Mankato, Minnesota, adieu.

With less than 24 hours left in Minnesota there are a few folks/meals/locations I'd like to highlight for my own memorializing, and future visitors.

St. John's Episcopal Church
The first sermon Matt & I heard here was on how Jesus wants us to fight oppressive systems (ummm, YES). Philanthropic efforts include fair trade organizations & goods, Heifer International and Pride Fest. The rector selects hip swaying gospel themed hymns which the staunchly stiff congregation does their best to get into. In other words, it is perfect. We were more than embraced, and forever grateful for this faithful, kind, progressive place.

Christy's Cafe
This family run spot is perhaps the finest dining establishment in Mankato. They are dedicated to supporting the local Farmers' Market and providing excellent homemade fare. Christy's is Diner done better. One or both of the owners are always there (I am fairly certain they NEVER get a day off). When my parents came to visit, we ate here two days in a row. Their huevos rancheros are the best I've had outside of Texas, and I would give anything for a daily delivery of their pastry. A favorite breakfast that will be dearly, dearly missed.

Matt's Family
We've been supported, loved, and fed by Matt's Midwestern relatives. I will miss post thanksgiving shopping with his Grandmother and Aunt and fresh Walleye at the lake, and his cousin Jack's lacrosse games. They are quick to provide libations and hors d'ouvers, slow to irritate and smart, witty folk. I love them and will miss them dearly.

The Filling Station
I always see someone I know at the Filling Station. The carry and sell free trade loose leaf tea and have excellent pistachio biscotti. With eclectic and squishy furniture and a frequent flow of eccentric locals - what more could you want? Seriously.

The Snow
I both love and hate the snow. It is so beautiful, quiet - but equally a huge pain in the ass when you need to actually GO anywhere. All that to be said, I think I will miss it. The serenity of snow is unrivaled, and waking up to that level of peace is a rare and valuable moment.

Painted Hill Farm
Not only do these folks have the most gorgeous farm, but they also produce the finest pork I've ever tasted. I doubt I will find meat so fine in the Northwest and on cold winter nights when all I want is pulled pork, mashed potatoes and a side of broccoli, I will weap a little bit remembering the Thompson's and their damn fine meat.

I will leave you dear readers, and Minnesota, with a poem by Wendall Berry. I've learned a lot in Minnesota about making a home, building relationships, selecting food, growing plants, and appreciating weather. Generally I've learned that little of this can be controlled and that is, in essence, what makes all of it so equally terrifying and stunningly beautiful.

The Peace of Wild Things - Wendall Berry
When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. 


  1. That poem is beautiful.

    WHERE ON EARTH ARE YOU MOVING? This is a small detail you can't leave out! Or have I been reading too frantically and riffed over something? You mentioned the NW.... Really? Could it be true? And Matt?

    - your most dedicated reader.

  2. Agreed. So, what's up? Back to Seattle?

    Chef Dad


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