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On the table: Laid-back libations

Sticking with the theme of last month’s column, party preparation, let’s bring our attention to the main event: dinner and drinks. As a relatively social person, I’ve hosted groups of friends and family at my house for dinner, drinks and dessert numerous times over the years. Sometimes I get overly ambitious and attempt to make something I’ve never tried before with the world’s longest recipe in hopes of making our dinner a meal to remember. […]

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On the table: For your informaggio

Crafty

I’m going to take a guess here: You probably haven’t ever made your own cheese before. It’s ok, you’re not alone. Up until a few weeks ago, I had never even considered venturing into the unknown territory of amateur cheesemaking. But then, over happy hour drinks, a friend mentioned her interest in trying her hand at it, and my ears perked up. Later that night, as I flipped through the pages of my latest Bon Appetit, I serendipitously happened to see a recipe for ricotta—the editors vowed it was a breez… […]

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On the Table: Take a bloody break

Bloody Mary

Here’s the conundrum: I’ve found myself at an unpleasant crossroads. I’m in my 30s, have high blood pressure and need to lose weight; but I am, by nature, an epicure. Until a little while ago, this joie de vivre served me relatively well—but I had a health scare recently and have been forced to question […]

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On the Table: Taking in Iowa City’s best minor indulgences

Post-holidays can be a tricky time and it seems like every year I eat a little more, drink a little longer and exercise a little less.

Having noticed my expanding waistline, my health-centric-physically-fit-yogi-fiancé decided to take drastic measures and put us on a three-week health kick called the “Crazy Sexy Diet.” […]

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On The Table: What are you drinking tonight?

In these chilly mid-winter months, all it takes is a good spirit to ease the shivers and warm the soul. In the search for winter cheer, Melissa Sinclair, general manager of the Motley Cow Café, and Katy Meyer, owner and chef at Trumpet Blossom Café have shared their thoughts on crafting seasonal cocktails that reflect […]

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On the Table: Sweet Spot – Wilton Candy Kitchen in Wilton, Iowa

When I was a kid, you got your ice cream at a Baskin Robbins franchise in a strip mall next to a Fayva, where you got your plastic jelly shoes. I had heard of “drugstores” where you could sit at a counter and get malteds and melts, but I had never actually visited a place […]

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On the Table: If You Give a Frog a Cookie

Arnold Lobel’s storybook characters Frog and Toad are two of the literary giants from my childhood that have enjoyed second, third and (currently) fourth revivals for me as I’ve shared their stories with each of my children. Although I still enjoy these funny and sweet stories, by the 20th or 30th read (that’s a weekly […]

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On The Table: Growing Rogue

I am supposed to meet him (I don’t know his name) at the corner gas station where I expect he will be standing outside of a beat-up farm truck with Muscatine county plates. Last time I was here to buy from him he told me that his friend does the growing and he does the selling. […]

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On the Table: Personal Chef – How a Middle-Class Working Mother Splurges

How does a middle-class working mother splurge? Retail therapy? No, not shoes—if I can’t wear them to work or at home then why bother? Not handbags—they will just get Gatorade spilled on them. Concert tickets—nah, too tired to leave the house. No, no, no! What I really want is a personal chef. I asked around […]

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