A Cook’s Tour of Iowa is a well-curated collection of culinary culture that represents a certain view of Iowa. It’s the picture Iowans can recognize. We also recognize many of the things mentioned as fading in cultural prominence.
As a resource for writing autobiography, the book conjures personal memories of Iowa things like the Grant Wood Art Festival, Maytag Blue Cheese, the African-American community in Buxton, Iowa, and many more. It is indispensable for that reason.
What is lacking is the diversity of what Iowa has become, even since 1988 when the first edition of A Cook’s Tour appeared. Our culture is also leaving behind things like VEISHA, Old Creamery Theater (no longer in Garrison, or Amana), and some of the festivals and events to which Puckett referred.
If we had an Iowa-themed dinner party, picnic or cookout, one might search the book’s contents for dishes to make for pure nostalgia. However, life in Iowa has become more than that.
I appreciate the work that went into A Cook’s Tour of Iowa. I may not open it often, but knowing it is there provides comfort as the food system changes along with the society that engendered it.