Does Wisconsin law require restaurants to put a slice of cheese on apple pie when served?
This is a legend that has been repeated for many years and is featured on many Web sites, especially those that list "dumb laws." One Web site even authoritatively and inaccurately cites Wisconsin law "160,065," which does not exist, as requiring all restaurants to serve with each meal "at least two-thirds of an ounce of Wisconsin butter and two-thirds of an ounce of Wisconsin cheese."
But Connie Von Der Heide at the Wisconsin State Law Library just happened to have researched this very topic, via the Legislative Reference Bureau, for the library's newsletter, which is on its Web site this past summer.
Here is her answer: No.
"It certainly sounds plausible since after all this is the Dairy State, but the answer is no.
"The 1935 Laws of Wis., ch. 106 came close; it required serving a small amount of cheese and butter with meals in restaurants (effective from June 1935 to March 1937).
"And, by the way, that was the first Wisconsin law with a sunset provision, i.e. a legislated ending time. Interestingly, Vermont just passed a law in 1999 designating the apple as the state fruit and apple pie as the state pie. It also requires a good faith effort to serve either a glass of cold milk, a 1/2 ounce or larger slice of Cheddar cheese, or a large scoop of vanilla ice cream with a slice of apple pie. (Title 1 Vermont Statutes Annotated, secs. 512 & 513, eff. July 1, 1999)"