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Noodle Soup


Fri, Nov 30th, 2001
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Monday, November 26, 2001

“Food is the communication between the person cooking and the people eating,” I heard Julia Childs say on a TV program the other day.

I suppose Thanksgiving is the classic example of this axiom: a bronzed turkey, a gathering of people, and the cook standing by the table telling everyone “to enjoy, there’s plenty”.

The eccentric 89 year old Childs is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the release of her food classic The Art of French Cooking.

Known on TV as The French Chef, Childs worked for the O.S.S. (the forerunner to the CIA) in Burma during World War II, met her husband in Ceylon before going to China and then on to France. And there, at the end of World War II, she began a love affair with the French and its cuisine.

I mention Childs only so much as the notion of food as a communicator between people got me thinking about the places I have visited and the people I have met.

What people eat is defined by both culture and geography. For example, Cajun cooking is about French Quebec Canadians moving to the Louisiana bayou. This combination of people and place makes for a fully unique cuisine that has its own personality and character.

In southwest China the same is true. In the highlands of Kunming, a crossroads city of a few million people between Burma and the heart of China to the east, the mountainous tribal peoples grow buckwheat, potatoes and corn.

These peasant farmers make one of my favorite meals on earth, a rather common fare of wheat noodles, in a broth with potatoes, bean sprouts, onions, chilies and spices. This is slurping food, so hot spiced that your sinuses clear at the first intake of the soup-like concoction.

Many people in Kunming buy this in a market in the morning and eat it for breakfast with a wheat bun, the soup steaming in the fresh mountain air. Sometimes the cook will add beef or chicken, like the Vietnamese do to their Pho Bo.

This is mountain food. At nearly 6000 feet, the farmers are too high up to grow the paddy rice that is the staple of China, and so eke out an existence growing things on the side of hills.

It is peasant food for the most part, conceived by the poorest people in the area and adapted from local conditions. It is a hearty meal that stays with you long after you have drained the last drop from the bowl. And, when you work and live out in the elements all day, this is the kind of “stick-to-y .....
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Foods Weekly Ads

Fri, Nov 30th, 2001
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Fri, Nov 30th, 2001
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Fri, Nov 30th, 2001
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To the Editor,

I was growing up at a time when it looked like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. might one day have a run at the presidency. He had this to say about conflict:

Darkness cannot drive
out darkness;
Only light can do that.< ..... 
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Fri, Nov 30th, 2001
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To the Editor,

I must address Herb Panko's article, "Another View: Some root causes of the September 11 tragedy" in the Nov. 12, 2001 issue of the Fillmore County Journal. He says that "[Christianity, Judaism, and Islam] use ultimate authorit ..... 
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Submit a Letter to the Editorhere

Fri, Nov 30th, 2001
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To the Editor,
Monday, November 26, 2001

To the Editor,

The 2001 tax bill passed last spring dramatically changed how many government services are funded. Under the new law, much of the cost of K-12 education will now be paid ..... 
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Vernon H. Vigeland

Fri, Nov 30th, 2001
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Vernon H. Vigeland, 77, of LaCrosse, Wis., formerly of Mabel, Minn. died March 12, 2001 at the Green Lea Manor Nursing Home in Mabel where he had resided for only a week.

Vernon was born September 5, 1923 in Preble Township, Fillmore County, M ..... 
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Gladys Judith Swain

Fri, Nov 30th, 2001
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Gladys Judith Swain, 93, of Rushford, a homemaker, died March 7, 2001 at her home.

Gladys Judith Williams was born May 15, 1907, on the Humble farm at Highland Prairie, moved to North Dakota with her family when she was 3 months old and retu ..... 
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Ronald Thorson

Fri, Nov 30th, 2001
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Ronald Thorson, 65, of rural Mabel, a retired Lockheed Corp. employee, died April 28, 2001 at Winneshiek County Memorial Hospital in Decorah, Iowa.

Ronald was born Aug. 28, 1935, in Decorah to Levi and Esther (Rotvold) Thorson. He graduated ..... 
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