Iowa's Down-Home Recipes

Iowa's No. 1 tourist attraction Amana Colony is known for its tasty food, including down-home recipes for dumpling soup, Farina soup, spaetzle, and sauerbrauten.

| September/October 1987

What's better than down-home cooking? Up-farm food! If any one culture is to be credited with inventing leftovers, it surely must be the Germans. 

Iowa's Down-Home Recipes

A million people visit Amana Colony each year; it's Iowa's number one tourist attraction. Despite the fact that the Amana make what is easily the world's most handsome and comfortable wood rocking chair; despite the fact that they make modern appliances of noble efficiency; and despite the fact that they have a fascinating history unique among all civilized people — the first thing that comes to mind for nine out of 10 visitors when you say "Amana" is food with down-home recipes.

And the first thing they say is "down-home recipes," followed by a sound best represented by five or 10 m 's. Now, down-home is usually reserved to describe southern cooking, where euphonious food names like hog jowls and bisquits 'n' gravy are fondly ladled into cuisine conversations like the names of good hunting dogs.

Amana cooking is sturdy fare that is strictly German in origin. German cooking was never intended to entertain gourmets; its main function is to keep the fires stoked. After an Amana meal, a day of soil tilling or lumber lathing or, lest we forget, preparing the next meal could be engaged with all due enthusiasm.

Amana food is for agrarian sorts, manna for the self-sufficient, an antidote for those who are tired of spending $30 for a plate of wimpy Paul Klee squiggles sold under the banner of nouvelle cuisine. 

Amana cooking goes one better than down-home. It's up-farm.

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