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2 • november 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE


FEATU RES November 2012 Volume 7, Issue 11





Dining in Mankato Morning, noon and night.

Tummy love Linda Wilson helps her autistic son maintain a gluten-free diet.


What Paris has to offer Britta Moline’s summer in Paris yielded a handful of culinary discoveries ripe for stateside consumption.

Gustavo’s dream Las Fronteras takes root in Lower North Mankato.


Giving food, getting thanks ECHO Food Shelf ensures all can have Thanksgiving meal on the table.

On the cover: Lucy Knowles applies her delicate hand and firm focus to a batch of lefse.

Photo by John Cross

MANKATO MAGAZINE • november 2012 • 3








6 From the Editor Food feeds the neighborhood, the world 9 From the kitchen Taste of comfort 10 Familiar Faces Scott Squires of Bethany Lutheran College 12 Artist Insight Dana Sikkila 20 Garden Chat At least there wasn’t any purslane 26 That’s Life Driving me crazy 28 Get Out! Comfort is key 30 The Way It Is Let me down easy 32 Good Health 10 foods a kid should know how to make 34 Things to Do, Places to Go Events to check out in November 35 Happy Hour Rye logic

Coming up in the December issue of Mankato Magazine ... We’ll highlight some of Mankato’s gifts to the rest of the world. From books to music to environmentally conscious iPhone cases — southern Minnesota has plenty to offer this holiday season. Join us, and we’ll exchange our best gift ideas.

32 4 • november 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE


MANKATO magazine



James P. Santori Joe Spear Tanner Kent Nell Musolf Pete Steiner Jean Lunquist Grace Webb Marie Wood Britta R. Moline

John Cross Pat Christman Christina Sankey


David Habrat


Karla Marshall


Barb Wass


Sue Hammar Christina Sankey


Denise Zernechel

Mankato Magazine is published monthly at 418 South Second St., Mankato, MN., 56001. To subscribe, call 1-800-657-4662 or 507-625-4451. $19.95 for 12 issues. For editorial inquiries, call Tanner Kent at 344-6354, or e-mail For advertising, call 344-6336, or e-mail

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From The Editor

By Joe Spear

Food feeds the neighborhood, the world A few bites into this month’s Mankato magazine will likely make you hungry. Reading about food tends to have that effect. The essential nature of food is often overlooked. Without breakfast, the hunger pangs hit about 10 a.m. If you’re working late, the same thing happens as we delay dinner. Very little can get done without satisfying our need for food. We could get along without work, even without people, but not without food. Several stories in this month’s issue tend to reinforce that idea. Eating is more than a task to check off our daily list. To Linda Wilson, finding and cooking food for her autistic son is a real matter of daily living and a healthy lifestyle. While Wilson will cook the traditional Thanksgiving turkey with all the fixings, it is likely to be gluten free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soy-free and free of artificial sugars or sweeteners. She began to understand that certain diets can affect her son Daniel’s autism and he helps plan the meals that take extra effort. Says Linda: “Daniel’s done really well during this time in taking ownership of [his autism].” While food prep for the Wilsons is key to health and wellness, food recommendations in an essay by Britta Moline in this issue challenge Americans to exceed expectations by adopting some French cuisine she has come to know. She recommends Americans get with it and try some French fare such as Cafe Gourmand, a coffee with sample plate of mini desserts. Surprisingly, France and England have sort of outdone us when it comes to flavored potato chips. While we may think “dill” flavored chips are exotic, France and England offer meat- and chicken-flavor chips, cheeseburger chips and roast beef with Yorkshire pudding flavored chips. But food isn’t just for eating. There’s a relationship building element to consuming food. We don’t consume food in a vacuum. We go to restaurants where people serve us food and discuss it, at great lengths sometimes. There are plenty of places to build relationships and socialize with food in Mankato and North Mankato. Maria and Gustavo Hidalgo of Los Fronteras restaurant in lower North Mankato have recognized the social capital food can build. They see their

restaurant as a “neighborhood restaurant,” a concept sometimes promoted by big chains who then set up in strip malls. Says Maria: “Mainly our growth has come from the neighborhood and word of mouth...They recognize the authenticity. ... We keep our business local as much as we can ­ locally grown, local meat. We try to keep it in the community to help the community.” Gustavo learned to cook from his father who ran a small catering business in Mexico and their waiter Walter Rosfjord was adopted when he was 10 years old from Guatemala and raised in Eagle Lake. But by all accounts his tableside manner was more something he was born with than learned. John Lowery, the chef at Charley ’s restaurant in Mankato seems to have a similar passion for food as a relationshipbuilding exercise. “I have a passion for what I do,” he says. “That blessing comes from God. He’s given me the talent for cooking that I have.” He’ll sometimes leave the kitchen to talk to the diners to see if everyone likes what they’ve ordered. At times, he’ll even sing to them. Audience engagement comes in a slightly different form for Keith Kettner who has been the chef at Old Main Village for 14 years. Every so often, dinner includes a recipe given to Kettner by a resident. So take a few minutes to read about food and the people who make it great in area restaurants. Check out the recipes for Ribs with Apricot sauce or Warm Chevre Salad. Then go get something to eat. M Joe Spear is editor of Mankato Magazine. Contact him at 344-6382 or

November Almanac

This day in history

Brochures Annual Reports Catalogs Magazines Posters Hard and Soft Cover Books Direct Mail and More!

Nov. 3, 1916: On this day, The Free Press reported that young Halloween pranksters had an eventful holiday. A group of youths armed with large cakes of soap scrubbed all the storefront windows on Front Street “in observance of the time-honored Halloween custom.” One boy pressed too hard and broke through the glass at Guth Harness Shop while another boy ran away with a delivery wagon. Several boys wired shut the door of the YMCA building, imprisoning another youngster who was inside the building reading at the time. Nov. 6, 1908: Counterfeit dimes spread across southern Minnesota, hoodwinking everyone from street car conductors to store owners. The Free Press advised proprietors to check the dimes by attempting to break them with their fingers. The counterfeits would snap easily. Nov. 6, 1947: Famed violinst Albert Spaulding played a concert at Mankato Teachers College. He divulged to The Free Press that he insured his rare Guarnerius violin for $50,000. One week later, another famous violinist, Benno Rabinoff, played a concert at the Grand Theater in Mankato. Nov. 12, 1956: North Mankato’s Civic and Commerce Association deposited $50 into the St. Peter Community Chest following an Election Day wager over which city would get more citizens to the polls. St. Peter edged North Mankato by a ballot tally of 2,598 to 2,522. Nov. 13, 1908: Blue Earth County and neighboring towns agreed to hold a wolf hunt on Thanksgiving Day “on account of the number of wolves which have congregated in the timber ravines and hills between Mankato and New Ulm.” It was designed that one regiment would begin marching toward Mankato from New Ulm, while another would set out from Mankato. Up to $10 was paid for each carcass and the Chicago & Northwestern railroad agreed to carry the trophies to Judson.

DIY SHOWCASE: Home wine-tastings

Corporate Graphics Your Printing Solutions Company

1750 Northway Drive North Mankato, MN 56003 800-729-7575 

By The Washington Post Holding your own wine tasting at home or in a restaurant can be one of the most convivial of pleasures. Once you’ve chosen your jolly group (please skip the black-tie request!), there are certain guidelines that make such tastings a great deal of fun. • Never serve more than six wines. Fewer is hardly worth the effort and more becomes a bore. • If hosting a blind tasting, cover the bottles with a paper bag to hide the labels, making sure the shape of the bottle is not evident. If it’s not a blind tasting, rather than have a random selection of wines, choose one region, say Tuscany, or a single estate,

like Jordan cabernet. • Use standard wineglasses for all the wines and pour only about an ounce or so to begin with. Later, your guests can enjoy whatever they like most. • Have plain water available to help cleanse the palate between wines. Crackers or bread are also traditionally provided, chosen because their blandness does not interfere with the wine flavors.




By Tanner Kent Photos

by John


Taste of comfort: Making lefse in Mankato


he unmistakable aroma of comfort food reached all the way to the front doors of Bethlehem Lutheran Church. Downstairs, a group of a dozen women and a handful of men were continuing the Mankato church’s long-standing tradition of lefse making. For 92 years, Bethlehem members have been making the traditional Norwegian food for its annual Nordic Bazaar (held this year on Nov. 7). And though the recipe, equipment and faces have changed over the years, the bonds that members forge over shared appreciation of conversation, custom and camaraderie have not. “It’s the togetherness we feel when we do this,” said Betty Sanger, who is among a committed crop of veteran lefse makers who turn out every Tuesday morning in October to make the popular foodstuff that typically sells out in under an hour during the bazaar. Diana Olson added: “The reason we do this is because of the other people here. It’s a social thing.” But making lefse is not for the culinary squeamish. Tasty results demand precise preparation. Ingredients must be measured carefully. The dough must be mixed meticulously to ensure the proper consistency. And each lefse round requires a delicate hand to cook and flip the thin, crepe-like final product. Many of the participants had never made lefse before they began participating in Bethlehem’s annual event. A few, however, learned the old-fashioned methods from their mothers and grandmothers.

