Monday, September 17, 2001

My parents are good farm stock, raised in the Iowa countryside. Thank god, they got out before we, my brothers and sister, were born. When we were children and took the car trip from Chicago to my grandparents' homes in Sully and Pella, we used to refer to it as a visit to the planet Iowa.

Of course, it's charming if you're not from there and related to no one from there.

If you are, well, too bad for you. Everyone knows everything about everyone else, like for instance that you weren't in church on Sunday, or maybe that you went to the ''liberal'' (yeah, maybe liberal in comparison to Attila the Hun) Fourth Reformed Church instead of the all-powerful and always-packed-to-the-gills Second Christian Reformed church where you're supposed to go.

My sister recently pointed out to me that Gourmet magazine has discovered the subtleties of Iowa cooking, something I never really grew to appreciate much: my grandmother's secret-recipe grape juice - add grape kool-aid and sugar to give the grandkids a real kick; the stack of plain white wonder bread served with every meal; tough little porkchops that, with a simple shoelace and a little gumption, could easily be converted into nunchuks. Although to be fair, my grandmother did make a mean coconut cream pie.

A recent article lead off with a story on the Coffee Cup Cafe, a place where my grandmother who didn't make coconut cream pie worked after my grandparents had retired and moved into town (Sully, Home of the White Marigold, pop. 331 at that time, now it's grown to something like 900), and after my grandfather died.

You can also read about the Olde Town Eatery in Pella, a restaurant I must admit I've never heard of in all my visits there, (I guess they forgot to add the -e- that's supposed to go on the end of -town)-.

The Swedish phrase for the day is dålig mage. It means weak stomach.

- by Francis S.

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