Breaking In Wisconsin Traditions

Breaking in Wisconsin Traditions

Little by little, I'm discovering all the pleasant little traditions that are either exclusive to Wisconsin, or something I'd never heard of/experienced while growing up in Ohio. One of those traditions is picking up hot ham and rolls from the market for Sunday lunch. A couple of years ago I noticed there were signs displayed in a few markets around town advertising selling hot ham and rolls on Sundays. I asked my boyfriend what was up with the love for ham and he looked at me like lobsters were crawling out of my ears. 

"You don't have hot ham and rolls on Sundays in Ohio????" 
Well... umm... I suppose if you've got a hankering for ham and rolls on a particular Sunday you could go buy some and no one would stand in your way....
"That's ridiculous. When I was little, we'd leave church, go get our hot ham and rolls, and there is Sunday lunch."
Well, OK, then. Let's get hot ham and rolls some Sunday then.

That Sunday finally came today.

We stopped by Giordano's, an adorable Italian deli/market on Brady Street that's been a Milwaukee institution for generations, a place I'd been wanting to explore for quite some time now. It's a tiny little store but full of charm - of course, Sinatra's golden pipes were serenading the shoppers as they made their way through the narrow isles of special Italian goods (and what looked like a good selection of wine!). As we put in our order for ham, I sampled some of the best croutons I've ever tasted, smiled at the framed photo of Joe DiMaggio hanging above the deli counter, then took a peek down one of the isles with the most olive oil I've ever seen in one place. They also had a really cool assortment of seed oils that I have GOT to try someday - pumpkin seed oil, I'm looking at you.

It seemed like such a sweet little shop, a real neighborhood store where everyone working there was family and all the customers were good friends. "'Ey Felix, that meat turned out great!" a customer exclaimed to what looked like Mr. Giordano, himself. I loved the place, and can't wait to go back to try one of their hot deli sandwiches.

After a spin on the bike trainer, it was time to experience my first Sunday hot ham and roll lunch. And, oh my goodness, was it ever tasty. The ham was thinly sliced, but juicy, with just a hint of slight sweetness. I layered it on pretty thick and topped it with some shaved gouda (the only cheese we had in the fridge). But really, the star of the show was the fabulous roll, baked fresh from Sciordano's, a cute little bakery just half a block from Giordano's. I've had some of their baked goods before, and there's just no beating them. The roll was soft and chewy and the perfect vehicle for the sweet ham. It took everything I had not to heat up another roll and just east it plain right after (that will probably be happening later tonight). 

I'm glad I've got another tradition under my belt. This is nothing fancy, and I'd have to say between the two, I like a Wisconsin Fish Fry better, but this is a nice little (inexpensive) treat. I'm just glad I got to take a quick look at Giordano's before it moves across Brady Street to its future, much larger location. 

Are hot ham and rolls a tradition to you on Sundays? Where is your favorite place to pick up the ham and rolls? Do you have a favorite little market like Giordano's? 

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