Kathy Croswell said she was just a young girl when her mother began letting her help — though, she admits she wasn’t allowed to roll the dough until she was married. Back then, she said, her mother made lefse with lard and flour, the original ingredients before most recipes began substituting potatoes. Lucy Knowles also learned from her mother. Back then, she said, her mom used an old cook stove to make lefse. Later, she graduated to an electric grill — which Knowles proudly keeps as an heirloom. Knowles remembers her mom selling lefse for 75 cents per pound. Today, Bethlehem sells its lefse for $3 for four rounds. “It’s a skill that just takes practice,” said Knowles, her hand deftly flipping another lefse round on her grill. “My mother was a natural.” M

Bethlehem’s Nordic Bazaar on Nov. 7 Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Mankato will hold its 92nd annual Nordic Bazaar on Nov. 7. The bazaar lasts from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with a selection of foods, arts and crafts for sale. In addition to Nordic staples like lefse and other baked goods, there are also booths that sell jewelry, floral arrangements, Christmas crafts, books and handiwork. The bazaar also includes an afternoon luncheon featuring chicken Kiev. Admission to the bazaar is free, but the cost of the luncheon is $7. Tickets are available at the door or by visiting Bethlehem’s office at 720 S. Second St. All proceeds benefit missions both locally and abroad. For more information, call Bethlehem Lutheran at 507-388-2925.

Bethlehem Lutheran’s Lefse Recipe Ingredients 9 cups potato flakes (or, weigh 1 pound) 3 cups powdered milk 3 tbsp. sugar 5 tsp. salt Steps Place ingredients in a large bowl. Heat 9 cups of water just to the boiling point with 3 sticks of margarine in the water. Remove from heat and pour over ingredients in the bowl. Mix well with a spoon or large, rubber spatula. Place in a covered bowl and chill overnight. To 4 cups of dough, add 1 cup of flour by blending with a pastry blender. If needed, add up to 1/2 cup more flour. Form into a log shape approximately 16-inches long and cut into 1-inch pieces. Set a lefse grill at 450 degrees (adjust as needed). Flour the pastry board and rolling pin. Cover the rolling pin in a stockinet covering and then roll dough into round circles up to 12 inches in diameter. Bake until delicate brown spots appear, then flip and bake the other side. Place lefse rounds by between moistened towels to steam.

MANKATO MAGAZINE • november 2012 • 9

Familiar Faces



Tanner Kent Photos


Pat Christman

Scott Squires is a man of many experiences. He is now the food service director at Bethany Lutheran College and is pictured with his wife, Margarita, and two sons.

For love of family and food


Scott Squires arrives in Mankato with his wife at his side, and food on his mind

isten to scott Squires long enough, and you’ll get a little dizzy. He speaks quickly, his accent marked both by the lilting bravado of New Jersey where he was born, and a hint of the Spanish he absorbed while working in the mountains of Mexico. And his life experiences read like something out of an adventure novel, from his years cooking on submarines and fishing vessels to

10 • november 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

his monthly sojourns to Veracruz to visit his wife and children who were deported after 9/11. Squires and his family settled in Mankato this year when he became the food service director at Bethany Lutheran College. Allured by the beauty of the campus and the kindness of the community, Squires said he’s eager to bring his unique blend of culinary experiences to southern Minnesota.

two boys, Francis and Christopher, with one due any time now. My wife, Margarita, and I have been married almost 10 years on Nov. 16. MM: What can you tell me about your family’s long journey from New York City, to Mexico and back? SS: After 9/11, our application to get married was approved by immigration officials. But Homeland Security took two years to open our paperwork and she overstayed. She was facing 10 years before she would be able to reapply. During the time we spent trying have it fixed, she was deported and we then had to send her and my two sons back to Mexico. At the time, I had worked as a director at two colleges in a span of seven years — Nebraska Christian College and Oakland City University. I was blessed then to receive Scott Squires said he knew right away that Bethany and Mankato were the right place for a job from Wendy’s to train managers. I did his family. this for almost two years and was able to drive down to Mexico after each manager I Mankato Magazine: You’ve had some incredible life experiences. trained. After six trips back and forth, I knew it was time that I But let’s start at the beginning: Where were you born, and when just moved to Veracuz, Mexico, where my family was living. did food begin to influence your life? We lived in the mountains. The wages were not livable, so I Scott Squires: Well, I was born in Bayonne, N.J., on Nov. 16, bartered. I spent time picking coffee, and planting corn and beans. 1964. I was often paid with plants and time. When I worked for I have always been in food service. My mom ran a banquet hall. someone, they might give me in return their workers to help plant All the kids I grew up with worked in restaurants. I always loved my coffee trees. One time I worked for man who offered his sons the “back of the house” as we called it in those days. to work for me. We cleared some land and started a young adults In high school, I took cooking for four years. One of my first learning center. cooking jobs was in a seafood market that served food as well as fresh seafood. I always knew in my heart that food would be a MM: How did you and your family make it back to the United passion of mine. States? SS: We were granted a waiver to return to the United States on MM: Can you tell me about your time as a cook on submarines Nov. 28, 2011. We moved to New Jersey and I began working with and commercial fishing boats? How does that influence the food Pioneer College Caterers. The company is in 21 states and works you make? with more than 50 Christian colleges and universities, including SS: I joined the Navy and went in as a cook. I spent most of my Bethany Lutheran College. time as a baker and cooking for the crew of the USS Hyman G. When I flew out to see the college, I was so happy with the view Rickover. I spent 8 years in the Navy — 7 1/2 on sea duty. and the great presence of the school as well as the people of I worked on submarines and commercial fishing vessels for Mankato. I met with the president of the college and some of the more than 16 years of my life. On fishing boats, I ran the galley as faculty. I believed this would be the most enjoyable place to raise I did on the sub, making do with what we had. I learned most my sons and share the community with my wife. people view food in many ways, using all their senses. When you are out to sea, you must learn to meet the needs of everyone. On MM: What are your plans for food service at Bethany? What can the subs, meals were served every six hours and three of those students expect to see on their menu of food options? meals needed soup. This was a challenge and great fun for me. SS: I’m hoping to bring a bit of Jersey to the campus. I’m hoping When the weather on the East Coast was too bad to work, I to have themed dinners and specialty dinners. I want to share spent time working at Greek diners to pass time while learning some of the food that I have loved to eat and have presented how to make sauces and rich dishes. throughout my years as a food service manager and cook. I enjoy many Italian dishes and desserts. This winter, I will be MM: When you did you meet your wife? warming up the students with soups and chowders. SS: After 9/11, I left California to participate in the cleanup in New York City. The company that hired me cleaned the harbor and MM: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? there happened to be a bad oil spill in New York Harbor at the SS: I’m blessed with a great assistant and kitchen crew. I looking time. I started working on the boats and I spent almost nine forward to learning more and different dishes to cook and taste. months working out of Staten Island. I was blessed to be with I believe that there are so many things we can do each day to friends and family. make this land and country a better place. I believe one joy that we In this time I met my wife on a bus on a very cold day. I gave can give people is to share the food that we make. M her my gloves and a seat on the bus. I told her if she ever needed anything, just call. Later that year, we got married and now have MANKATO MAGAZINE • november 2012 • 11

Artist Insight

By Nell Musolf

Photo by Pat Christman

Mankato artist Dana Sikkila and her Boston terrier, Murphy, hold court at the 410 Project art gallery.

e m d n a y h p r u M , r e Ging Mankato’s eclectic art trio


rop in at the independent art gallery The 410 Project and you might meet an attractive, dark-haired artist named Dana Sikkila who is also the director of the gallery. Or, you might run into Sikkila’s alter ego, red-headed Ginger Greenfield, a late 1960s, early 1970s hausfrau who does performance art at the gallery, complete with a bowl of cake batter and a disconnected expression on her face. Sikkila invented Ginger Greenfield because she is fascinated with females of that era. “It’s weird because I’m the least domestic female I know, but I love to see images of women in the 1960s and 1970s,” Sikkila said. The 26-year old artist first created Ginger Greenfield to entertain people in the gallery when they stopped in to check out a show. Each time she donned one of Ginger’s prim dresses and popped on the black rim glasses that Ginger wears, the character grew a little bit more. “I came up with a whole backstory for Ginger,” Sikkila said. “Now when I walk into a room dressed as Ginger, people don’t call me Dana anymore. I’ve become Ginger.” Indeed, she has. At a recent opening, Sikkila-as-Ginger stood for 2 1/2 hours while art lovers stood watching her to see what 12 • november 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

she was going to do next. The experience left her a lot sorer than she had imagined and also made her wonder how much her body can take in one sitting. “I didn’t think it would hurt that much to stand for so long,”she said. Sikkila hails from Litchfield and first came to Mankato as an undergraduate in fine arts at Minnesota State University. She stayed on for graduate work and received an MFA in 2012. Although her education is complete for the present, she has no plans to leave the area. “Some people I went to school with couldn’t wait to graduate so they could move on. I never felt that way. Mankato has been very good to me and it has a huge art scene. It’s really big right now and I like being part of it,” she said. In addition to her performance art as Ginger Greenfield, Sikkila also does installation pieces that are built to fit a specific space. One of her recent installations featured thousands of paper flowers that Sikkila printed and then painstakingly cut out and numbered. “I get pretty obsessive when it comes to my art,” Sikkila said. Sikkila first got involved with The 410 Project three years ago and worked as assistant director under Makeba Ische. When

Photo by Pat Christman

Dana Sikkila often uses recurring images to create large-scale installations. She’s created pieces using images of her dog as well as butterflies, flowers and cats.

