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My Great American Road Trip – Iowa

July 28, 2020

Finally, some vegetables! At least one – corn.

I was in Iowa once – 2011 with the Boston Pops. We performed in the absolutely delightful college town of Iowa City. As usual, I don’t remember what I ate (I’m sure most of it was backstage catering), but while the orchestra was rehearsing, I took a loooooong walk around the town. It reminded me of my childhood in New England. It would have been sometime between Thanksgiving and my birthday (December 3, for those of you who don’t already have it in your calendars), so there was the right amount of chill in the air and neighborhoods with houses that screamed American dream. I finally made it to the Prairie Lights Bookstore that put just about every other bookstore to shame – big enough to find what you wanted, but purposefully curated, with rows of comfy chairs and coffee from not Starbucks. I was so pleased to be there that I took a picture.


I love those gloves. I wonder where they are…..

It was an election year in Iowa, so on the long drive the next morning to take Keith Lockhartto Des Moines for morning television, we learned why Iowa is a swing state. Also – they quote god a lot in their political ads.

Anyway – I knew it was going to be corn, but wasn’t sure what, so to the internet I went. If you type in Iowa corn recipe, the thing that comes up the most is corn casserole. There are many many recipes out there, and it seems like none of them call for fresh corn, which is actually fine, since it’s not really prime corn season. The recipe I used had me chop some yellow onions and green peppers and saute them til they’re soft (I had a jalapeno on the brink of going bad, so I threw that in there too). Then you add two cups of milk and three tablespoons of flour and stir til the whole thing thickens up. Next up add in a cup of shredded white cheddar (orange will mess up the color of the dish), and two beaten eggs. This is one of those cooking patience activities. You have to add a little egg, stir quickly, a little more egg, another quick stir, and so on, or else you have scrambled eggs. Also you add in a couple cans of corn. Then the whole thing is covered with a generous shake of bread crumbs and cooked at 350 until it is browned and bubbly.

I packed up a big helping along with a blanket and headed out to meet Jack in the park, where he killed me at Monopoly and we drank beer and hard seltzer and ate corn casserole and life almost felt normal.

Iowa is all about wholesome pleasures and so was my Sunday in the park with Jack.




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  1. Brenda McDermott permalink

    Great post❤️❤️

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. inacity permalink

    “Sunday in the Park with Jack”. Now, isn’t that a Sondheim thing? The picnic sounds heavenly, and so does the corn casserole. I’ve been craving corn lately. But this sounds too involved. I just want a couple of ears, scorched on the grill. By the way, I think I mailed those gloves back to you. And that picture with Jack looked nothing like La Grande Jatte. Or Miami Beach.

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