Blue Moon Road intersects U.S. 63 about two miles north of Cable, Wisconsin, and meanders past old farmsteads, some cottages and two small lakes before it rejoins the highway south of Drummond. My father told me that I had my first ride on Blue Moon Road when it was still a part of U.S. 63. Since I was only a week old, I don’t remember that trip home from the hospital in Ashland.
I do remember learning from Dad that before it was named U.S. 63, the highway was called WIS 24. It started in Hudson, Wisconsin, went through New Richmond to Turtle Lake and connected the villages and cities served by U.S. 63 today until ending at U.S. 2 near Ashland.
Though the Blue Moon Road is worth a drive at least a couple of times a year if you enjoy the northwoods and the opportunity to negotiate a narrow, hilly and curvy county road for a few miles, the reason my family drove it no longer exists. Only the name remains of the bar and restaurant that served the best fish fry I remember from my childhood.
All the locals knew of the Blue Moon, and resort owners directed their guests to the place as well, so it was packed on Friday nights in the summer. Packed is actually an understatement. I remember how my father would thread his way through the crowd in front of the door, hand a dollar to someone waiting to get in and ask him to order three Cokes and two beers. The money and order would be passed from person to person until it reached the bartender. In a few minutes the drinks and change would be passed out to us.
When Mom and Dad were at the door, they were ferrying orders and drinks for people behind us. I still remember being impressed by two things: orders got placed correctly despite the fact that they often went through three or four relays, and all the change came back with the order.
While we waited for a table, Mom and Dad visited with friends and we kids found others to play with. There was a small lake across the road that kept us occupied. I do not remember ever falling in, but I may be repressing a bad experience. Ordinarily, my family waited until I fell into any nearby body of water so they could relax while I dried out.
Dozens of bars and restaurants served a Friday Fish Fry, but the Blue Moon’s was exceptional. It was worth waiting for. The walleye was perfectly done, the French fries were crisp and the cole slaw was as good as Mom’s.
Maybe not quite as good as Jerri’s, however, but I loved it then just as I love her cole slaw today. Last Sunday we had cole slaw to go with some bass caught by Jerri but cleaned by yours truly. If I do say so myself, the fillets were perfectly fried and with Jerri’s guidance, I also made the slaw. She cooked some wonderful hush puppies, which I am going to try one of these days.
The meal tasted so good that it reminded me of the Blue Moon. Here is how to make Jerri’s Cole Slaw.
4 cups green cabbage
1/4 to 1/3 cup white or yellow onion
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup mayonnaise or whipped salad dressing
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tsp. cider vinegar
1/4 cup grated carrot (optional)
Wash and remove any damaged or tough outer leaves on the head of cabbage. Using a sharp knife, cut a medium head (about seven or eight inches in diameter) into quarters, remove the core and slice one quarter very thinly. Then cut the slices into pieces that are no more than a half inch long. Do the same with another quarter until you have four cups of finely chopped cabbage. Clean and chop the onion to a quarter inch dice. Mix the cabbage and onion together in a large bowl. Clean and grate the carrot and stir it in if you wish to include it.
Make the dressing in a small bowl by stirring together the mayonnaise or salad dressing with the sour cream, salt, sugar and vinegar. Pour the dressing into the large bowl and stir to coat the cabbage and onion. If the slaw looks too dry, add equal amounts of mayonnaise or salad dressing and sour cream and a dash of vinegar. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
Chill for at least an hour before serving.
NOTES: Some people prefer a sweeter dressing than we do. Feel free to add a little more sugar once you have tasted the slaw, but follow the recipe to start with. Besides being wonderful with fish, cole slaw goes well with bratwurst, grilled chicken or barbecued ribs.