A Fun Night At The Library

Take a look at this potluck last night at the library!

Read on

Darcy Dougherty Maulsby from Sac City, IA, is the author of a new book called “A Culinary History of Iowa” which is filled with the history and stories of food made famous in Iowa. She came to Garner at the request of Friends of the Library to talk about her book and show a slide presentation. The person whose idea it was to have a potluck of family favorites must follow this advice we learned from Darcy. WE DON’T MEET IF WE DON’T EAT!

Here are some foods and facts we learned last night:

1. The breaded pork tenderloin has been perfected in Iowa. Indiana claims to have invented it.

2. Have you ever eaten a turkey and dressing sandwich?

3. Archie’s Wayside in LeMars was named one of the top 10 best damn steakhouses in America.

4. Blue Bunny ice cream is also made in LeMars, IA.

5. Maid-Rites were invented in 1926 in Muscatine.

6. Scandinavian foods such as Kringla, KrumKake and Lutefisk are popular as are Bohemian Czech pastries like Kolaches.

7. Jello is served at all church pot lucks.

8. Have you ever eaten Sterling potato chips?

9. And how could we ever forget the Kitchen Klatter ladies from Shennandoah, IA? As a kid I could hardly stand to hear them on the radio or look at their magazine but my mom treasured her “friendship” with these gals – not unlike my sentiments regarding the Goat Gazette or this blog! What goes around comes around!


Pincushion Challenge

Here is Connie’s pincushion for today.

Connie has a hint for all of you when making small pincushions. Instead of batting which proved hard to turn inside out, she ironed on Stacy Easy Knit to the back of the pieced front after it was quilted on flannel as well as to the back. This made turning the Pincushion so much easier.

And a little Hazel – look at that dirty little face!

I think I covered it all. It’s snowing today but not heavily nor a blizzard – yet. It could still happen, I guess.

52 thoughts on “A Fun Night At The Library

  1. Kathy in western NY

    How fun the library program looks and great advice about meeting and eating!
    Hazel looks like my pups look sometimes when they come in. Thanks so much for sharing your time with us and for Connie giving a pointer on the pincushions. You girls are the best!!!

  2. Jean Elliott

    Very interesting information. Thanks for sharing. Hope the weather clears up…or remains okay, I’m leaving Milwaukee for Garner tomorrow!

  3. Donna Sproston

    Burlington, Iowa, is the home of Sterzing’s potato chips. They have been a favorite for years. However they have changed the oil and they care not the same. I think Illinois also claims the tenderlon. It is definitely a Midwest thing. We love to watch the faces of tourists when the dinner plate size breaded loin arrives on a small bun. My dad ordered two, and we laughed about it for years. Thanks for the hint on the East Knit.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Donna Sproston – they used to fry in soybean oil but because of trans fats they were forced to change. To what, I don’t know.

  4. Diane Bauer

    Wondering what Connie uses to stuff her pincushions. The Loopy Ewe here in town recommends crushed walnut shells but I’m not sure where to get those so wondering what others are using. I have wanted to make a few, but want to be confident I can get the right supplies.

    I spent a couple of days in the mountains with the kids this week, which was really fun! We went to the Ice Castle in Dillon last night so I stayed over an extra night to come down in daylight. Woke up to 6” of fresh powder and icy and snowpacked roads. You’d think after growing up in MN and learning to drive in the snow, I’d be fine with driving in snow, but I’m not. FoCo has had a rain/snow mix coming down since 10 am, so I’m thinking fire in the fireplace and sewing are in the mix for the weekend!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Diane Bauer – Connie uses crushed walnut shells and someone commented the other day that Chewy.com sold them in the reptile dept. Someone else liked the poly beds and I still like play sand.

      1. Betty Kosterman

        My pins are very fine, especially the point. I think the walnut shells bent the points. Now I use fiberfill stuffed very hard. The cushions are thick enough and stuffed into a small basket. Then I put a hand picked rock for the bottom for weight. No problems with bent points.

      2. Launa

        My husband used crush walnut shells to clean his brass ammo shell casings when he was reloading bullets for pistol matches.
        Small world! I plan to ask if he has any left.
        We had a few snows this afternoon. Jax, the kids’ Yorkie, had a wild time out in it!
        That’s a terrific potluck.

    2. Carla J

      Diane, Cheapest place to purchase crushed walnut shells is a pet store that has reptile supplies. Ground and crushed shells are used for bedding.

      1. Judy

        Does anyone else NOT enjoy the reptile department at a “pet” store! And then when they are on both sides of the aisle. Call me nervous ninny, but just can’t go there! 😂🤣😂 I was so relieved to find the crushed walnut shells for sale in the bird department- Used in bottom of cages. Whew!
        Judy in WINDY Texas

        1. Kathy in snowy western NY

          Yep Judy I am with you and won’t walk down that aisle either.
          I was such a bad example going to the zoo and would tell my kids they had to walk into the reptile building by themselves!!

