August 20, 2020

Jed Portman

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Editor’s Letter: The Best of Midwesterner

Some of our most popular pieces, now available for everyone

Last Friday, August 14, marked 100 days of Midwesterner. That seems like as good a reason as any to pull together some essential reading. Many of you are new here, and we’ve covered a lot of ground since early May, publishing on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 8 a.m. and sending out these editors letters on Thursdays. To review, here are a half dozen of our most popular pieces so far. I’ve unlocked all six of these articles, previously available only to paying subscribers. I hope you’ll read or re-read them and then share them with some of your favorite Midwesterners.

“The Logo That Made DeKalb Famous,” by Josh Modell, May 11. Josh Modell, the former editor-in-chief of The Onion’s AV Club and editorial director for Onion, Inc. shared a story from his birthplace, DeKalb, Illinois, home of Cindy Crawford and “one of the greatest advertising logos ever conceived,” as popular on Etsy as in cornfields across the Midwest.

If you liked that story: Relish Josh’s tributes to two Milwaukee institutions: the Five O’Clock Steakhouse and Kopp’s Custard (paying subscribers only)

“The At-Home Hoosier Tenderloin,” by Julia Spalding, May 18. All three of our pieces from Julia Spalding, the longtime dining editor at Indianapolis Monthly, could be on this list, but you can’t miss her expert guide to Indiana’s BPT.

If you liked that story: Spend more time in Indiana with Julia’s pieces on MCL Cafeteria and the fiery shrimp cocktail at St. Elmo Steak House, a special-occasion spot in Indianapolis since 1902(paying subscribers only)

“Brats, Metts, and Me,” by Keith Pandolfi, June 17. Keith Pandolfi, a James Beard Award-winning writer and former editor at Saveur and Serious Eats, is one of food media’s most vocal cheerleaders for Cincinnati. But when he first moved to the Queen City, he wasn’t so sure about a favorite local sausage, which defines cookout season in southwestern Ohio.

If you liked that story: Keep up the Ohio nostalgia with Garin Pirnia’s piece about Skyway in Akron, which has been offering curbside service since the ’50s, or ride alongside a young Carlos Velasco as he helps his parents with their side job—selling California chiles across Nebraska(paying subscribers only)

“Summer in a Skillet,” by Elliott Papineau, June 29. Elliott Papineau and his family farm twenty acres in Bourbonnais, Illinois, and you’re going to want to eat like they do after reading about their seasonal Dutch babies.

If you liked that story: It isn’t too late to make Elliott’s Farm Spirit, a Middle American answer to the French herbal liqueur Chartreuse. Black raspberries are out of season, but you can use another hedgerow harvest, the wild blackberry, in this recipe from Michigander C. Jarrett Dieterle(paying subscribers only)

A 12-Year-Old Mushroom Mogul,” by Amber Gibson, July 10. Feeling limited by the confines of your house after months of official and unofficial shelter-in-place? Here’s the inspiring story of a kid in Columbus who’s running a successful farm out of his basement, told by Chicago-based writer Amber Gibson.

If you liked that story: Meet another Columbus entrepreneur in Amber’s piece about pitmaster and farmer James Anderson, or step into a family business that’s been finding ways to stay afloat since the Depression with Micheline Maynard’s writing about Nueske’s, which supplies fans across the U.S. from a single plant in Wittenberg, Wisconsin(paying subscribers only)

“Field Guide: Oyster Mushrooms,” by Iliana Regan, August 12. Michelin-starred chef and award-winning author Iliana Regan is one of my favorite guides to the heartland woods, and her latest contribution is a lesson on one of summer’s most abundant edible mushrooms, sent from her cabin in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

If you liked that story: Get inspired for next year with the other articles in Iliana’s field guide series—covering morel mushroomsvioletsgarlic mustard, and wild blueberries. Follow up with thoughts on wild juneberries from Anishinaabeg ethnobotanist and writer Tashia Hart. (paying subscribers only)


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