lowlands (less than 10 producers) and this example I think of as one of the mildest Malts. Then we tried The Glenlivet as the first legal distillary (1824) after the Excise Act of 1823.  This distillery sued other producers in the valley (Glen) of the Livet river (hence Glenlivet), and the judge determined they could call themselves “The Glenlivit” and the others could include the Glen Livet component as they were also in the Glen of the Livet river – a real Solomon decision that The GlenLivet has exploited since.  This is said to be a light delicate Malt.  Last we tried one of the few Isle of Islay Malts – Laphroaig.  A Smoky blockbuster that was a shock to most of the wine imbibers tastebuds.  A good experience of a Great Long Smoky Aftertaste.

Breads, cheeses, olives, almonds and chocolate covered strawberries were provided.

 

Brexit–What Next?

–submitted bu Linn Roth; photo by Margaret Murphy

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From left: Ron Luskin, Mark Copelovitch and Club President Donna Hurd

At Wednesday’s meeting, Professor Mark Copelovitch gave a highly informative presentation on the history and status of the UK’s planned exit (Brexit) from the European Union (EU) and its potential impact on trans-Atlantic relations.  Historically, the UK has had a tortuous relationship with continental Europe, but, after World War II, Churchill became the greatest champion of European unification.  Despite ongoing domestic ambivalence, the UK finally applied for EU membership, and was accepted in 1973, although the UK chose to maintain its own monetary system.   Subsequently, the EU continued its membership and economic growth for approximately 40 years.

However, the decade from 2007 – 2017 changed all that.  The global recession spawned the growth of isolationism, nativism, and right-wing political factions in much of the world, including the UK and the US.  Relationships with NATO and on-going trade partnerships have been challenged by President Trump, and some of the same economic, regional, and political schisms occurring in the US are taking place in the UK and other European nations.  In a political miscalculation originally intended to shore up his base and undercut competing factions, Prime Minister David Cameron called for a public referendum on whether the UK should stay in or withdraw from the UK.  On June 23, 2016, 72% of UK citizens voted in the referendum, and while the margin for exodus was small (52% to 48%), the consequences of the UK’s withdrawal could be monumental.

For example, the UK was strongly split on Brexit, with Scotland and Northern Ireland voting to stay and with London supporting the EU by an 80%/20% margin.  So potentially, these two countries could try to leave the UK, and many major financial institutions in London are looking to relocate in Europe.  Other European countries, such as Spain, are suffering similar crises, and there is a growing movement within the EU to establish trade and defense relationships apart from the US.  As Professor Copelovitch emphasized, the history of isolationism and protectionism is not a sound or peaceful one, so the US must be wary of exiting its leadership position on the world’s stage.  Since there is no actual legal requirement for the UK to exit the EU in March 2019, there is still the potential for a reversal.  Nevertheless, Brexit seems to serve as a warning signal for all nations to recognize that globalization is here to stay and can only be reversed at our own peril.

 

The Future is in the Hands of Young Women

–submitted by Linda Baldwin; photo by Mike Engelberger

Tory Miller 1 24 2018Tory Miller, Madison’s most famous chef, loves rice crispy bars, started cooking as a child in his grandparents’ café in Racine and beat Iron Chef Bobby Flay in the Iron Chef Showdown last month.  What’s next?

Miller, co-owner and chef of some of Madison’s best restaurants (L’Etoile, Graze, Estrellon and Sujeo) sees a bright future for Madison’s food scene in the hands of young chefs who have a passion for local food and a willingness to work with the community.  He notes that a national magazine naming Madison the best foodie scene in the Midwest would certainly help raise the city’s culinary profile.

Raised in Racine, Miller went off to New York to study at the French Culinary Institute.  While stumbling at first, he found his way into the kitchens of many of the country’s best chefs.  Wanting to be closer to the food producers, he came back to Wisconsin and into Odessa Piper’s L’Etoile kitchen.  And so they say, the rest is history.  A James Beard Midwest Best Chef Award winner, Miller credits Piper for showing him that all people in the kitchen, in the house and guests should be respected and treated fairly.  In the past, women and folks on the lower rungs of the kitchen were not treated well, but today these folks are now running restaurants, leading chefs and a more respected part of the community.  Miller has also been instrumental in the start up Madison Area Chef’s Network (MASN) helping the community with food needs and helping each other to be more successful in an industry where cooperation was not the norm in the past.

So, what about Iron Chef Bobby Flay?   “The meat of it”, Miller laughs, “is that Bobby Flay is not super nice. Being on the show was nerve wracking, but I was happy with the way it turned out.  I’m weird and quirky, but we always want to be the best!”

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.

Admissions and Recruitment at UW-Madison—How Does It Really Work?

–submitted by Carol Toussaint; photo by Valerie Renk

DSC00741As Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Andre Phillips has a key role in determining who will or will not become a student.  He described both the opportunities and obstacles to his Rotary audience Wednesday emphasizing that he works with a team in the Division of Enrollment Management in the Office of the Provost.  Several from this team were guests at the program.  Phillips came to Madison in 2011 after extensive experience in similar positions at the University of Chicago.

Phillips emphasized that he works with a “Wisconsin First” policy as directed by the Board of Regents of the UW System.  “Everything starts with Wisconsin” is the way to think about the job.  Phillips said that it is a big job which starts by being in touch with high schools in the state.  Assuring the audience that the team reads everything submitted with the application, he went through some of the requirements.  Acknowledging that high schools offer a variety of opportunities, he noted that they look to see what a student has done with what was offered.  The importance of organizing thoughts in response to questions asked on the application reinforced the value of writing with clarity.

“We want to know why the applicant wants the UW-Madison but we also need to learn why some of our top students aren’t applying here” was the opening for presenting information for what Phillips referred to as “Wisconsin Prime”.  Saying “we need to recruit more of our own” he described work that is being done starting with high school sophomores through visits to individual schools and bringing these students to the UW.   Outreach is also focused on first generation multi-cultural students.

Rotarians raised questions as to issues of affordability.  Phillips said he was not free to discuss some new plans we’d hear about fairly soon.  In fact, we were sworn to secrecy but without learning any details!

As the program concluded a number of Rotarians were heard commenting on whether or not they would be accepted under the high standards and competition of today.  Andre Phillips would probably respond that each of us should know that a lot is expected but each applicant is fairly judged.

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.