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‘A Culinary History of Iowa’ dishes up favorites

By Staff | Sep 6, 2016

AUTHOR DARCY DOUGHERTY MAULSBY lives in Lake City and is a regular contributor to Farm News.

LAKE CITY – In Darcy Dougherty Maulsby’s recently published book, readers can take a delicious adventure through Iowa’s food history.

“A Culinary History of Iowa” is not the Lake City writer’s first effort. Maulsby, an independent marketing specialist, is also the author of “Calhoun County,” published several years ago by Arcadia Publishing.

Maulsby, who grew up on a farm between Lake City and Yetter, graduated from Southern Cal High School in 1992. She has frequently written about Iowa’s agriculture and food during her 17-year career working for the National Pork Board, the Iowan Magazine, Farm News, Progressive Farmer, and the Iowa Turkey Federation.

She began cooking at the age of 12, and has won numerous awards for her culinary creations, including blue ribbons for her molasses cookies at the Clay County Fair and her mixed-berry jams at the Iowa State Fair.

“One of my passions is bridging the gap between food producers and consumers. To share the story of modern food production, I’ve hosted reporters, photographers and videographers from Iowa Public Television, USA Today and Detroit Public Television (for a PBS NewsHour segment) at our farm,” Maulsby said.

Calhoun County girls, some in the 4-H uniforms of the time, show off their canning in this vintage photo.

“A Culinary History of Iowa” is 128 pages combining vintage and color photos, unique stories, as well as historic and modern recipes that offer a taste of Iowa from border to border.

“I was motivated to write ‘A Culinary History of Iowa’ by the same reason that inspired me to write my first book, ‘Calhoun County,’ from Arcadia Publishing, which tells the story of small town and rural Iowa through the eyes of those who lived it,” said Maulsby. “I love Iowa history and Iowa food traditions and want to capture these remarkable stories, recipes and photos while there’s still time and preserve them for future generations.”

The book invites readers to dig into some of Iowa’s tastiest traditions and rich ethnic heritage.

“To me, nothing says Iowa like breaded pork tenderloins as big as a dinner plate,” she said. “You’ll learn more about how the Best Tenderloin in Iowa is awarded each year, and what’s the secret to a great tenderloin.”

“A Culinary History of Iowa” also includes food stories ranging from the caramel apples originated at Poky’s restaurant in Carroll to Dedham bologna, Lanesboro Methodist Church’s Chicken noodle and roast beef suppers, Deal’s orchard near Jefferson and the Rockwell City Bottling Works, which is used to supply soda pop around the area.

“A Culinary History of Iowa” is available on Amazon.com, and signed copies are available from Darcy Dougherty Maulsby through her online store at her website, www.darcymaulsby.com.

And it doesn’t ignore food on a stick featured at the Iowa State Fair, Maytag blue cheese, Graziano Brothers sausage; and Blue Bunny and the “Ice Cream Capital of the World,” Le Mars.

It also serves up a healthy dose of prose on classic Iowa steaks, traditional farm cooking, food festivals, and church suppers.

“While there are fabulous Iowa recipes in this book, such as award-winning strawberry-rhubarb pie, glazed ham balls and a classic corn casserole, ‘A Culinary History of Iowa’ is so much more than a cook book,” said Maulsby. “The book is also filled with behind-the-scenes stories that detail the rich history of a number of Iowa classics, from Maid-Rites to Steak de Burgo.”

There are also stories about the Master Hotel at Burr Oak that Laura Ingalls Wilder’s family ran in the late 1870s, Iowa’s diverse ethnic heritage, meat lockers, and 100-year-food companies, including Jolly Time Popcorn.

“These stories are a wide array of photographs to only serve up a bountiful history of tasty traditions that Iowans relish, but they also preserve portions of Iowa’s culinary history that have vanished, such as the legendary Younkers Tea Room in Des Moines.”

It’s all aimed at preserving a slice of Iowa’s cultural heritage.

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