As older parents, we have two sets of “children”: our own and our nephews and nieces (all of whom also are young enough to be our children). We’re having a good visit with Steele, getting together at the “Grandstay Residential Suites” in Ames, Iowa, and our son is excited to see him.
Steele is a big fan of my cooking, so I put together some chicken gumbo in our two burner kitchenette in our room (which has the kitchenette, couch and beds all in one big room). The grocery store in Ames is called Hy-Vee.
We like to cook on the road, so you learn to work with what’s available in each place: There is no Andouille sausage at Hy-Vee – but you can get fresh-made Brats (in every flavor imaginable) for the gumbo. (And the paper grocery bags have no handles — plastic is much preferred).
We didn’t have time to go there on this trip, but there’s a farmers market in downtown Ames on Saturday mornings, with all kinds of fresh produce (and corn) from local growers. And the wild rice from Minnesota (supposedly its “state grain”) is as cheap as I’ve ever seen, so I bought some. The stock pot came from “Big K” for $10. (The cavernous store is deserted on a Sunday morning).
No place is perfect for regional dishes. In our Sierra foothills, it’s hard to find okra for gumbo.
We’re headed home on the first flight out in the morning (6:30 a.m.), and leaving the rest of gumbo and a grocery bag full of fresh produce and fine-looking steaks with our nephew. Like any student/athlete, it helps you get through the week.
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