        2. Diane Bauer

          Judy, I am 100% with you!! I have never gotten over my fear of snakes, made worse after a dog got bit on the nose years ago. I avoid that whole side of the store in our local Petsmart!!

  5. Jo in Wyoming

    That Hazel makes me laugh. She found some great mud to have fun in!
    Loved the food facts about Iowa.

    Today we have wind and the hiway is closed across the entire state. Other parts have a lot of snow, we only have the wind for now.

  6. Nancy A Poole

    I remember potlucks in Iowa and Minnesota. Always homemade and good. In Southern California if there’s potluck seems people bring store bought from the deli. Mostly remember the church potlucks every Sunday afternoon. Iowa definitely has it’s own food culture.

  7. Lois Ann Johnson

    Another book that comes to mind is “A Cook’s Tour of Iowa” by Susan Puckett, written 1988. It features recipes and food that is popular throughout Iowa. I have used it in several programs I gave for church groups. It also has a chapter about the “Kitchen Klatter” ladies from Shenendoah, which brought back so many memories of growing up in Ottumwa and hearing them on the radio. The library potluck looked lovely and fun.

  8. Cheryl from Clear Lake

    I remember my mom always listened to the Kitchen Klatter ladies years ago. She also got the monthly publication they sent out in which I now have several of those. They even made a cookbook with great recipes that my mom used. They had the best apple crisp recipe that is not made with oatmeal. Love your quilts and of course your animal family pictures. Keep up the good work!

  9. Lisa in Washington state

    Yum, I love potlucks! However the best ones are always at the Lutheran churches, ours included! And yes, I always eat turkey and dressing sandwiches. My mother was born and raised in North Dakota to German Lutheran parents so maybe that’s why we grew up eating them in Washington state. I guess I didn’t realize they were a mid-west “thing”! My husband thinks I’m nuts, he eats his turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce. Yuck!

  10. Joyce C

    Do I spy a tater tot casserole!!! Yum! Growing up in southern Mn I see lots of familiar salads and delicious desserts!! I got the Pin Pals book and need to start some of these. I think a basket of these cute cushions would look real springy. We’ve gotten 6” of snow today in eastern SD and winding down now. Beef stew in the crockpot and am sewing up Hello Pouches by Knot and Thread Designs. They are lots of fun and useful gifts to give. So enjoy your posts. Give all the creatures a pat for me😊

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Joyce C – yes, tater tot casserole is delicious and there was a popcorn salad which was unusual and very good. I’m going to include a picture in a future post of those very sweet Valentines you sent – I just loved them and glad I get a chance to thank you. I know you picked these two because of the little dogs. The black and white one reminds me of Faye. Honestly your kind gesture was so appreciated!

      1. Joyce C

        Peggy… They are cute zipper bags using clear vinyl and fat quarters. Designed by Knit and Thread

  11. Mary hawk

    My East coast relatives decided after the lunch @ Dad’s funeral, that in Iowa a green salad is lime or pistachio jello or fluff. Stew said – I swear I saw a snickers in a salad. 😂

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Mary Hawk – I can just hear those East Coast folks – There’s always Snickers “salad” at church pot lucks. My mom who lived to be 92-1/2 hated all things green unless it was a green M&M or mint ice cream. This Apple didn’t fall far from the tree!!!!

  12. Joan

    I had to laugh at your memories of Kitchen Klatter because mine are the same! My mom always listened to the program on the radio and my sister and I were not fans!

  13. Connie Olson

    I’ll be down to your library for the next potluck! HA
    Food looks so pretty and wonderful!!

  14. S

    Yum! Looks so good.
    I love my turkey and stuffing sandwich more than the main meal. And, I always put my homemade cranberry sauce on it, too. Just so good!
    The quilt club I belong to has a wonderful Christmas potluck. Looks a lot like your photo.
    Hazel looks like she is saying…..”I wonder if she will notice?”
    Must get back to work on my circles.
    We are having very cold rain today. Brrr

  15. Janet Baer

    Mary, when I moved to West Virginia, I started going to the United Methodist church.
    Their motto is “If we met, we et”.
    Love your reading your blog.

  16. Sue in Oregon

    Oh, Darn! My whole comment went away. Now I will have to recreate it. I think this has happened before except I didn’t catch it. I have come back to check my comments and they aren’t there. It might happen when someone posts at the same time. Not sure. Computers are strange beasts.

    Basically, I wanted to say that I look forward to my turkey and stuffing sandwich more than the main meal. Plus, I always add my homemade cranberry sauce. Yum!

    Your potluck looks so good. Lots like the one my quilt club has at Christmas time.

  17. Jan from TN via IL

    Mary, I simply love your posts! The food looks delicious. Your guest at FOL meeting sounds interesting. I’m not a fan of the m but many other IL transplants here in TN miss the huge breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches that were available there. Love Connie’s pincushion & tip. I have the book. It’s so cute but I haven’t make any yet. Hazel’s antics are very entertaining! Lol!