Photo by Pat Christman

Dana Sikkila is the director of the 410 Project in Mankato. She is pictured making a print of her dog, Murphy Ische stepped down, Sikkila took over. The not-for-profit art gallery keeps her busy contacting artists, helping with hanging shows and working on her own pieces. Mentoring newer artists is a big part of Sikkila’s job. “Some of the artists we have are new to having a show and haven’t hung their own art before. We help them do that and we also help with advertising,” Sikkila said. Shows at The 410 Project generally run two to three weeks. Artists pay $100 to use the space but any money earned from art work that they sell is theirs to keep, commission-free. Sikkila works at being a conduit between the artists at the gallery and the rest of the community. She wants to be a resource to other artists in Mankato. Many of the artists who show at The 410 Project are MSU students who are often from different regions and who don’t have the community connections that Sikkila has. She also has plans to offer art classes again at the gallery. “My degree is in printmaking so we’re going to offer beginning printmaking classes in the next few months,” Sikkila said. “We don’t have a lot of equipment but we’ll be able to teach the basics.” In addition to her alter ego Ginger Greenfield, Sikkila has another almost constant companion — her Boston terrier, Murphy. Murphy has been with Sikkila for years and is almost always at her side. Murphy has also been featured in Sikkila’s art work. “He’s always with me at the studio,” Sikkila said. “He’s well-behaved and very good in social situations.” Sikkila has big plans for The 410 Project and said the studio is currently making strides toward updating its look. The gallery rents its space from Brian Stark of B. Stark Printing who printed and donated a new logo to the studio. Other updates are in the works as well. In addition to running an art gallery, Sikkila puts in a 40-hour

work week at Cosco Industries where she’s a digital press operator. “I’ve learned how to use very technical equipment on my day job,” she said. “It’s stuff I never knew about before. I think it will come in handy with my art, too.” Sikkila said she doesn’t mind Submitted photo the long hours of working full-time and running an art gallery. “I love being busy, busy, busy.” The 410 Project is open 2-6 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. M

Submitted photo MANKATO MAGAZINE • november 2012 • 13

Photo by Pat Christman

Jim and Jan Downs (left) operate NaKato Bar & Grill in North Mankato with the help of sons Joel and Jake.

Dining in Mankato:

Morning, noon and night


By Nell Musolf

t really doesn’t matter what time of the day it is if you’re hungry in Mankato. Breakfast, lunch or dinner are all covered with options ranging from sandwiches at fast food chains to elegant, sit-down meals served in stately historical buildings. When it comes to dining out, Mankato has it all. In North Mankato, the newly refurbished NaKato restaurant has a breakfast menu that will satisfy the heartiest of appetites. Owner Jim Downs said that the extensive breakfast menu has something on it that should appeal to everyone. “A lot of people don’t know that we serve breakfast,” Downs 14 • november 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

said, “but we do and it’s great. I’d put the breakfast at the NaKato up against anyone else’s in town.” Jesse Reisdorf, a cook at the NaKato, said he thinks the Belgrade Breakfast is the most popular with customers. It consists of two eggs, two choices of meat, hash browns and toast or an English muffin. Another customer favorite is NaKato’s omelets. Guests can either build their own, or try a Bobby Joe’s (diced ham, American cheese, hash browns, onions and green peppers topped with a strip of bacon and a sausage link) or a Maverick (bacon, ham, sausage and American cheese).

“Our omelets are huge,” added co-worker Seth Wells. “People love them. We get a lot of customers on the weekends from people who come in just for our omelets.” The NaKato serves breakfast Wednesday through Friday from 7 to 11 a.m., Saturday from 7 to noon and Sundays from 8 to noon. “Customers can also eat breakfast on the patio,” Downs said. “It’s a nice place to eat as long as the weather stays good.” If you’re looking for a place to have lunch, a Mankato standby is Charley’s Restaurant on Madison Avenue. Chef John Lowery has been creating meals at Charley’s for a little over a year after moving to Mankato from Orlando, Fla. Lowery has an extensive background as a chef having worked at the Buena Vista Club at Disney World when it first opened as well as the Marriott hotel chain. Lowery learned how to cook as a child. “My mother was a nanny who cooked meals for the families she worked for. I used to watch her in the kitchen so I grew up knowing how to cook,” Lowery recalled. Lowery began his cooking career in fast food restaurants in the 1970s where he was responsible for opening up stores and training new cooks. As the years passed, his culinary skills grew sharper. “I have a passion for what I do,” Lowery said. “That blessing comes from God. He’s given me the talent for cooking that I have.” The innovative chef is responsible for the daily luncheon buffet at Charley’s as well as for some unique items that he’s added to the menu. Items such as octopus, escargot and a flaming Greek cheese called saganaki have been introduced to Mankato gourmands thanks to Lowery. He’s also put alligator ribs on the menu. According to Lowery, they taste similar to beef ribs. “We get the alligator ribs from Florida,” he said. “They’re very popular with the customers.” In addition, Lowery has brought his own Cajun style of cooking with him that includes a lot of fresh fish such as grouper. “I love to be creative and to see the smile on the faces of the customers,” Lowery said. He also likes to leave the kitchen for a few moments while he’s working to make sure everyone is enjoying what they’ve ordered. Some nights he’ll leave the kitchen to sing to the diners: “I like to greet the customers and say hello.” For Lowery, recipes are something that are basic instructions on how to prepare a meal, but it’s up to the chef to be the creative visionary who tweaks a recipe to perfection. For Charley’s lunch buffet, Lowery begins prepping the food at 8 a.m. The staff sets up a different buffet for every day. Lowery also caters events for Charley’s and helps customers with special events such as Valentine’s Day featuring goodies such as lobster flown in from Maine. Charley’s and Lowery are also in the process of putting together the option of a “chef’s table” for interested customers. A chef’s table will consist of a meal for four made up of three or four courses. After working at Charley’s, Lowery goes home and takes care of the culinary duties there, too. “My wife, Kathy, chooses to let me cook,” Lowery said with a smile.

Photo by John Cross

Chef John Lowery has been creating meals at Charley’s for a little over a year after moving to Mankato from Orlando, Fla.

Barbecued shrimp From: Charley’s Restaurant and Lounge Seasoning Mix includes: 1 tsp. ground red pepper 1 tsp black pepper 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves 1/2 tsp. crushed dried rosemary leaves 1/4 lb. unsalted butter 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic 1 tsp. worcestershire sauce 1 tsp lemon juice 2 dozen large shrimp w/shells Combine 1 stick of butter, the garlic, worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and seasoning mix in a large skillet over high heat. When butter is melted, add the shrimp. Cook for 2 minutes, shaking the pan in a back and forth motion. Add the remaining butter and shake pan for 2 more minutes, until shrimp are pink in color. Remove from heat. Serve immediately with cooked rice. Makes 2 servings. MANKATO MAGAZINE • november 2012 • 15

Photo by John Cross

Keith Kettner agrees that the dining room at Old Main Village is “the most elegant dining room in Mankato.” Dinner time at the Old Main Village is an elegant affair. Served in the high-ceilinged dining room with arched windows that overlook a few of the hills of Mankato, residents dine on such things as cauliflower cheese soup, chicken stroganoff and ham steak with raisin sauce. Keith Kettner has been head chef at the Old Main Village for 14 years. “I’ve heard people call the Old Main Village dining room the most elegant dining room in Mankato,” Kettner said. “I’d have to agree with that.” The dining room averages 60 diners every night and is open to the public on Sundays for the noon meal. The Old Main Village is a popular sight for wedding receptions too, winning the Best of Weddings award in 2010 from As head chef, Kettner has created a menu that is on a six-week rotation schedule. Once a month, the menu includes Resident Recipe night — the night when one of the menu items is made from a recipe given to Kettner by a resident.

Ribs with apricot sauce From: Old Main Village

5 - 6 lbs. pork spareribs 1/4 cup soy sauce 3/4 cup apricot preserves (or plum jam) 1/4 cup honey 1 tsp. minced garlic Place ribs in a shallow roasting pan, cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until ribs are tender. Combine all remaining ingredients and brush over ribs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, brushing occasionally with sauce. Makes about 6 servings. 16 • november 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Like Lowery, Kettner learned how to cook at home. “My mother was a cook and I helped her out and discovered that I enjoyed it,” Kettner said. Kettner and his wife owned a few restaurants in Nicollet and he also worked as a chef for Gustavus Adolphus College. Working at the Old Main Village is a dream job. “I was at my interview and looked around at the beautiful dining room and thought how great it would be to work here,”Kettner said. Kettner enjoys both the relatively quiet evening meals for the Old Main Village residents as well as the larger and splashier weddings. Wedding receptions can include up to 250 guests. Even thoughh they require more work, Kettner said they are also a lot of fun. “After owning my own restaurants and working easily 80 hours a week, this is great. I just love it here. As far as food service goes, this is pretty low key,” Kettner observed. M

Photo by John Cross

Kettner cooks for an average of 60 diners each night.

