Residents Savor Culinary History Program

Shady Oaks residents enthusiastically welcomed local author Darcy Dougherty Maulsby on February 20th for a presentation about her one-of-a-kind book entitled “A Culinary History of Iowa.” During the hour-long evening program everyone was delighted to hear her descriptions of Iowa’s rich culinary history. Darcy began by sharing some vintage photos from the Lake City area depicting every day scenes related to food, a family picnic down by the Raccoon River and a local wagon team delivering 100-pound sacks of flour to a main street grocery. From that point onward the audience was mesmerized by Darcy’s descriptive “travels” across the state as she shared fascinating facts about our Hawkeye communities and their food history and culture.  Food establishments, both historical and current, were prominently featured in Darcy’s presentation as well.  And, of course, residents chimed in with stories of their own about favorite restaurants, family cooking traditions, and popular recipes.  The conversation about Iowa food was as wide-ranging (and also mouth-watering) as the topic of Darcy’s book:  Has anyone ever tried a classic Iowa breaded tenderloin?  Or how about sauerkraut from the Amana Colonies, Eskimo pies, Wells Blue Bunny ice cream, Maid-rites, Graziano sausage, or Sterzing’s potato chips? Audience members happily reminisced along with Darcy about visits to Archie’s in LeMars, the Hotel Julien in Dubuque, Cronk’s Café in Denison, Niland’s Café in Colo, and the Younker’s Tea Room. Throughout the evening there was a strong underlying appreciation for Iowa’s rich Midwestern cuisine which was created by a strong farming heritage and various, diverse ethnic influences.  And, lastly, to bring the program full-circle and back to home, Darcy shared one final story about the passing down from generation to generation of a local family’s scrumptious cinnamon roll recipe (and its secret ingredient) which perfectly exemplified why Iowa’s culinary history is so special.

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