Seeking Leads for a New Book on Midwest Food

Joined May 14, 2001
To all members of ChefTalkCafe throughout the Midwest:

I am conducting research for a book, "Slow Living in the Heartland: A Cook's Tour of the Serene Life," to be published by UI Press in the Fall of 2005.

"Slow Living" will be an exciting chronicle of Midwestern stories that have never been told. There is great food to be had in the fertile triangle that stretches from Ohio to Oklahoma to North Dakota, and this project is designed to find it.

This is a flagrant plea for help. You folks know your areas better than anyone. The questions below are designed to help find the great stories in your neck of the woods.

Slow Food, as a movement, has been in the Midwest for 5 years. As a way of life, though, Slow Food's ideals have been here for centuries. It has only been in the last few decades that these ideals have been overshadowed by the onslaught of corporate culture and the "modern" world. "Slow Living in the Heartland" seeks stories of those who defy the industrialization of flavor, and live the "slow" life in their own ways.

I cannot fully express my gratitude for your help and support, and I am excited about the possibility of meeting each of you as I travel throughout the region to see and hear your stories.

Slow Living in the Heartland:
A Cook’s Tour of the Serene Life

Request for Leads

Thank you for taking the time to help make sure that the truly great stories, the ones about your friends and neighbors, are the ones that get included in this exciting new book.

Please understand that there are too many great stories in the Midwest to include all of them in one volume, so we may not be able to cover everyone. For those who are included though, this will be a nice burst of publicity and pride for them, because our marketing plan for this book is an aggressive one.

Whether you know of 1 person or 100, we want to know about them. Please be sure to include as much contact information as you can. Along with each name, it would be very helpful to have an address (including street number, city, state and zip), a phone number, and if they have such things, email addresses and websites.

We have broken this down into 6 simple sections. Please write in the names, along with brief descriptions if you like, and the contact information in each category. If you don’t know anyone in a particular category, don’t worry about leaving it blank. If you know someone who doesn’t fit in the categories but would still be a good story, there’s a catchall section at the end.

Don’t worry about repeating what others might say, we can sort out the repetitions, and please forward this to anyone you think may have useful information!

To send me your reply, you can do so by posting here, or you can cut and paste the questions below to a new eMail and send it to devotay @ mchsi . com (seperated to foil webcrawlers), or you can print it, fill it out and send it to:

Slow Living
22 Riverview Drive, NE
Iowa City, IA 52240-7973
FAX 810.222.1873

Again, we’re deeply grateful for your help with this exciting and important project.

Section 1: About You

Please tell us about yourself, just for the record. Be sure to include your name, address, phone number, eMail address. Also, should you be included in the book? Don’t be shy. Feel free to PM this and any of the other stuff to me - might be safer.

Section 2: Farmers

1) Who are the farmers in your area who are operating sustainable family farms and utilizing innovative techniques to bring their goods to market?

2) Is anyone in your area raising products that are or should be included on the Slow Food Ark Project?

3) Do you have a farmer’s market there? If so, where, when and who’s in charge?

Section 3: Artisans

1) Who is making that amazing goat cheese in your area? Or baking the perfect loaf of bread? Or homebrewing fantastic beer? Or making great pottery? Who are the artisan food makers there? (Remember, they may or may not be professionals, it doesn’t matter)

2) Is work being done to preserve historical, artisinal foods? By Slow Food alone or by other organizations and people?

3) How popular are these items with the public at large? Is there great demand? How do they hear about/procure these artisinal foods?

Section 4: Restaurants

1) Which restaurants in your area adhere to the philosophy of “sustainable cuisine”? Do they perhaps get their food from one or more of the farmers you mentioned above?

2) Is there one restaurant where the atmosphere exudes the “Slow” ideals? Which one(s) and why?

3) Are there any culinary professionals who are members of your convivium?

Section 5: History

1) What are the stories that are part of your regions culinary lore?

2) Is there a food product that is indigenous to your area?

Section 6: Catchall

What have we forgotten? What is a great food-related story that would fit within our guidelines of telling the story of Slow Food in the Midwest? Remember, it may not be an active part of the movement. It may be a story of someone who has lived this way all along, or perhaps a Native American tradition that is being kept alive. Anything at all welcome here.
Joined May 14, 2001
Sure, if you think it will help. I'd appreciate knowing where you've posted it, though.
Joined Jul 3, 2002
What a great idea!

You might want to try Sections 1, 2 and maybe 3 in some different forums on the GardenWeb site.

I'd suggest trying the Vegetable, Tomato, Harvest, Mid-West Gardening, and The Market Gardener forums. But there might be others too. You can just scroll through the LONG list at the site.

Best of luck! :D
Joined Aug 11, 2000
pretty sure I could fill your book with just Mo. stuff......I do not want to replicate Beki Marsh's work, let me know if she is going to respond would you please.
Joined May 14, 2001

I do expect a response from Beki, but send me stuff anyway. I'll deal with the replications.

Very exciting so far - replies are pouring in from all over the country.
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