Hulu’s New Show ‘Taste the Nation’ Highlights Milwaukee’s Food History

See Padma Lakshmi get a taste of Milwaukee in the second episode of Hulu’s “Taste the Nation.”

We Milwaukeeans know that our city is home to some of the nation’s best food and drink. Now, thanks to the new Hulu show “Taste the Nation” from “Top Chef” star Padma Lakshmi, the whole world can get a glimpse into Milwaukee’s culinary culture.

“Taste the Nation” follows Lakshmi as she travels across the country, exploring the cuisine of some of the immigrant groups who made American food what it is today. In episode two, “The All American Weiner,” she comes to Milwaukee to delve into the city’s German cultural heritage.

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The show opens with a shot of some game food at Franklin’s “The Rock” and then switches to see Lakshmi riding through Milwaukee’s streets in a giant Weiner Mobile talking to local food expert Christina Ward. From there she delves into the meat of the city’s cuisine to find out how the sausage gets made — literally. She visits the iconic Usinger’s sausage factory with the man himself, Fritz Usinger, to learn about its German origins and history in Milwaukee.

Later in the episode, Lakshmi also talks beer brewing techniques with homebrewer Chris Strupp and learns about traditional German dishes by making schnitzel with Julian Kegel of Kegel’s Inn. Germanfest gets a shoutout too — Lakshmi stops by the festival to see how Milwaukee parties German-style, getting an inside look at making Bavarian pretzels, potato pancakes and even spanferkel (roasted piglet). 

The whole episode is a love letter to Milwaukee’s food, culture and history, and it’s just pure fun to see Lakshmi experience the city we all know and love. You can watch “The All American Weiner” and the rest of season one of “Taste the Nation” now on Hulu.

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Jude is an editorial intern at Milwaukee Magazine. He is a rising sophomore at Northwestern University studying journalism, gender and sexuality studies and theatre.