Dedicated to tradition

Every generation is tempted to believe it invented culture. Des Moines has enjoyed enough culinary success in the last dozen years that some voices don’t believe anything of enduring worth preceded that success. This issue of Relish is dedicated to traditions that predate not only Des Moines’ success in garnering James Beard Award semifinalists, but the awards themselves.

In Des Moines, restaurant tradition is dominated by Italians, specifically Calabrese restaurateurs, grocers, bakers and chefs. Such places have been so loved in Des Moines that several of them have been around for five decades or more. Besides Calabrese and other Italian places with long track records, we will honor practitioners of the other two genres of great Des Moines tradition — steakhouses and diners.

We will examine a specific version of a classic American cocktail that is especially popular in Des Moines. We will take a look at one of the great Calabrese entrees and an appetizer so lavish in mid-century Des Moines that it was considered the essential splurge for special occasions. Americans consume almost half of the world’s chocolate, and Iowans do their share of indulging. We examine the ever-popular chocolate cake in this issue as well. We also visit with the longest serving chef in a local Italian American restaurant and new manufacturer who is fast building a big-time reputation for exceptional ice creams.

The Dish returns with a discussion of three months of culinary news that brought inexplicably weird behavior and a slew of really good new places. So drink a kind cup of Prosecco for the auld lang syne. RELISH

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Categories: From the Editor

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