Serious Eats

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 107: The Iowa Diet

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Sticky bun from the Coffee Cup Cafe in Sully, Iowa. [Photographs: Ed Levine]

I went back to my alma mater, Grinnell College, this past week to participate in a panel on the future of journalism. Food-wise I associate Grinnell, Iowa, with four things: pie, cinnamon buns, pork tenderloin sandwiches, and the Danish Maid Bakery's glazed doughnuts. Needless to say, none of them is good for my diet or my knee.

But even though my knee was killing me the whole time I was there (below zero wind chill readings don't help an arthritic knee) I did manage to get in my fair share of the four main Iowa food groups.

And maybe I didn't gain weight by doing so. Let me explain.

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Pie from the Coffee Cup Cafe in Sully, Iowa.

It's the fear of having my knee replaced before its time. What does all this fear have to do with pie, sticky buns, and the rest of the Iowa food groups? Well, based on my Iowa trip, I may have figured out a way to have my knee or cake (or should I say pie) and eat it, too.

I had BITES of four sticky buns, three kinds of pie, a glazed doughnut and a cruller from the Danish Maid, two pork tenderloins, and a loose meat sandwich. But the key here is that I only had BITES. And a few of those bites, mainly from the terrific Coffee Cup Cafe in Sully (ten miles from Grinnell), were seriously delicious.

These bites comprised my entire food intake in Iowa. In other words, I didn't have pie and pork tenderloin and sticky buns on my way to other meals. One more thing might also have helped: What I ate in Iowa stayed in Iowa. I didn't bring any Iowa food souvenirs home.

Maybe I can actually live by the Everything in Serious Moderation mantra. And maybe these foods made up my version of an Iowa balanced diet. Balanced for me, at least.

The Weigh-In

Here we go: 222. Down a pound, after a trip down Iowa food memory lane. Not bad, not bad at all. Everything in serious moderation indeed.

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