Chicken breast a la créme From: Old Main Village

50 5 oz. chicken breasts (boneless) Olive oil Seasoned flour (salt, garlic powder, black pepper) 1.5 liter Chardonnay 2 quarts heavy cream 1/2 cut roasted red bell pepper (pureed) 2 tsp. ground white pepper 1/2 Tbs. salt 1/2 cup butter and flour roux 1 cup freshly chopped parsley Dredge chicken in flower and brown both sides on hot griddle until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Reduce wine in sauce pan by half. Slowly add cream while stirring. Reduce to 7 ½ cups. Whisk in pureed red pepper and season to taste with salt and pepper. If necessary, thicken with roux. Sauce should be medium thin consistency. Spoon approximately 1 ounce sauce over each chicken breast when serving. Garnish with parsley.

Las Fronteras owners Maria and Gustavo Hidalgo (far left) are cooking and serving up authentic Mexican food in lower North Mankato. They started the restaurant earlier this year to fulfill Gustavo’s dream of operating his own establishment.

Gustavo’s dream Las Fronteras takes root in lower North Mankato

By Marie Wood | Photos by Pat Christman


hen Maria Hidalgo, owner of Las Fronteras, is working, she visits every table and greets her regulars by name or calls them “Hon.” Her husband, Gustavo Hidalgo, cooks up traditional Mexican fare and sometimes comes out from the kitchen to talk to customers after their meals. “We’re there to serve you guys,” said Maria. “They (servers) are what people see, but the kitchen pushes a restaurant through.” People in the Mankato area are talking up the good food and

18 • november 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

service at Las Fronteras, a Mexican grill and cantina, tucked into lower North Mankato on Belgrade Avenue. With a crew that’s like a little family, the restaurant is a neighborhood place with genuine Mexican cuisine and culture. “I enjoy coming to this restaurant, because it’s delicious, authentic food. It’s a fun, friendly atmosphere,” said Mitzi Hodapp of North Mankato. “I’d like to see a restaurant make it in our area.”

Walter Rosfjord came to Mankato when he was adopted from Guatamala at 10 years old.

Sorry ladies, he has a girlfriend. Still, Walter is ever-professional and personable. When Walter’s smile deepens his dimples and lights up his face, customers respond likewise. “My regulars, that’s why I’m here. They make it fun for me too. When they’re smiling and I’m smiling, it makes my day even better,” said Walter. Walter began life in San Lucas, Guatemala. When he was 10 years old, he was adopted from an orphanage by Craig Rosfjord of Eagle Lake. Craig visited San Lucas on a mission trip, and adopted two other boys from the orphanage. Walter is the middle brother of the family. Craig, manager of pediatric and adult medical, surgical and intensive care units at Owatonna Hospital, is the former director of clinical operations at Mankato Clinic. Walter grew up in Mankato and has many friends here. Many of his father’s colleagues remember Walter’s adoption. “I don’t take anything for granted. I tell people to appreciate everything you have,” said Walter. Some of Gustavo’s dishes, like menudo soup, remind Walter of Guatemala. Walter also enjoys Pollo Maya, a chicken and shrimp dish served with a native salad of jalapenos and cactus. He also likes the Tostada de Seviche which is deep fried corn tortillas with cooked shrimp, lemon and tomatoes. Fried corn tortillas are a staple of the San Lucas and Maya cuisine. “It’s purely authentic. Everything’s made fresh every day. He just knows it all in his head and does the same procedure every time. He never changes a thing,” said Walter.

San Lucas to Mankato, and smiling all the way


t 25-years-old, Walter Rosfjord is a popular full-time waiter at Las Fronteras. Walter, who has been on the local restaurant scene since he was 16, greets many customers by name. He knows the menu and only uses a notepad when he is serving a large group. And he’s happy to be there. “The atmosphere, the people, our customers, they’re very polite. It’s more like a family restaurant,” said Walter. Whether it’s a large family gathering, young or retired couples, or a group of friends having margaritas on the patio, Walter can make your visit more fun and memorable. He is a natural charmer. When Walter works the patio, women honk and wave at him as they drive by. The Hidalgos are resurrecting the restaurant that was once Bonito Guadalajara and Borders. In January 2012, they signed a lease with a two-year purchase plan. It was a good business opportunity with low start-up costs, explained Maria. “It was time to step out on our own and realize Gustavo’s dream of owning his own place, creating his own menu and running his own kitchen,” said Maria, general manager. Gustavo has been a cook in local Mexican restaurants for eight years. He first learned to cook with his dad who owned a small catering business in Mexico. “He developed his own flair and recipes that he’s learned to create. His secret is the marinade to the meats — how tender they are, how well they cook,” said Maria. One of Maria’s favorite dishes is the Al Pastor Special, which is chopped pork marinated in a pineapple sauce and served with beans, rice and tortillas. Gustavo has created a large menu of enchiladas, fajitas, chimichangas, tacos and burritos, while offering specialties from across Mexico. The California Burrito is so big that guys who eat the whole burrito get their photo on the restaurant’s wall of fame and Facebook page. A lunch-size California Burrito filled with chicken, steak, rice, beans, picco de gallo, and topped with a white cheese sauce is available.

Customers often tell Maria that the food reminds them of their travels to Mexico and the Southwest. “Mainly our growth has come from the neighborhood and word of mouth,” said Maria. “They recognize the authenticity.” All the marinades, sauces, and meals are made in-house, as are the tamales which customers order by the dozen to bring home. Maria and Gustavo are part of a growing trend of farm-to-table restaurants. “We keep our business local as much as we can — locally grown, local meat. We try to keep it in the community to help the community,” said Maria. The Hidalgos have toned down the building’s exterior colors, but still have a festive patio. Inside, there are new booths, Mexican pottery, murals painted by a New Ulm artist, and framed art work from Guadalajara, Mexico. Every other Saturday, Las Fronteras hosts Latino Night in the party room. DJs play Latin dance music, regional music from Mexico, and country music too. It’s not for Latinos only. All are welcome. “Latino Nights have been a fun event for everybody to join us. People dining have stayed and had a blast,” said Maria. M MANKATO MAGAZINE • november 2012 • 19

Garden Chat

By Jean Lundquist

At least there wasn’t any purslane Another year of gardening ends with my least favorite chore


n a recent weekend morning, I was feeling pretty full of myself. It was before 10 a.m. I had unloaded the dishwasher and the sink strainer. The laundry was clean, dry and put away. The kitchen floor swept, the living room floor vacuumed, and the furniture dusted. I had some clutter I wanted to clear up as part of my fall resolutions, but I felt pretty full of sunshine. Then I looked out the window, and my spirits fell like a load of bricks. I still had that most unhappy chore of all ahead of me. It’s almost worse than taking down the Christmas decorations, when you realize the festivities are behind you, but most of the winter is ahead of you. I’m talking about clearing out the garden. I dread this chore. I hate it. I detest and abhor it. Frost has long since turned most everything in the garden to a crispy, dead brown, and I think that’s what I find so depressing. Yet, there’s no sense ripping plants out when they’re green and producing, I suppose. I’ve tried putting it off long enough to see if Larry will do it for me, And while that has happened on occasion, I’ve found it’s really not worth it. After weeks of Larry riding me to do it, he does it, but in something of a crabby way, if you know what I mean. This year I found the journey from a garden of mostly crispy brown, dry plant material to a clear, dark surface to be bitter, but also sweet I always plant heirloom or open pollinated tomatoes, so I save seed from 20 • november 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

them. This year, I also had planted an eggplant I could save seeds from, as well as a green bean. I haven’t done that since I was a kid, before hybrids were so common. As I was ripping and tearing plants from the soil, I reflected on how gardening and farming have changed in this respect. My parents used to take us kids for rides in the car on Sunday afternoons, to see what was new in the neighborhood. The neighborhood included the areas where both of my parents grew up, as well as where we lived in town, and where all our friends lived. We’d marvel at the corn fields where every plant was the same height, and surmise that farmer Hankensiefken had planted a hybrid that year, and what a beautiful sight it was. The next year, though, we wondered what had happened to his corn. It was more uneven than ever, and many stalks had no ears. We were all learning that many hybrids don’t grow true, meaning that you can’t save the seeds from hybrids and expect to get what you’ve grown before. I know, it seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it? Hybrids are consistent in yield, taste and texture. They are disease resistant. In some crops, taste is given up, which is why I grow non-hybrid tomatoes. But anyone wanting to ship hybrid tomatoes any distance would find they are not up to the journey because of thin skins. So, I know that in many ways, hybrids are a good invention. Another thing I thought about as I was pulling out my garden was what a bane those open pollinated plants will be to me when I try to grow a nice, clean garden again next summer. I knew when I planted it last spring

that planting borage in the garden was a bad thing, but I did it anyway. Borage is a lovely green plant with beautiful periwinkle blue flowers. And the best part is that it tastes like cucumbers, but never makes me burp! The leaves are a little fuzzy, but in a salad or a sandwich, I barely notice. So I planted about three feet of the seeds I bought. I’ll never be rid of it. I harvested about a dozen seeds this fall, and in the spring I will plant them. In a pot. Far away from my garden. And I will battle borage in the garden for years to come. But I can beat borage — it’s not like purslane. As a final note — I had one other thought while clearing out my garden this fall. I was reading about the problems

farmers and gardeners had with the drought last summer keeping their subscribers to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) plots supplied. One gardener resorted to providing his subscribers with purslane. The article didn’t say what his subscribers did with it. He advised them to put it in salads, I guess. I’d have put in a non-leak bag and sent it back with him. That stuff will grow anywhere. But in my arid garden, if there is one good thing about pulling everything out this year, there was very little purslane.


