The Contents

CALAMITY, senseless vandalism and a retreat of high-end restaurants

By Jim Duncan The cusp period between late 2017 and early 2018 ...

MARCH MADNESS and its cures

A bit about 300 local sports bars By Jim Duncan March Madness ...

What is a café?

Des Moines is loaded however you define it By Jim Duncan In ...

Latest News

Calamity and prosperity

By Jim Duncan The autumn of 2017 was a time of contention, price relief and denial. Regional organic farming associations across the country felt betrayed by the National Organic Standards Board, which advises the U.S. Department of Agriculture, for relaxing organic standards to include hydroponically grown fruits and vegetables. In Des Moines, a clean water, anti-Farm Bureau city council candidate replaced a Farm Bureau […]

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Bye, bye American pie

A vanishing culinary treasure By Jim Duncan In one of the great examples of American hubris, GI’s in World War II popularized the phrase “American as motherhood and apple pie.” As my German friends like to point out, “Americans think they can nationalize anything simply by claiming it.” In 1902, a New York Times editorial claimed “Pie is the American synonym for prosperity […]

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Holiday gifts for foodies

Chindōgu and practicality By Jim Duncan Holiday gift giving provides opportunities to indulge every kind of whim, from the gratuitous to the farcical. An American version of the holiday dilemma states “What do you give the person who has everything?” The implied answer is never “nothing.” The book “101 Unuseless Japanese Inventions” is a best seller in Asia every time a […]

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Strong prices, glass ceilings and ANCIENT HISTORY

By Jim Duncan Summer was good to Iowa agriculture. Despite lower feed corn prices, beef prices stood strong on demand. Pork did, too. “The vegans were finally halted at the gates of Vienna,” joked one commodities trader. Exports helped sustain all this, especially to Japan, China and the southside of Korea. McDonalds and Wendy’s were the big winners in the […]

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EXTREME Tailgating

By Jim Duncan Much more than burgers and beer The best story I have ever heard about extreme tailgating is likely apocryphal. Like the best urban myths, though, hardly anyone doubts it because it perfectly fits most preconceptions, in this case about Oakland Raider fans. Of all the fans of American sports teams, these are usually perceived to be the […]

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