El Gallito in Tama

200 West 3rd Tama, IA 52339 Whenever I drive north on US 63 to Cedar Falls or Waterloo, I try to stop at El Gallito in Tama, Iowa–a Mexican store that recently expanded to… Continue reading

Le’s Chinese Bar-B-Que

1600 2nd Ave Des Moines, IA 5031 I was really happy to discover this place, which I think has the best Chinese (Cantonese style) barbecue in Des Moines, and probably Iowa. Whenever I’m preparing for a Chinese… Continue reading

Ajla’s in Waterloo

Ajla’s Bakery and Grocery 1206 W 9th St, Waterloo, IA 50702 Most of the clientele at Ajla’s the few times that I’ve been there have come in for the big, soft loaves and rolls… Continue reading

Clams Linguine

This is an easy recipe, since its main ingredients are canned (clams) and bottled (clam juice). Fresh would be much better, of course–but fresh clams don’t really make it to Iowa. It’s a… Continue reading

Herbed Potato Salad à la russe

This is a minimalist potato salad–a quick recipe I put together with what I had on hand in my kitchen and herb garden. I was inspired by the annual harvest of dill, one… Continue reading

Growing Tomatoes in Iowa

Almost anything grows in Iowa, especially tomatoes. You can buy seedlings, which are sold in every nursery, or you can start your own. When I first moved to Iowa in the nineties, few but the… Continue reading

On Mushrooms

I’ve always loved mushrooms, from the canned mushrooms of my childhood, which were pretty much all that was available forty years ago in Montana, to the fresh champignons that are now found in any… Continue reading

Russian caviar in Iowa (European Flavors in Des Moines)

1150 73rd St, Windsor Heights, Ia 50324 In Grinnell we refer to European Flavors as “the Russian store,” since it is one of the only sources in Iowa for good Russian products, from… Continue reading

Mexican Rice

This is an old recipe that I learned from my mother, who took it out of one of the first Mexican cookbooks our family encountered (in 1970s Montana). I’ve varied it in a… Continue reading


Fresh dill is one of my favorite herbs. I didn’t start to use it until I had traveled in Russia and Poland, and began to cook recipes from the Slavic kitchen. What I remember… Continue reading