Jean Lundquist is a master gardener who lives near Good Thunder.



By John Cross

With crops now in the bin, plowing is the final chapter to be written in the annual story that is the growing season. Once upon a time, with the smaller tractors of the day pulling twobottom plows cleaving a path less than a yard wide, the duty promised long monotonous hours on noisy machinery that offered little in the way of comfortability. Even with today’s powerful tractors pulling multi-bottomed plows that cut wide swaths, final fall tillage hardly qualifies as exciting duty. But at least nowadays, when farmers lower the moldboards and put a hand to the throttles of their rumbling machines, those long hours are spent in a cozy cab equipped with such creature comforts as heaters and a radio. And sometimes, even man’s best friend.

22 • november 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

MANKATO MAGAZINE • november 2012 • 23

Submitted photo

Linda Wilson and her son, Daniel, make gluten-free banana muffins.

Tummy L ve Linda Wilson switched to gluten-free foods to aid her autistic son By Grace Webb


f you visited Linda Wilson’s house this Thanksgiving, you would see the typical American spread: glistening turkey, steaming green beans, mouth-watering pumpkin pie. It would all look, smell and taste amazing. But there is a key difference when you compare Wilson’s cooking to other Thanksgiving feasts: Her food is gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soy-free and free of artificial sugars or sweeteners. Cooking up something new Wilson started cooking this way about two years ago when her 24 • november 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

doctor suggested the diet to help her son, Daniel, with his autism. Daniel, 28, was diagnosed with autism at age 12, but back then not as much information was available about how certain diets can help ease the gastro-intestinal side effects caused by the disorder. After Wilson learned that Daniel was allergic to gluten, she started to research what else could be affecting her son’s autism. “For the first four months, I thought I was going to lose my mind,” Wilson said. “There’s still some challenges. It’s trying to find what works and what doesn’t.”

Fruit smoothie recipe 1 cup mango (fresh or frozen) 1/2 cup berries (fresh or frozen) 1 banana 1/2 avocado 5 kale leaves destemmed (about one cup of kale) 12 oz of water 2 dates (optional if the berries are on the sour side) Blend together in a blender and serve.

Barbecue chicken One chicken breast, cut in half and pan fried in olive oil for 6 minutes a side. Add salt and pepper. Cut into strips. Serve dipped in dipping sauce (see below).

Barbecue dipping sauce

Submitted photo

Linda Wilson began cooking gluten-free meals to aid her autistic son, Daniel, who is allergic to gluten. A large number of autistic children suffer from such gastro-intestinal problems. Wilson said her son has benefited from the diet in many ways, including positive behavior changes, better sleep patterns and improved speech.

Through different tests and research, Wilson learned her son’s digestive system also has trouble breaking down dairy products, yeast, soy and artificial sugars. She decided to strike at the root of the problem and eliminate these foods from his diet all together. Wilson said she is able to find many of her gluten-free foods at local grocery stores such as Hy-Vee and Cub Foods. She’s also able to find many non-processed, organic foods at the St. Peter Food Co-Op. However, some foods are more difficult to find, and she has had to look online. Getting creative in the kitchen What food Wilson can’t find, she makes. Daniel isn’t able to drink any juices since they contain too much sugar, so Wilson creates her own juice and shakes. She also knows how to bake special banana bread, pancakes and muffins, and she hopes to create a gluten-free pizza one night. Much of her baking and cooking revolves around switching unhealthy ingredients with healthy ones. Daniel can’t have dairy products because of his casein-intolerance, so Wilson substitutes rice milk, almond milk or coconut milk. She’s found one sweetener, Stevia, that doesn’t react poorly with Daniel’s system, so she’s able to use that for cookies and other sweets. She’s even found a flour recipe to substitute for usual wheat flour.

(Makes 1/4 cup) 1 Cup organic ketchup 1 Tbs lemon 1 tsp Worchestershire sauce (gluten-free, casein-free) 1 Tbs honey Dash of black pepper Blend all of the above together until smooth.

Daniel helps with the cooking system as well. He has his own pantry of food, and he checks labels at the store to make sure nothing has too much sugar in it. He also sometimes helps cook and suggests new recipes to try. “Daniel’s done really well during this time in taking ownership of (his autism),” Wilson said. “It’s lucky he’s not a picky eater and is willing to try new things.” Support from friends Besides her research, Wilson has learned a great deal about how to treat autism through her support group, Parent Autism Support Group. The group meets at Hosanna Lutheran in Mankato every third Thursday of the month. Parents with autistic children gather to discuss different treatments and offer encouragement to each other. Wilson said this is especially helpful for her because so much more is known about autism than when her son was first diagnosed. New treatments and diet regimens are available, some of which could help Daniel do even better. “Every day, I keep learning more,” Wilson said. “(Daniel’s) made a lot of gains in a lot of different areas. I’m not going to give up and not try any of the (new methods).” M

MANKATO MAGAZINE • november 2012 • 25

That’s Life

By Nell Musolf

Driving me crazy


don’t drive when my husband Mark is in the car. This isn’t a hard and fast rule but more of a preference. I’m not a complete stickler about this preference and clearly recall two occasions when I willingly took the wheel and drove him to the emergency room after he almost cut a toe off with an ax and then another time when he almost cut his thumb off while fixing the roof. Bleeding profusely and trying to use a stick shift simply do not mix. But, for the most part, I am more than content to sit in the passenger’s seat while he steers us toward wherever we are going. My stance on being a passive passenger as opposed to a driven driver has nothing to do with Mark. Truthfully, I don’t like to drive anyone but myself, with the exception of my kids, and I don’t mind them because they’ve been trained since birth not to criticize my driving skills. I wasn’t always like this. I used to love driving my friends to the movies or the mall or anywhere else we felt like visiting. It wasn’t until I was 19 and my father picked me up at college in Missouri and we drove 500 miles back home to Illinois that I first began to sense that it was far easier to be a passenger than a driver. Dad and I agreed to take turns driving, but nowhere in our contract do I remember a clause stating that whoever wasn’t driving had an obligation to talk non-stop. My normally taciturn father became a regular chatterbox on that trip and began a conversation in Columbia, Mo., that 26 • november 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

didn’t stop until we pulled into the driveway 12 hours later. Not only did he make me nervous with all his unusual chatter, I also found myself exiting the highway several times more than necessary because so much talking made my head buzz and I forgot — repeatedly — that we were headed for Chicago, not Florida. “Where are you going?” Dad demanded as I veered onto an off ramp once again. “We’re not getting off here. Get back on the road where you belong!” Needless to say, the moment we got home I vowed that I’d never drive my dad anywhere again, a vow that I don’t think either of us minded one bit. Fortunately, my husband loves to drive and I love to play with the radio. Those have

been our roles throughout our marriage. But a few weeks ago I foolishly allowed a little spontaneity to sneak into our lives and asked Mark if he wanted to come with me while I ran to the store. I asked him while I was sitting behind the steering wheel and he was standing in the driveway, so it only made sense for me not to slide over and let him take the wheel. At least, that’s what I thought. Immediately, it felt plain wrong for him to be in the passenger seat but I continued to drive bravely toward Hy-Vee. I think it felt odd for Mark, too, because while he didn’t come right out and say anything, his body language — clutching the door of the car, flinching when I turned corners and

stomping on an invisible brake — spoke volumes. “Anything wrong?” I asked. “Not at all,” he replied. A moment later he added, “Only didn’t you see that car back there?” “What car?” “The one that had the right of way at that intersection you just blew through.” “I didn’t see any car” We continued toward the grocery store when Mark suddenly asked, “What are you doing? You could have saved five minutes if you’d gone straight instead of turning. Now you’re going to get stuck at the light.” “I like going this way,” I responded. “It’s prettier.” “Well, sure, fine. You’re the driver.” Mark laughed, but it sounded a bit forced to me. Naturally, we did get stuck at the light and just as naturally, it was an extremely long light, possibly the longest traffic light in the world. My passenger began to get very antsy as we waited for the light to change and began mumbling comments about how the route he took might not be pretty but it was one hell of a lot faster. It took most of my selfcontrol not to deposit him next to the traffic light and zoom off, but since the whole trip had been my idea, I managed to keep my mouth shut. Finally, after a hundred years or so, the light changed and we made it to the grocery store unscathed. After picking up what I needed, we walked back out to the car and I handed him the keys. “You don’t want to drive home?” he asked in a most surprised tone of voice. “No, you do it,” I said. “You know,” Mark said as he pulled out of the parking lot, “you should drive more often. It’s fun to be the passenger.” Much to my credit, I didn’t tell him that I already knew that. M Nell Musolf is a mom and a freelance writer from Mankato.


