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Spoils from the Soil

Now I am terrified at the Earth, it is that calm and patient, It grows such sweet things out of such corruptions, It turns harmless and stainless on its axis, with such endless successions of diseas’d corpses, It distills such exquisite winds out of such infused fetor, It renews with such unwitting looks its prodigal, […]

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Tofu: The Other Holiday Meat

While traveling West on my way to can salmon in Alaska, I stopped in Tacoma, Washington, to stay the night with my aunt and uncle. My cousin had just graduated high school and the graduation party spread was available for post-driving snacks. I excitedly munched the baby carrots and dipped the cut cauliflower and broccoli […]

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Hog Haven

As local officials responded to the threat of floods in southeastern Iowa with repeated appeals for help with sandbagging, I jumped at the chance—to bury my head in the sand, or a sandbag, whatever could be spared. The last time I volunteered during a disaster, the results were disastrous. I’d been part of a mission […]

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Food: It's Not Just for Elites

It’s going to take me a long time to fully understand the effects and implications of the first Slow Food Nation, held in San Francisco over Labor Day weekend. The brain power on display was impressive enough: Wendell Berry, Vandana Shiva, Michael Pollan, Winona LaDuke, Carlo Petrini, Raj Patel, Eric Schlosser, and other luminaries took […]

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Border Dispute

Since 1992, Panchero’s Mexican Grill in downtown Iowa City has been serving burritos and other south-of-the-border foods to customers ranging from homegrown Iowa City residents to drunken college kids. It’s the flagship location for a restaurant that has branched into 17 states across the country. A year ago, a new “hombre” rolled into town—one with […]

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The Real Food Supercenter

This is the time of year that we flatlanders pine for during the snows of January, when it’s a full 100 degrees colder than it is right now, and all the humidity is frozen to our windshields. September in Iowa is what makes things grow so well here – the hot, sticky dog days that […]

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Food Without the Wrapper

Too many people in this country, I have learned, have been sold a bill of goods. They’ve been tricked. Flim-flammed. Conned. Hussled. Bamboozled into believing that food comes wrapped in plastic from a freezer in the nearest Wal-Mart and that cooking is a chore, like laundry or washing windows, to be avoided if at all […]

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Fields of Sea

Iowa experienced the flood of the century 15 years ago. That, of course, was a different century. Last month Iowans saw floods unlike any in living memory. Fourteen hundred city blocks in Cedar Rapids were inundated with water up to 11 feet deep. Twenty University of Iowa buildings were flooded. Interstates 80 and 380 were […]

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