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Today's Case

Goeden's Fish Market, Madison, WI

Re: Goeden's Fish Market, Madison, WI
From: Dale
Date: 2/2/2023, 9:13 AM
To: Phaedrus 

On 2/1/2023 8:04 PM, Dale wrote:


Dale here.

In the 1960s and 70s I went to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 
and many times walked by a little hole in the wall fish market, and wondered 
why so many students were sitting around on the steps or on the sidewalk eating 
fish and chips.  One cooler Friday afternoon with a couple bucks in my pocket I 
decided to find out.  They had what seemed to be fresh fish on ice, along with 
pails of freshly cubed fish of all sorts.  Whitefish, whatever that was, was 
the cheapest and I asked for an order of that and fries.

The guy working the fryer grabbed a handful of the fish pieces, cubed about 3/4" 
on the side, and tossed them into some light breading, with what must have been 
flour and cornmeal.  Then into the deep fryer.  What came out and was served with 
a handful of fries and maybe a dash of vinegar if you wanted, was the absolutely 
lightest breading on fish I've ever seen and was delightful.  It was so thin you 
could see the streaking of the fish through it.

Whenever I could scrape up the dough, I'd head down to enjoy every single piece 
of their delightful offering.  With expansion of the campus and support buildings, 
they lost their lease and moved a bit more towards the Capitol, into an old 
laundromat, where they actually had seating inside.  When I had family we would 
hit the joint whenever we had a chance to return to Madison.  Sadly on one visit 
we found that location gone, too, and asking about I learned that they had decided 
to close.

I've written several times to the food column editor of the State Journal newspaper, 
and she said she, too, was in awe of the fish from their fryers, and asked about 
looking for anyone who may have worked there or knew any of the recipes.  None 
surfaced, but others in the food scene said that when Goeden retired he was going to 
present the recipe for the breading and how to make stuff openly as a thank you for 
all the decades people supported him, but sadly no one ever received a copy nor did 
any notes or recipes show up in the mainstream press or any of the various campus 

Have you got any leads on Goeden's from Madison, WI, now going back a long ways, or 
have some ideas on a very very light flour and perhaps a wee bit of cornmeal and 
some salt and pepper and who knows what other seasonings might go into a very thin, 
light but definitely rave-worthy breading?


Hello Dale,

There is a copy of  the Goeden's Fish Market menu here: Wisconsin History

There is an item here from the UW Alumni Association that says all of the Goeden's Fish Market recipes were lost in a move years ago and that's why the promise to reveal them was never kept: UWAlumni

Dale, I could not recommend a breading recipe unless it said "this tastes like Goeden's" in so many words. I am a researcher more than I am a cook and I never had Goeden's fish and chips. I have no idea of a breading recipe that might be similar to Goeden's.

I will post this for my readers to see. Maybe one of them can help.

You might have some success if you post your request for the breading recipe on the "Lost Madison Wisconsin" Facebook page. There is already a lot of discussion about Goeden's Fish Market on that page. See: Lost Madison Wisconsin Facebook Page


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