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Get Out!

By Rachel Hanel

‘Comfort is key’

Don’t let the cold ruin your outdoor fun


ongratulations! You have survived a summer of relentless heat and humidity. You survived 31 days with temperatures above 90 degrees, the most 90-degree days here since 1988. The only thing that got you through it is the fact that we live in Minnesota, and eventually winter will grace our presence once again. That time is here. Animals are busy making preparations for the winter ahead. Squirrels dart across my lawn with walnuts in their mouths. We, too, should be making preparations in order to enjoy the outdoors in winter. The cold and snow offer convenient excuses for staying inside and eating comfort foods, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In winter, proper gear can make all the difference between a pleasant and unpleasant outdoor experience. Now is the perfect time to make sure you have everything you need to enjoy the upcoming season. I learned the hard way. When I first started running regularly in the mid-1990s, I didn’t know much about technical winter gear. I’m also not sure it was regularly available like it is today, outside of specialized outdoors stores. So I ran outside in a pair of fleece-lined nylon pants and a big, baggy Georgetown University sweatshirt with a hood. I tied an old scarf around my neck and became frustrated every time it slid away from my mouth. I wore an oversized pair of what looked like hunting gloves. I kept using them even though the lining started to tear away. By the end of a run, the sweatshirt and pants weighed heavy with my perspiration and snow. Ice crystals coated my cotton scarf, and my fingers were frozen. I looked like the Michelin man in all my bulky layers. Over the years I’ve collected many pieces of winter clothing suitable for the outdoors. I have never once been cold during outdoor winter activities, even on the bitterest below-zero days. What follows are some things I cannot live without in the winter. Wool I’ve been the warmest on the coldest days while wearing wool clothing. I have two wool sweaters that I found through bicycling-gear catalogs. They make the perfect top layer while cycling on cool fall and spring days, but they also keep in the warmth while I’m running or skiing in the winter. Wool is not cheap, but it’s worth the investment. Many wool blends today eliminate the “scratchiness” feature common years ago. I also favor wool accessories, such as stocking caps, socks, and gloves. 28 • november 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Clothing with wind and rain/snow protection This is a necessity in winter. Both my favorite pair of pants and favorite jacket feature a solid wind- and moisture-resistant outer layer. Rain and snow simply bead up rather than being absorbed. Even bitter winter winds don’t cut through the powerful, yet light, fabric. Gone are the Michelin man days! Hand and foot warmers These are a godsend. For just a buck (or a little more) you can have hand and foot warmth for hours. At this time of the year these should be fairly easy to find (i.e. by the cash registers at sporting goods stores) but if you don’t see them right away, check in the hunting department. Mukluks I was turned on to this traditional Inuit footwear on my first trip to Wintergreen Dogsledding Lodge in Ely. The dogsled guides, who are outdoors for 8-10 hours a day, wore nothing but thick socks and mukluks on their feet. If it was good enough for them, I decided it was good enough for me. My feet stay toasty and dry in this footwear made of canvas and moose hide. I generally wear my mukluks as regular winter footwear, but I have snowshoed in them and my feet stayed warm. Sunglasses Of course we wear sunglasses on bright winter days to cut down on the glare from snow. But I find eye protection more important on cloudy days in order to shield my eyes from cold winds. If you can, get sunglasses with interchangeable lenses so on overcast days the glasses will protect your eyes from the wind. Lotion and lip balm If you’re going to be outside for any length of time in the winter, find a place to tuck a small tube of lotion and lip balm. The desert-like dryness in the air does no favors to our skin. I fight a constant battle against chapped lips and cracked skin. An outdoor adventure in the winter can quickly turn frustrating when your lips become painfully dry. Comfort is key. Even the most beautiful, sunny day can turn sour once you get chilled or wet or have frozen toes and fingers. Winter offers plenty of beauty and fresh air. It would be shame to stay inside and forego what nature has to offer. Deep down, on those miserable, hot, humid days of summer, I know that you had at least a fleeting, nostalgic thought for the crisp, cold days of winter. Here it is — enjoy it! M Follow Rachael Hanel on Twitter at @rachael18. She also blogs at

MANKATO MAGAZINE • november 2012 • 29

The Way It Is

By Pete Steiner

Let me down easy

The talent and torture of Gus Dewey went their separate ways. ••••


ast time I saw him, he was smiling, circulating among the large crowd of friends at a benefit concert for him at the Kato. He could no longer talk, much less sing. Throat cancer had forced the removal of his golden vocal chords. That meant his dream of reclaiming the rock stardom he’d experienced at 18 would not happen in this life. Mankato’s music scene has, over the decades, produced a long, illustrious list of characters: Spike Haskell, Leas Schwickert, Jerry Udelhofen, my own brother, Billy, Jim McGuire. But in the history of River City music, few have been more talented, and none more colorful, than Gus Dewey.

There’s something about a guy with a Telecaster and a lion’s mane of hair, who can growl out the blues or a ballad, that is irresistible to women. Gus’ first wife, Janet, says she fell head over heels when she first heard him in 1972 at the Stone Toad (now Tav on the Ave). The attraction was mutual, and Gus would write her songs on napkins: “Been myself too many days/ Hey, Miss Janet, change my ways/ Cold on the outside, come back in/ Rock and roll star, once again/ Heap o’ boogie and a pile o’ blues/ What’s a singer got to lose?/ Miss Janet, take me, take me away/ to some sweet tomorrow or a distant yesterday.”

•••• Daniel Gregg Dewey was born with music in his blood. His mom, Bid, had played piano for silent movies; his aunt, Bunny Just, was the organist at the Grand Theater. Somewhere along the way, he became “Gus,” and in 1965, he and his bandmates in the Submitted photo Gestures were suddenly rock Gus Dewey at his rocking best. stars, with the national hit, “Run, Run, Run.” But music biz politics Soon after that, Gus joined City Mouse, denied the band another hit, and they and they headed off on tour to Key West. 30 • november 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

They returned to cut an album that was never actually released until 2011. I listen to Gus singing on that album now and ask, like many, why did he never really make it? Huge, expressive voice. Talented songwriter. Janet, who stayed married to Gus for three years, offers a clue: “He was a beautiful man, a huge talent, extremely intelligent. [But] he was an incorrigible child.” •••• If few were as talented as Gus, fewer were as driven by their demons. My brother and Gus’s bandmate, Billy says, “He knew he was great, but he was frustrated that nobody recognized it. Sometimes that would translate into selfdisdain.” The producers at Sound 80, a top Minneapolis studio, recognized the talent while City Mouse was recording there in the early 1970s. They asked Gus to be their in-house vocalist for jingles and commercials. Billy brought Gus in at 9 the next morning, but Gus bellowed, “How do they expect anyone to SING at this hour of the day?” That quickly led to a parting of ways, and Sound 80 hired the legendary Chad Mitchell as in-house vocalist instead. •••• On stage, he seemed possessed, pouring every ounce of his soul into every song. Offstage, he had an aw-shucks, self-deprecating demeanor, with a growly laugh. He also had a huge, loving heart. He and I never got around to finishing a song we were going to write, “Have a good time on my dime.” But everyone knew Gus didn’t take very good care of himself. Bandmates confirm that at a gig, his bar tab was often bigger than the check

he got for playing. That could have been why he took to always carrying a bottle in his guitar case. In a 2003 Free Press article, he told Joe Tougas that when one club owner saw him mixing his own drinks, and threatened to never hire him again, Gus replied, “You’re breaking my [expletive] heart.” In that article, Gus also told Tougas, “I hate everything I’ve ever done.” Knowing Gus, I have to believe he said that with tongue in cheek. Other musicians idolized him. In 1976, he wrote and recorded a soaring, poignant ballad about his doubts that new love can ever last. Every time I hear it on local radio, I think, lots of lesser songs have become hits. When Dale Menten, who had written “Run, Run, Run” for the Gestures heard it, he reportedly asked, “When did Gus learn to sing like that?” Oh, by the way, the name of that great

ballad? It’s chiseled on Gus’s tombstone: “Let me down easy.” M

Submitted ph

oto Gus Dewey’s grav e marker.

Pete Steiner is host of “Talk of the Town” weekdays at 1:05 p.m. on KTOE.

