The most popular Culinary no-no of 2019

Culinary no-no began on Father’s Day 2007, a beautiful summer day, when I wrote about grilling brats. And eating brats. And topping those brats. I was inspired by my wife, Jennifer who, in my admittedly unscientific opinion, ruins brats by squirting ketchup on them. Other dining taboos quickly came to mind. The original idea was to take this concept only a few months, till the end of summer and then pull the plug. Then the unexpected happened. People started reading Culinary no-no. Lots of folks. So we keep doing the no-no.

We’re well over 600 Culinary no-no installments since we first started almost 12 years ago.

The most popular no-no of the previous year was about one of Milwaukee’s best restaurants, one we love quite a bit.

How can that be?

Take a look.

And here’s a reminder from Culinary no-no #34.

Planning on quietly celebrating New Year’s Eve at home with a Champagne toast or two (or more)?

Remember, it may look and fizz and smell and taste like Champagne, but sparking wine isn’t the real thing.

Only sparkling wines grown and produced in the region of Champagne in France can truly be called “champagne.”

According to

“Never duplicated, unless you can move the entire region — rocks, stocks and barrels — to another country. Because make no mistake about it: it’s the growing conditions in Champagne which makes Champagne the best sparkling wines in the world. The proof? How about the fact that a number of the best Champagne houses – like Moet & Chandon, Roederer, Mumm, and Taittinger – have all established vineyards and sparkling wine facilities in the beautiful state of California, bringing their best people to apply all the skill and experience they have to make the closest thing to Champagne possible. The result? Strikingly Champagne-like wines – fresh, light, yeasty, and zesty. But ultimately, not nearly as deep and flavorful, not nearly as fine and delicate, and not nearly as pure and penetrating as the original stuff. Why? Because it’s grapes that make wine, and the grapes grown in California for sparklers will never be as fine as the grapes grown in Champagne. So in spite of the fact that even the lowest priced Champagne retails for $30 to $40 — the price range reached by only the finest California sparkling wines –it’s real Champagne that outsells the California copies by over 10 to 1. Ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby.”

This is not to say you shouldn’t pop open an Asti Spumante New Year’s Eve. Hell, you drink what you like. Just don’t call it Champagne because it’s not.

In my opinion, it’s New Year’s Eve. Go for it. If it has to be a sparkling wine, don’t even think of Cook’s or Andre or Cold Duck. That’s like comparing a Coke to Fanta or Diet Rite. That junk is only good to drink after you just came in hot and sweaty from cutting the lawn.

Here’s the lowdown on Champagne from Randal Caparoso at

Whatever your toast du jour is New Year’s Eve, here’s looking up your address!
—Culinary no-no, December 30, 2007

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