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Opinions

Food fights. The initial skirmishes

Food For Thought

My mother made stew often in winter. It was crowded with big chunks of tender beef, potatoes, carrots and onion in a rich sauce similar to thin gravy, laced with garlic, bay leaves, and thyme. It had simmered most of the day in a big kettle on the stove, filling the house with its enticing aroma and, steaming up the kitchen windows. His mother made soup. A clear, tea-colored broth swimming with bits of meat and vegetables and reminiscent of last Sunday’s roast beef.

Bacon, hot dog cannons, fish or no fish

Walkin'

Quick: Which Iowa university has the Spartans as its team mascot?
Is it a) the University of Iowa, b) Iowa State University, or c) Dubuque University?
Sabra and I do what we call credit card camping while on our bike trips. Maybe in our younger days we’d be up for setting up a tent, but the older we get, sleeping on the ground becomes less appealing. Roughing it, for us, is a Motel 6.

The high cost of prosperity

Every year I try to make at least one pilgrimage to my husband’s hometown in northwest Iowa. There are friends and family there, and a little brick house that has been in the family for many generations since they arrived in Graettinger from Oklahoma in the ’20s. Not far from the Minnesota border, there are several lovely glacial lakes within a few minutes’ drive from the town. The soil is black and rich– some of the best farm land in the world– fields of corn and beans stretch, lush and healthy, for miles.

Water over the dam

Walkin'

Free, men’s Oskgosh overalls, size 56, never worn, call…
I read this ad in the Keota Eagle shortly before pushing off for Oskaloosa on a dreary misty morning.
I always make it a point to read the local newspapers while on the road and have found some gems over the years. My favorite was one that read, “found $300 in the bank depository without a deposit slip call to tell us who you are.”
The ads exemplify one of the things I love about our bicycling trips; the people. Not only is it interesting to talk to someone new but we’ve received so much kindness from strangers it’s amazing.

On the road again

Walkin'

This year’s ride started as planned Thursday morning. After winding our way through the familiar streets and trails of Iowa City we soon found ourselves on Black Diamond Road, a remote ribbon of tar going from nowhere to no place. Sometimes I wonder why I love cycling but rolling quietly over roads like the Black Diamond brings it all back. It’s the sun on your back, the forgotten cemetery you would have missed if in a car, the smell of clover, the time to remember and reflect while you inch your way along… At mile 16 we arrived at the KTZ’s Roadhouse in Windham.

More about cats and dogs

Food for Thought

Curiosity and research uncovered a number of interesting things about pet behavior. Some behavior is almost impossible to train out of your pet, even though it is ancestral and not necessarily relative to the lives of our family pets.

And don’t forget the pets

Food for Thought

We all know that it is not safe to leave a child in a car in hot weather, but many don’t realize that it is far more dangerous for a dog or a cat than for a human. A human can sweat, which helps cool the body. A dog has only a few sweat glands in the pads of his feet. He keeps cool in hot weather by panting. When your dog pants, he inhales fresh air through his nose. The nose contains a maze of moist surfaces that are cooled by evaporation. If the dog is in a hot car, the air he breathes in is not cool enough to do him much good.

On the road again

Walkin'

By the time you read this, Sabra and I should be mid-way through our annual bicycle ride.
We’ve been taking the two-week excursion each year for the past decade. Several trips have seen us through Wisconsin, and at least once we’ve rolled over Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Germany and Italy.
No matter where we go, we always manage to do two things really well: get lost and take lots of photos.

Boulder nuts

Walkin'

Sabra and I recently returned from a trip to Colorado where we ran into a shocking development.
No, I’m not talking about legalized recreational marijuana… yet. I’m talking about brunch. It seems people in the Centennial State rarely eat breakfast or lunch these days but have instead opted to go with brunch.

Nothing’s perfect

Food for Thought

Browsing through old cookbooks– really old cookbooks– I came across a recipe for chicken which began with these words, “Draw and singe the bird...” Today, I’d put that cookbook right back on the shelf and head for the supermarket.

The Abilene Principle

Food for Thought

The various proposals we’ve seen over the years for a new jail and an addition to the Johnson County Courthouse have been less than officials want and claim they need, yet more than voters and taxpayers want to support. That’s a good example of the Abilene Principle. We’ve all experienced the sort of compromise that ends in nobody getting what they wanted, but settling for what everybody could tolerate. Such compromise seems to be the essence of politics and the reason such undertakings, even when finally approved, are not sufficient to fill the need.

Beef Days beeristory

Walkin'

The first Solon Beef Days I attended was in the early 1980s.
Back then, the entire city was an open container zone during the celebration. People came and went from the beer tent and the half dozen taverns in town with cup in hand. Individuals also hauled in their own coolers bringing in more beer and liquor. People around town, myself included, scheduled family reunions and parties to coincide with the festival and often tapped a keg or two.