behind closed doors
Rummaging Through My Fridge
by Rob Cline
I am prone to feelings of anxiety. I feel anxious about the next up in our informal taste test is Ellie Mae’s Gourmet
medical conditions I learn about via pharmaceutical Popcorn out of Breda, Iowa. Will it be the perfect combination
advertising; I feel anxious about my fluctuating coolness factor of texture and taste? We’ll find out the next time the family
with my three children; I feel anxious about ever-looming gathers around the TV to watch our beloved St. Louis
freelance deadlines. Cardinals.
But until I agreed to pen “Behind Closed Doors” for Edible A huge chunk of fridge real estate is currently occupied by
Iowa River Valley, I had never felt a watermelon. This, like the
any anxiety about the food in my popcorn, is an experiment for us.
refrigerator. After all, other than my The seedless melon, which sports a
wife and kids, nobody really knows label that admits, “May contain an
what’s in there—and they’re just as occasional seed,” was grown by
culpable as I for its contents. Bell’s Melons in Conesville, Iowa.
Yet somehow I agreed to open my Does genetic engineering rob these
own magnet-adorned door to set a melons of great taste? Don’t know
baseline for future investigations into yet, but I’m betting much less
the iceboxes of others. The anxiety spitting is involved than with your
kicked in almost immediately. standard melon.
After all, when I was warned And that’s where we are at
upfront that we didn’t want “a the moment: a few local treats
guided tour of organic Wal-Mart scattered among more mundane
Cheetos and Diet Coke.” My first fare. I know there are plenty of
thought was, “Whew! At least the other interesting edibles out there
Coke is of the sugar-filled classic and I’m headed into the
variety.” I shuddered at the thought community and into area
of what “organic Wal-Mart Cheetos” refrigerators to find them.
might be. Then I started to worry. So this column is about
Did the contents of my fridge more than peeking inside the
measure up? And measure up to crispers of local luminaries for the
what, exactly? Perhaps to an idealized simple voyeuristic pleasure of it—
refrigerator filled with food that is though that would nearly be
local, luscious and expressive of my reason enough for its existence. It
family’s idiosyncratic personality. If also represents an opportunity for
that’s the standard, I have work to do. me—and by extension, you—to learn about the unique and
That said, all is not lost. The Amana Colonies are fairly well quirky foodstuffs that might deserve a spot in both our fridges
represented in our Amana refrigerator. At a recent meeting of and, ultimately, our mouths.
the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance held in Main Amana, I I’m already stalking my first few fridges and will be back in
rediscovered the delicious offerings of the Millstream Brewing this space with the results of my forays. Meanwhile, I have to
Company. The only beer I drink is of the root variety, and file this column. The anxiety is getting to me.
Millstream’s contribution to the category is exceptionally
smooth and delightful. It’s just one of several great flavors.
A lot of toast in the Cline household is topped with Get into Rob’s Fridge:
preserves that bear the Amana name. I’m particularly fond of
the peach, which has a subtle flavor that isn’t too sweet. I have Bell’s Melons Mad Butcher Salsa
no complaints about the cherry, either. 303 Burlington St. P.O. Box 219
We also spice things up at our house with Mad Butcher Conesville, IA , 52739-8530 Ruthven, IA 51358
Salsa. Not only do I enjoy the taste, I like this company’s (319) 725-6631 (712) 837-5511
attitude. As it says on the website
Ellie Mae’s Gourmet Popcorn
(www.madbutchersalsa.com): “Mad Butcher Salsa was P.O. Box 160 Millstream Brewing Company
developed by real people from garden fresh vegetables in 610 Main Street 835 48th Ave.
Northwest Iowa—not produced in some food laboratory by Breda, IA 51436 Amana, IA 52203
geeks who know nothing about flavor!” (800) 742-0228 (319) 622-3672
My wife and I are on a quest for the perfect popcorn and www.MillstreamBrewing.com
Edible iowa river valley fall 2006 19