The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator


Managing Editor Maddie Kasper is into baking focaccia, a good book and overwearing her overalls
Photo by Maddie Kasper
Can you tell that Maddie Kasper is a big fan of reading and cooking silly, little dishes?

Editors note: Tastemakers is a new column we’re trying out here at The Spectator where we give you, the readers, a glimpse into what we at The Spectator are interested in (fashion, music, pop culture, etc.) It also takes heavy inspiration from Perfectly Imperfect, a paid Substack with content in a similar format.

Maddie Kasper is the managing editor of The Spectator and a third-year journalism and political science student at UW-Eau Claire. She spends a concerning amount of time in the Spec office playing The New York Times Crossword instead of being productive. Maddie is a lover of orange cats, all things green and the Half Price Books on the east side of Madison.

Claire Saffitz’s Soft and Crispy Focaccia: If Claire Saffitz’s name doesn’t sound familiar to you, maybe “I Would Die for Claire from the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen” does. She gained internet stardom for her series Gourmet Makes on the BA YouTube channel where she made gourmet versions of popular processed treats and snacks. Although Saffitz doesn’t work for BA anymore, she is still busy developing recipes and making videos for her own YouTube channel.

One of my favorite of Saffitz’s recipes is Soft and Crispy Focaccia from her first cookbook “Dessert Person.” It’s a pretty foolproof recipe and my go-to choice when I want to impress people with my baking skills. I recently made it for my friends and I decorated the focaccia with fresh rosemary, thinly-sliced garlic and then I fashioned picturesque, little toadstools out of cherry tomatoes and white onions.

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Overalls: One of my favorite articles of clothing to wear — besides thrifted grandpa sweaters — are denim overalls. I got my first pair last winter from the clothing brand Lucy & Yak (it’s a U.K. company so they call them dungarees, how precious!) and I think it has the perfect vintage and oversized look that I was going for. These overalls are in my usual clothing rotation and I tend to wear the pair once a week.

“More Is More” by Molly Baz: Everyone who knows me knows that I absolutely adore Molly Baz. She also gained internet virality from her time in the BA test kitchen and has since released two cookbooks: “Cook This Book” was published in 2021 and “More Is More” was published earlier this year. I was a big fan of recipes from “Cook This Book” (Graziella’s Pasta al Pomodoro, Crispy Buttered Shrimp with 20 Cloves of Garlic and Crispy Smothered Potatoes, just to name a few) and I can’t wait to try out her new creations in “More is More.”

Spotify daylist: Spotify launched daylist, their newest algorithmic playlist, on Sept. 12 and I have been hooked ever since. The daylist updates three times during the day — morning, afternoon and night — to give listeners different playlists based on the moods of music they tend to listen to at those times.

I love opening Spotify to see what quirky playlist title they have cooked up for me this time. The titles range from the expected (“souldies sample tuesday morning” and “heartbroken trio monday afternoon,” which of course heavily featured boygenius’s most devastating songs) to full-on attacks of my character (“empowering sassy thursday morning”). I’m not exactly sure how listening to love songs and folksy music landed me with “cat elevator music night,” but at this point, I’m too invested to be turned away by the goofy playlist titles.

Getting back into reading: Last year I realized it had been an exorbitantly long time — almost two years — since I had read a book cover to cover outside of academic reading, so I made a pact with myself that I would prioritize reading over the summer. In the span of May to August, I ended up reading eight books, and my favorites included “Biography of X” by Catherine Lacey and “Writers and Lovers” by Lily King, both of which were written from the point of view of writers struggling with their craft (the main character in Lacey’s book is even a journalist!). I was quite the bookworm growing up and it was so lovely to find myself immersed in a book again.

I recently joined the book club at Dotter’s Books here in Eau Claire, and the December pick is “Butter Honey Pig Bread” by Francesca Ekwuyasi, which has been on my Goodreads TBR for a while. I haven’t started it yet because I’m still reading “While You Were Out” by Meg Kissinger (she follows me back on Twitter so I’m feeling a little starstruck), but when I do, I’ll probably end up writing about it for our Bookclub column at The Spectator.

The sandwichTM: I made a sandwich at the beginning of October that I am still thinking about. I work at a gourmet cheese store that sells everything you need to make the perfect charcuterie board and a few of the salami varieties were on sale. The salami was calling out to me, just asking to be made into a sandwich. I ended up buying Genoa salami and spicy salami after work, before heading off to my beloved Woodman’s to gather the rest of my necessary ingredients.

I decided a toasted baguette, pesto, tomato paste, mozzarella and arugula were the perfect pairings for the salami. I topped it off with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and, of course, my new favorite Graza olive oil. The texture of the crispy bread perfectly juxtaposed the squishy mozzarella and fresh arugula, and I’m tempted to make it again soon.

Kasper can be reached at [email protected].

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