Robert Bell ’64 JD’67 is the mastermind behind the ingredients of Mad Grad Medley. He suggested the ingredients based on his Wisconsin heritage. Growing up in a family of European immigrants, he has many memories of different delicacies he enjoyed with his family.
Both of Bell’s mother’s parents were immigrants from Germany. His mother and grandmother were excellent cooks; Bell notes that his favorite birthday cakes they made for him were always different variations of chocolate and cherry flavors.
When he was 15, Bell’s parents bought a cottage on Lake Ripley. Spending the summer there, Bell discovered a resort called Alpine Village that was run by an Austrian couple. They made their own ice cream and sauces from milk and semisweet chocolate. Additionally, they had their own cherry recipes which included Bing and Door County cherries.
“Their sundaes were to die for,” said Bell. “They were a treat at least once per week all summer long.”
Bell’s family always had cherries in the house when they had freezer space. They later become pies, sauces, or cobblers.
Bell’s other grandmother was Swiss-Canadian. As Wisconsin became home to many middle and northern European immigrants, decadent chocolate was made by the Swiss immigrants with expertise.
Finally, Bell chose vanilla ice cream because he believed it balanced the tartness of the cherries. With his connections to cherries and chocolate, he thought vanilla seemed to complement these other flavors perfectly.
Bell continues to be an active UW-Madison alumnus. In addition to being a lifetime member of the WAA, he frequently contributes to Badger Insider, has led a WAA chapter, and participated in the Tele Town Hall Meeting for the New Badger Partnership earlier this year.
As a clear Wisconsin enthusiast, Bell is elated to have his flavor featured on campus. “I have been told that my flavor will be offered at the Union during the fall until homecoming, so I won’t be able to complain, as I have in the past, that one of Wisconsin’s agriculture products, cherries, are not used more often by Babcock Hall,” he said. Bell also joked: “Another offering of mine, bleu cheese, didn’t make the cut.”