MANKATO MAGAZINE • november 2012 • 31

Good Health

By Casey Seidenberg


The Washington Post

10 foods a kid should learn how to make M

y kids aren’t heading to college anytime soon, but with my oldest off to camp this summer, I started to ponder whether I was doing a good enough job teaching him the things he needs to know to live a happy and productive life independent of me. In his 2010 TED presentation, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver announced his hope that “every single American child leaves (high) school knowing how to cook 10 recipes that will save their lives.” Because many chronic diseases can be prevented by proper nutrition, I agree with Oliver; for our kids’ sake, we should teach them to cook. Have I taught my son how to cook? I hate to admit that the answer is no, I haven’t. I’ve taught him about healthful choices, and I’ve fed him well every day. At 9 years old, he is familiar with the kitchen, and he knows how to peel, chop and measure, but if he were at college right now, I doubt he would know how to make a real meal for himself. I imagine he will have limited cooking equipment those first years on his own, along with a limited budget, but fast food, takeout and prepared meals shouldn’t be his only options. I want him to know what to do with all of the healthful vegetables and foods we’ve eaten here at home so he can nourish his body and brain. So I am on a new mission to teach my kids to cook, starting with 10 recipes that will nourish them, inexpensively, and make them a big hit on Super Bowl day — or, dare I say, on a date. In the meantime, I plan to get my son involved in the cooking process more often, teaching him how to determine whether produce is ripe, what “roasting” means and how to saute. As a mother, these are some of the lessons I hope to pass down to him. These, and to write more the next time he goes to camp! Here is my list; I encourage you to make your own: Bolognese sauce • Provides protein and antioxidants. • Inexpensive (the only expensive ingredient is good-quality meat). • Can be made in large batches and frozen for the future. 32 • november 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

• A homemade sloppy joe, which has similar nutrients and a similar price tag, can also be made in big batches. Stir-fry with brown rice • Can be prepared with any vegetables or choice of meat. • Inexpensive. • Quick and easy. • Brown rice can be the foundation of many meals, including a simple beans and rice.

another night. Fish baked in parchment • Provides protein and healthful fats. • Quick and easy. • Technique works for most varieties of fish. • Makes a great filling for tacos or a topping for salad.

Roasted chicken • An easy entertaining meal. • Provides days of leftovers that can be used in sandwiches, salads, soups, stirfries or burritos, or eaten plain.

Eggs • Provide important protein to start the day strong. • Make an easy dinner, too. • Breakfast is not a meal to skip, yet most restaurant and store-bought breakfasts are sugar-laden. Chili • Good source of protein and vegetables. • Can be made vegetarian or with meat. • Requires just one pot. • Inexpensive. • Can be made in batches and frozen for another night. • Did I mention the Super Bowl? Homemade soup • Knowing how to start a homemade soup with onions and garlic can be the root of many easy, inexpensive meals. • Add beans or chicken to provide extra protein to a vegetable or noodle soup. • Requires just one pot. • Inexpensive. • Can be made in batches and frozen for

Smoothie • A healthful breakfast, snack or dessert. Roasted vegetables • Any veggie will do; the skill is the same. Guacamole • Full of protein and healthful fat. • Can even be a meal on its own in a crunch. • Always a hit at a party. Seidenberg is co-founder of Nourish Schools, a D.C.-based nutrition education company. Look for her posts on the On Parenting blog: onparenting. M

MANKATO MAGAZINE • november 2012 • 33


to do,


to go

november 4 • Benefit Recital for Mankato Suzuki School of Music 1:15-3 p.m. • Gustavus Adolphus College, Bjorling Recital Hall • free •

16-18 • Theatre Gallery featuring “The Edge of Our Bodies” and “At Risk” 8 p.m. • Gustavus Adolphus College •

5 • The Gustavus Honor Band Festival Concert 7 p.m. • Christ Chapel • free •

17 • Gustavus Wind Orchestra & Vasa Wind Orchestra Fall Concert 1:30 p.m. • Bjorling Recital Hall • free •

8 • University choral groups with invited high school choirs 7:30-9 p.m. • SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church • $9 general admission, $7 students •

17-18 • Minnesota State University presents “Cactus Flower” 2 p.m. • Ted Paul Theatre • $16 general admission, $11 student •

8-10 & 15-17 • Minnesota State University presents “Cactus Flower” 7:30 p.m. • Ted Paul Theatre • $16 general admission, $11 student •

11 • Enchanted Gardens: Recital and Installation 1:30 p.m. • Gustavus Adolphus College, Bjorling Recital Hall • free • 16 • Gustavus Adolphus College Faculty Recital 7:30 p.m. • Bjorling Recital Hall • free •

34 • november 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

23 • Kiwanis Holiday Lights 6-7 p.m. • Sibley Park • free • 27 • University Jazz Big Bands 7:30 p.m. • $9 general admission, $7 student • Minnesota State University, Halling Recital Hall • 29 • University Orchestra 7:30 p.m. • $9 general admission, $7 student • Minnesota State University, Halling Recital Hall • 30 • The 2012 Christmas in Christ Chapel 40th Anniversary Celebration: “Jubilee: Proclaiming the Year of the Lord’s Favor” 7:30 p.m. • Gustavus Adolphus, Christ Chapel • free •

10 • The Gustavus Symphony Orchestra with guest violinist Peter McGuire 1:30 p.m. • Bjorling Recital Hall • free 11 • David Viscolli Faculty Recital 3 p.m. • Minnesota State University, Halling Recital Hall • $9 general admission, $7 student •

19 • “A Year of Bach” 7:30 p.m. • Bjorling Recital Hall • free •

18 • The Gustavus Jazz Band & Adolphus Jazz Ensemble Fall Concert 2:30 p.m. • Bjorling Recital Hall • free • 18 • The Fall Woodwind Chamber Concert 7:30 p.m. • Bjorling Recital Hall • free • 18 • Mankato Symphony Orchestra presents “To be Certain of the Dawn” 3 p.m. • Mankato West High School auditorium adults • $15, $20, $25, youth $5 with student ID or under 18 •

Happy Hour

By Jason Wilson


The Washington Post

Rye logic: Ubiquitous rye is just fine


ithin the bubble of spirits and cocktail enthusiasts, the small and the obscure has much more cachet than the big and the wellknown. Instead, this column is about American rye whiskey, which I want to suggest is one category of spirits in which we shouldn’t pretend that small is always a virtue. When it comes to rye, I often find myself suggesting the bigger, familiar brands. My go-to rye for a few years has been the Russell’s Reserve six-year-old rye (produced by Wild Turkey, owned by Gruppo Campari), followed closely by Bulleit Rye (launched in 2011 by liquor giant Diageo and made at the Four Rose Distillery). Both cost about $25, making them among the best liquor store values. Another pair of recent big-brand releases — Wild Turkey 81 Rye ($23) and Knob Creek Rye ($40) — confirms my position. Although some whiskey snobs will scoff at its proof, Wild Turkey 81 offers a good introduction for the newbie whiskey drinker who hasn’t worked his or her way up to Wild Turkey’s 101-proof offering. Knob Creek, on the other hand, offers big, complex flavor at 100 proof, making it perfect for sipping neat or mixing in a cocktail. I tasted both new bottlings in the Frisco, a cocktail I recently discovered. The Bendectine brings out the best qualities in rye, and the drink (along with the Manhattan) has become an official rye cocktail tester — the same way I test new rums in a daiquiri, or new gins in a martini.


2 oz. rye whiskey 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice 1/2 oz. Bénédictine Ice cubes Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well for 10 seconds, then strain into a chilled glass.

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MANKATO MAGAZINE • november 2012 • 35

What Paris has to offer

Britta Moline stayed in Paris for two months during the summer. While there, she collected some interesting culinary insights from one of the world’s tastiest cities.

Five French culinary luxuries I’m surprised America hasn’t adopted


’m here to talk to you about food. French food, specifically. Not frog legs or escargot or ratatouille, or anything else that’s delicious but not particularly American. Rather, I’m here to talk to you about French indulgences that would translate beautifully to American palates and restaurant’s pocketbooks. It’s astonishing to me that these five French luxuries haven’t translated to American soil, because they would work so well. Things like: Café Gourmand If there’s one thing America loves more than dessert, it’s coffee. Per capita, Americans consume 1.6 cups of coffee a day, and that statistic seems a little low to me. The Café Gourmand is the single perfect American way to end a meal — coffee with a sample plate of mini desserts.

By Britta R. Moline For around $8 or $9 a tray, the Café Gourmand would be big business to restaurants and a siren call to consumers. Just why it hasn’t been snapped up by every chain across America is a mystery to me. Meat-flavored potato chips For as much as America seems to love potato chips, we’re really pretty boring about them. We think dill pickle is a “crazy” flavor, while the rest of the world happily munches on Willy Wonka-like, meal-flavored potato chips — England has roast beef & Yorkshire pudding chips, Japan has scallops with butter, and France has everything from kebab to cheeseburger.

Even more common are the roasted chicken-flavored chips which, honest to their name, taste exactly like a very succulent chicken. It amazes me to no end that America doesn’t have much stake in the meat-flavored-chips industry. Even if we’re not willing to go as far as turkey and mashed potatoes, a simple chickenflavored chip can’t be too tough to sell in the supermarket. Haribo Americans seem to think Haribo is exclusively the realm of gummy bears, but Europe gets a true Haribo banquet. Haribo produces nearly 30 varieties in Europe, often all laid out in great pick n’ mix bins on the streets. Americans may not love gummy candy as much as they do coffee or potato chips, but this is still a candy empire we can get in on. From gummy eggs to gummy strawberries to gummy spaghetti to gummy blocks, Haribo’s true colors shine through in this sugary cornucopia. Kir The simplest cocktail in the world is also one of the most delightful. Kir is simply white wine (usually cheap) and créme de cassis, which is sweet liqueur made from black currants.

