Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Corn and Me: So Happy Together

Back from a few days in the Des Moines-area of Iowa, enjoying sunshine, friendly people, and a more relaxed pace of life.

A summer and Iowan must-have: corn. I love corn's versatility: cornbread, corn chowder, corn flakes, corn tortillas, or just good, old-fashioned corn on the cob.

Even this Iowan cat indulged in some leftover corn.

What to do with homegrown strawberries? Strawberry margarita! Or how about a strawberry smoothie?

My hosts bake their own bread to save money. What a good idea. Check out Chez Bettay's recipe for basic bead and pizza dough.

Picnic time. An assortment of salads, including one with corn, black beans, tomatoes and avocados.

On a hot day, a swim at the lake was so refreshing.

On the way to the Des Moines airport, I lunched at Gateway Market, a gourmet market with a cafe attached. In a state where you can turn on the radio and hear the weekly hog kill read as matter-of-factly as the weather report, it was a breath of fresh air to see vegetarian and even vegan options. They even have a tofu scramble! (Just hold the cheese).

A cup of the soup of the day, vegan tofu and mushroom, $2.95. Not bad, but I prefer creamy soups (thickened with soy creamer) to broth-based soups.

The roasted red pepper hummus platter (leave off the feta cheese to vegazine), $4.95. My only complaint: the pita chips were deep fried. Eesh.

Alternative Baking Company's vegan cookies at the airport, $2.99 each. I indulged in a pumpkin spice one. Very exciting, considering this shop sported t-shirts that said "Al's Roadkill Cafe: It's An Iowa Thing (You Kill It, We Grill It)" and more than one reference to cow-tipping.

Unfortunately, I was not near Madison County, where the famed bridges are that can be found in the movie and novel.

"The old dreams were good dreams; they didn't work out, but I’m glad I had them." -Robert James Waller, The Bridges of Madison County.

Here's hoping our dreams of a better world for animals do work out.

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