  18. Beverly in Texas

    Looks like a fun time at the library!
    I miss the Goat Gazette with your monthly recipes. I have a few favorites that I use repeatedly. Thanks for sharing all those years!!

  19. Kate

    I’m a Southern Baptist and we love to eat, too. Our pitch-ins are always something to see. And a little town in my state of Indiana called Gnaw Bone use to have a restaurant with such good pork tenderloin sandwiches, they were featured on the Today Show years ago.

  20. Louverna Tomer

    Was the Kitchen Klatter gals a Midwest program only? I was born and raised in West Virginia and my Grandma always listened to Don McNeils’ Breakfast Club at 9am in the morning. I miss those days that was years and years ago.

  21. Diana Stanfill

    Ok, I must confess. I ordered the pin cushion book. I paired it with Bonnie Hunters new book. Both should arrive tomorrow. I really dont need any more projects. But what heck! You only live once!

  22. Susan

    I’m from Wisconsin and the pot luck looks just like ours! Tater tot casserole, green beans and loads of jello! Lately, people have been bringing more salads (boo!) in an attempt to be healthy.
    Love your blog and the farm stories. My dog Molly looks just like Hazel, too!

  23. Rhoda Ebersole

    Wish I had been at your library for the potluck. It all looked so good. People don’t do potlucks down here like up north. 🙁

    Thanks for sharing Mary.

  24. Carol

    My favorite filler for pincushions is play sand as well, it keeps my pin points sharp and it is the perfect weight to help stabilize the pincushion, and a bag of play sand at Menards is cheap!

  25. Jan Frank-de Ois

    Last fall, the Shenandoah (IA) Public Library also had Darcy present her program and book. Weren’t those radio homemakers important to the farm housewives out in the country? Friends “visiting”! We’re pretty proud of their legacy. I’ll be making some of those pin cushions too because my copy of the book just arrived. Thanks for the tips!

  26. Diane in WI

    The pot luck looks delicious. I help serve at the funerals at our church. It was so nice to see so much home made food at the last one. The tables were packed. It is snowing here; we’re to get 6-9 inches with another storm on Tuesday. I enjoyed the pictures of Hazel. She is adorable. Sturbridge Yankee Workshop, a catalog I get, has Jack Russell bookends for sale. I also have used crushed walnut shells in my pincushions.

  27. Clayton Rector of western Ohio

    How wonderful that you had clear weather for your library program and pot luck. We’re getting ice this morning then comes the snow. So many libraries in the area are closed. We are supposed to go to a Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet tonight. My daughter’s softball team is being inducted. Hope we can get there safely. In Ohio we have things like level 3 for snowstorms when no one is supposed to be on the roads. Wonder if we’ll get one today. Love the pictures of the pincushions, that’s a size of a project for me. Ha!

  28. Sue

    NO, Iowa does not get to claim the breaded tenderloin! It originated at Nick’s Kitchen in Huntington, Indiana, about 15 miles from Marion, where I live. Nick’s is still in business and still uses the original recipe! Our story and we’re sticking to it!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Sue – I will quote Darcy, the author of the book – and I believe I said this in my post “the breaded pork tenderloin originated in Indiana” and then she added “but Iowa perfected it”. I do not want to be accused of misrepresenting the author – she would be offended and she’d blame me.

      1. Sue in Marion, IN

        Thanks! You can get some pretty perfect ones around here. Nine miles south of me in Fairmount, Indiana, where James Dean was raised (he was born in Marion, my hometown) there’s a restaurant and craft brewery in an old farm implement company building called Grains and Grill. Best tenderloin ever!

  29. Gayla Kenyon

    My recollection of Kitchen Klatter is totally different. I was aware of the radio show and the magazine my mother took. When I left home after college and moved to another state I signed up for the magazine . It became like letters from home for me until they stopped publication. I really missed it. I still wonder what happened to all the members of the Driftmire family.

  30. Martha Engstler Gettysburg

    I was first introduced to turkey with cranberry sauce sandwiches in Story City, Iowa at a dear little lunch room, the Carousel , which is no longer there. They were wonderful and I now make them for myself because I’ve never seen them any where else. Nice memories.

  31. jean fletcher

    Jell-O is NOT served at our church potlucks. so that statement above is untrue. “Commonly served” might be a better wording. Since my church does not eat any pork products, and jello is an iffy subject in that area, it isn’t on our menu. Love the ideas for pincushions! Sorry for the little rant, but I could not let it slide.

  32. Janine

    What a fun post! It’s 8am and I want a Snickers Salad, whatever that is… although the older I get, the more I like vegetables and greens. What is happening to me?!? Love Connie’s pincushion. Carrie’s book is great and the challenge is so much fun. I have a lot of your pincushions that you sold when you were saving up for a piano – they are all in a bowl in my sewing room. I finished a quilt top from Carrie this weekend – Comfort Zone. All 5″ finished random blocks so it was great for using up scraps, like Bullseye! Stay warm!

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