Parisian Chevre Chaud Salad Paris’ Rue Cler was a wonder to my jet-lagged eyes — the cobblestone street is a study in respect for food. Crepes sizzle, fish mongers rest beautiful tuna on ice, fruit stalls glimmer in every color, and the cheese shop is piled high with more varieties than I knew existed. Each meal in the city is a reminder that love for food comes first in Paris. This salad (“Chevre Chaud” or “Hot Chevre”) is an homage to that respect — the perfect salad to showcase tangy chevre, crisp greens, crusty bread and the fresh produce of your choice. Chevre can be bought at any nicer supermarket. Try to pick up a roll of it, rather than the crumbled or spread version. If you’re lucky enough to hit up a cheese shop, grab a hunk of chevre for more than just salads. This versatile, smooth cheese (which is a lot easier for the lactose intolerant to digest) goes great on bread alone, or when paired with prosciutto and basil. When paired up with honey and dried fruit (particularly cranberries) it takes on a dessert-like quality.

Warm Chevre Salad Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 5 minutes Serves: 4 Ingredients: A roll of goat’s cheese Baguette/French bread Green Salad (sturdy greens of your choice) Dressing: 1 tsp. olive oil 1 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar Salt and pepper Instructions: Slice the roll of goat’s cheese (thick for a more authentic salad) and cut the. Place a slice of cheese on top each slice of bread. Grill (or broil) in oven until the cheese begins to turn golden. It will not melt. Watch closely if broiling, the bread can burn in an instant. Remove carefully but do not let cool. Stir the mustard and vinegar together, whipping until well-mixed, and then slowly add the oil to the dressing. Salt and pepper to taste. Serving: Toss the salad with a drizzle of dressing. Top each cold salad with the slices of warm-toast Alternative: This salad is beyond versatile — add any mild vegetable of your choice. My favorite addition is cooked, cooled whole green beans, but other additions, such as endive or radicchio, would mesh beautifully.

Why America hasn’t picked up on Cafe Gourmand is a mystery. Who wouldn’t enjoy a cup of espresso and some mini desserts after a hearty meal? MANKATO MAGAZINE • november 2012 • 37

The cassis heightens any simple white wine and makes for a smooth, sweet start to a fantastic meal. Restaurants can sell this cocktail for $4 a glass and still turn a profit, and diners are more likely to order more food when tipsy. It’s a win-win situation, and yet créme de cassis still remains frustratingly rare. Pain au Chocolat Here it is — the No. 1 thing I’m amazed hasn’t become a worldwide culinary sensation in America: the

mighty pain au chocolat. Quite simply, it’s a flaky croissant stuffed with chocolate. That’s it. Cut and print. Pastry dough, buttery and crisp, wrapped around deep chocolate? What better way to wake up? Not even the empire of Krispy Kreme could match a well-done, semi-fast food version of a pain au chocolat (as sacrilegious as that may sound to foodies). Some American cafes have this little treasure, but not nearly enough. Throw this baby in with a cup of coffee and you have a gold mine empire waiting to be born. On second thought, don’t. This idea’s mine.


The delicious pain au chocolat is nothing more than a croissant stuffed with chocolate.

Faces & Places

Photos By Sport Pix

Rapidan Dam Days



1. Chris Moosey gives little Graham Moosey a ride on one of the carts. 2. Dan Gragg, Melissa Teply and Andi Leonard hang out down at the river waiting for the kayak and paddleboard races. 3. Mike Davis helps Benson, his 1 1/2 year old Great Dane, get a drink. 4. On of the Bent River Outfitters staff, Alyssa Nelson, trys out the stilts and finds them a little more difficult than expected. 5. Ricky gives a final effort to win the stand up paddle board race.



40 • November 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE


Faces & Places

Photos By Sport Pix

Tune it up for the troops


1. Autumn Pipal takes a turn at the bean bag toss. 2. This bike was being raffled off with all proceeds going to benefit veterans.


3. The Paddle it Up For Troops also raised money for veterans. 4. A group of soldiers sits and listens to the music in the afternoon sun. 5. Rockie Lynne entertained the crowd with original songs and patriotic favorites. 6. One of the teams representing the the Army head off on the 5K run.



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MANKATO MAGAZINE • November 2012 • 41

Faces & Places

Photos By Sport Pix

Mankato Mud Run


1. A group of ladies holds hands as they near the finish line. 2. Chris Meehan scrambles up the hill and out of the final mud pit. 3. The Superheros of the Orthopaedic & Fracture Clinic pose before the race. 4. Myles Fitzsimmons crawls under the fence obstacle. 5. The Dirty Divas from the OBGYN department at the Mankato Clinic pose for a picture while their outfits’ colors are 3 still visible.


6. Carson Diechman hits the water running.




42 • November 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Faces & Places

Photos By Sport Pix

EAA Ford TriMotor


1. The inside of the Ford Trimotor Airplane that visited the Mankato Airport. 2. All of the controls were designed to look more familiar to the common person, including the round steering wheels. 3. Volunteer Bernie Davey from the EAA looks over the Ford Trimotor Airplane. 4 The residence halls and perfoming arts at MSU as seen through the windows of the 1929 Ford Trimotor 5. The 1929 Ford Trimotor on display with a selection of Ford cars from the same era.


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MANKATO MAGAZINE • november 2012 • 43

By Grace Webb

Giving food, getting thanks ECHO Food Shelf ensures all can have Thanksgiving meal on the table


very day, Mankato’s ECHO Food Shelf serves more than 60 families, offering food and support for people going through rough times. Last year, the food shelf distributed more than one million pounds of food to Blue Earth County and North Mankato residents. While volunteers help keep the food shelf running yearround to serve the community, one week is particularly special: the week before Thanksgiving. “You can really see you’re making a difference,” said Diane Deeran, an ECHO board member who is organizing this year’s Thanksgiving dinner event. From Nov. 12-16, ECHO offers Thanksgiving dinners to anyone struggling through hard times. Families can create a custom “basket” filled with potatoes, corn, apples, cranberries, sweet potatoes, green beans and — of course — a turkey. ECHO Food Shelf has been offering these Thanksgiving baskets for more than 15 years, and last year more than 1,130 families took Thanksgiving dinners home. This year, Deeran and her co-organizer, Marcia Olauson, hope to serve an even greater part of the community. Organizing a feast ECHO Food Shelf collects its food from a variety of different sources and donors, including local grocery stores, personal donations and online purchases. For the Thanksgiving baskets, the process is a little different. Local churches step up and donate much of the food for the baskets, and people often donate more food around this time as well. As for the turkeys, ECHO workers need to buy them, going around and finding the best prices at different stores. The turkeys are then kept at the stores and collected through vouchers, which families receive as part of their baskets. Because ECHO Food Shelf has been distributing these Thanksgiving baskets for so long, the process has become smooth and efficient. Families come check in at one section of the food shelf, then walk along a line of tables manned by volunteers handing out different foods. Families take more or less food depending on their numbers. Smaller families often take chickens instead of turkeys because they don’t need as much meat. Deeran and Olauson have been on the ECHO Food Shelf board for some time, but this is their first year organizing the Thanksgiving baskets event, and they said they’re both nervous and excited. “We’re on speed dial with all of these (main food donors) 44 • november 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

already, but I still feel overwhelmed,” Olauson said. “Somehow, we’ll make it work. People will come through.” A new measure being implemented this year is the use of a computer program for registration. The program will also keep track of volunteer schedules and coordinate shifts. Without volunteers, running the week-long Thanksgiving event would be impossible. The heart of ECHO Food Shelf ECHO Food Shelf has hundreds of volunteers who work from one hour to 40 hours a week. During the Thanksgiving basket handout, however, even more people come to serve. The usual volunteers can’t leave the regular food shelf, so new people need to donate their time working the Thanksgiving basket section. About 65 people volunteered last year, taking four-hour shifts at food tables or helping with check-in. Many of these volunteers signed up for double shifts or came back multiple days of the Thanksgiving basket week. “We could not operate like this without the magnificent people of Mankato,” Olauson said. “I think we have one of the best communities (in the state).” Deeran added that many people become volunteers after using the food shelf. If a family comes for a Thanksgiving basket one year, they might come back the next year to volunteer. “(ECHO and its volunteers) can touch their lives in a way you don’t understand, and then you see them here volunteering,” she s a i d . “It’s a f u l l c i rc l e . ”


File photo

A volunteer is pictured stocking shelves at the ECHO Food Shelf in Mankato. The food shelf’s annual Thanksgiving baskets have become a valued community tradition.


City Center Mankato sits at the

geographic heart of southern Minnesota and provides unique opportunities for dining, playing and staying. Sports, entertainment, historical, and cultural events are plentiful within the city center. Sports, entertainment, historical, and cultural events are plentiful within the City Center. Being home to the Verizon Wireless Center, there are manny opportunities to takin in a show, concert, or sporting event. And, experience the blend of our local shops rich in history and charm. Best of all, you can finish your day by visiting a great City Center restaurant. Find your way at::

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Underwritten by the City Center Partnership which supports investments in projects, programs and initiatives that attract increased traffic, employees and residents to the City Center of Mankato and North Mankato. Our support encourages growth of businesses, arts and culture that continue to make the Mankato Area a great place to live and play.

Mankato Magazine  
Mankato Magazine  

Magazine about the People, Places, Lifestyles of the Minnesota River Valley