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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, April 18, 2014

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In Milwaukee Buzz

Of course the Dairy Lama says "Om" instead of "Moo."

Dairy Lama blesses OMC's "Cheese Week"


It's officially "Cheese Week" at OMC and we're celebrating by interviewing Wisconsin's only "Dairy Lama." Although by day he's a 38-year-old Web developer, by night, Troy Janisch -- aka "The Dairy Lama" -- finds random fun in cheese haiku and paying homage to fromage.

Sure, why not?

OMC: What is it about cheese that inspires you so?

DL: Cheese is the intersection of many things I love: food, science, Wisconsin and culture. I was inspired to create a Web site for cheese haiku about a year ago. The image of a meditating cow seemed like a natural mascot for the endeavor, and when we saw the initial drawings, the term "Dairy Lama" was born.

OMC: Can you sound-off a cheese haiku right now?

DL: Sure:

Inspiration comes
from a large block of cheddar
if you're a sculptor.

OMC: Nice. What's your favorite cheese?

DL: Hmm. I used to be a pepperjack guy. Festive. Spicy. It's such a manly cheese. It's the only cheese on my Web site that has a whole category of its own. Over the past year, though, I find myself liking softer cheeses like smoked gouda and brie. We've been doing a lot of camping and brie heated over a campfire is an event.

OMC: If you were granted one final taste of cheese, would it be Wisconsin or California?

DL: Wisconsin.

OMC: For sure?

DL: Yes. The Dairy Lama's home is described as the "land of cheeses and dreams." To me, that means Wisconsin.

OMC: Give me another cheese haiku ...

DL:

Wisconsin cheese curds:
How do they pack so much squeak
into tiny cheese?

OMC: What are cheese haiku, or MooKŁ poems?

DL: MooKŁ poems are haiku poems using cheese and dairy as a metaphor for life. They are valued for the humor and insight they provide.

OMC: So where in Wisconsin do you live?

DL: We've got two exits off the interstate. Both of them have a cheese store. One with a giant mouse; the other with a giant cow. Both are great places to get cheese curds while they're still squeaky during the week. On the weekend, the Dane County Farmer's market is a cheese curd mecca.

OMC: Anything else?

DL: I'm 38. I'm a writer and Web developer. My company, Icon Interactive, paid for the development of DairyLama.com and looks for other quirky projects to be a part of in our down time. Events like OMC's 'Cuttin' Cheese for Charity' are irresistible."

The Dairy Lama is an official sponsor of OMC's "Cuttin' The Cheese for Charity" cheese sculpting event this Friday night from 5 to 9 p.m. at 320 E. Buffalo St., above Moda3.

The Dairy Lama's Web site is www.cheesehaiku.com

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