By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Oct 29, 2007 at 5:16 AM

When WMSE does music, it does it a little differently than everyone else. When WMSE does its other love, food, it's in similar fashion: slightly off the cuff, creative and always delicious.

With the success of events like the Food Slam and the Rockabilly Chili Cook-off, it's become more than obvious that Milwaukeeans know their way around a tempting recipe, and WMSE's office manager Holly Emmer has found a way to prove it, officially.

Clear some shelf space for the WMSE Cookbook, a collection of over 120 recipes submitted by the WMSE listening community, station volunteers and staff to be devoured by the rock and roll masses. This tasty little treat surfaces this Halloween via the station's Web site.

The way Emmer sees it, the cookbook is basically an edible version of the radio station. Mmmmmmm. And, like WMSE, there's something different and appealing for everyone inside those classically spiral-bound pages.

"Our cookbook is homegrown and full of the community's personality -- definitely not slickly-marketed or PR-engineered," she says. "There is no clipart or fancy letter-type scripting in this cookbook."

Staying true to style, several local artists teamed up to fill the pages with illustrations that uniquely complement the essence of these foods, such as Dug Belan's rendition of a pickle playing an accordion.

The first 300 cookbooks come with a CD of food-themed songs by Milwaukee musicians/bands including Testa Rosa, Collections of Colonies of Bees, The Celebrated Workingman, Nick Sanborn, Crappy Dracula, Kite Society, Party by the Slice, Red Paper Whale, ifihadahifi and Couch Flambeau.

But while music is a main ingredient, let's not forget that food is still the focus here. So which delicious dishes await you? Some of you may have sampled Crawford's Swedish gingersnap cookies -- Station Manager Tom Crawford's baking blitz of bacon fat and ginger goodies -- at the WMSE Food Slam on Oct. 5. If you were impressed then, your taste buds will thank you to continue reading.

How about vegan ribs, goat cheese mushroom dip, blueberry lavender bread pudding, Lemonie Fresh fish, Testa Rosa's frescaritas, Buzz's monkey butt potato salad, Lunch Lady Lurlene's wacky cake, ( Managing Editor Bobby Tanzilo's) pepperoni con bagna caoda, "morning after" cheesy bacon corn muffins and Main Street Café's pork tenderloin with cherries?

Although several recipes were sent in from out of state, Emmer says there are plenty that reflect the diverse cultural heritage of Milwaukee.

"What's more 'Milwaukee' than Usinger's offering up their cheesy brat stew and bologna salad recipes? We also have a Wisconsin cheese chowder, and ribs with beer," she says.

The clever cookbook adds dimension by including biographies of recipe submitters, bands and illustrators as well as little personal notes. Emmer especially likes the RIYL feature (Recommended If You Like -- a music industry term to help describe the musical style of a band to DJs and music buyers).

Take for example, the Blaine Schultz (an contributor)/Aimless Blades submission for "Tequila Sunrise:"

Ingredients: tequila and fresh lime (optional)
(Note mescal may be substituted for tequila)

Begin after midnight. Even later. The later the better. You might wanna cut the lime earlier in the evening. Preparation is important and tequila and knives might not mix well.
Drink tequila sparingly.
Watch the sunrise.
Listening suggestions: Neil Young -- "Tonight's the Night," Giant Sand -- "Glum," Gram Parsons -- solo albums, Townes Van Zandt -- "Live at the Old Quarter," Gene Clark. No Eagles records, please -- may cause problems.

Misc. Notes:
If freezing is a possibility, stay inside.
Again, avoid Eagles records -- as a rule, not just with tequila.

Seeing things differently, seeing things that are not there, making four-track recordings with your dog.

The cookbook is available during this fall's WMSE membership drive as the thank you gift for a $30 donation to the station. Dig in and eat up!


Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”