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Kurt Michael Friese
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Born and raised in the Heartland, Chef Kurt Michael Friese got his BA in photography & Poli-Sci at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa before graduating from the New England Culinary Institute , where he later was a Chef-Instructor. With 31 years of professional foodservice experience, he has been chef and owner, with his wife Kim McWane Friese, of the Iowa City restaurant Devotay for 15 years. Devotay is a community leader in sustainable cuisine and supporting local farmers and food artisans. Recently Kim promoted him to the tongue-in-cheek title of "Chef Emeritus," and he now devotes most of his time to writing about and advocating for sustainable cuisine.

Friese is also the founding leader of Slow Food Iowa City, which helped to build the 12,000 square-foot garden and orchard at Elizabeth Tate High School. He serves on the boards of directors of Slow Food USA, The Iowa Food Systems Council, and the NewBo City Market. His columns and photos on food, wine and travel have appeared regularly in local, regional and national newspapers and magazines. His latest book, Chasing Chiles: Hot Spots Along the Pepper Trail, was published in March by Chelsea Green.

Entries by Kurt Michael Friese

Our Chance to Show What America Means

(11) Comments | Posted November 2, 2015 | 8:37 AM

When World War II ended in Europe, my father, who passed away recently, was 9 years old, the son of an immigrant and of a son of an immigrant, both German. The War had been hard on everyone of course, but there was a special challenge to being a German...

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Once, All Beer Was Made This Way: The Rebirth of Sour Beers

(4) Comments | Posted August 7, 2015 | 4:54 PM

The microbrewing industry in the US took off in the mid 1980s thanks in part to Samuel Adams on the east coast and New Albion and Anchor Brewing on the west. Since then it has been a fast-growing niche pushed along by an assortment of fads and trends, some of...

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"This Pernicious Liquor": A Gin Primer

(0) Comments | Posted August 4, 2015 | 1:26 PM

***UPDATE*** The folks from the Knickerbocker Hotel, mentioned herein as one of the claimants to the title of Inventors of the Martini, just sent their recipe! I've added it at the end.

Cocktails and spirits often have history and lore connecting them to stories of cure-alls, snake oils and digestive...

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I Am The Man: Pondering My Own Privilege

(1) Comments | Posted December 6, 2014 | 1:04 PM

I am The Man.

I do not mean that in the "I'm the best, I'm the coolest" sense of the phrase.

I am The Man.

I mean that in the sense of the implication it has taken these last few decades.

I am The Man. I am The System. I...

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Defending Beef: Nicolette Hahn Niman's Call for a Third Way

(11) Comments | Posted September 2, 2014 | 5:41 PM

Because I am at once a writer, a cook, and an omnivore, I have been confronted many times by a zealous band of culinary evangelists know as vegans, and their somewhat less-strident cousins, the vegetarians. Let me say at the outset that I begrudge them nothing, despite having been repeatedly...

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How Restaurant Wine Lists Are Sexist

(19) Comments | Posted August 20, 2014 | 10:13 AM

I have developed a serious dining pet peeve.

Actually, it was Kim's pet peeve, but being the dutiful husband, I have immediately taken up the cause, right after 25 years of not noticing it was going on. It goes like this: We go out for dinner, are greeted by the...

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Dan Barber's The Third Plate Shows Farm-to-Table Is Not Enough

(2) Comments | Posted May 21, 2014 | 4:13 PM

America's greatest living thinker, Wendell Berry, famously said, "Eating is an agricultural act." Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini taught us to think of ourselves not as consumers but as co-producers. It is, after all, not a food chain that we humans sit atop, but a circle of which...

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LIveBlogging the 2014 Edible Institute @ The New School, NYC

(0) Comments | Posted May 10, 2014 | 1:23 PM

Hello again everyone and thanks for playing along at home. My name is Kurt Friese, producer of Edible Radio and publisher of Edible Iowa, and we're coming to you live(ish) from Beautiful Greenwich Village, New York, and the New School. There is livestream video...

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Amtrak's Brilliant 'Residency' Program

(2) Comments | Posted February 24, 2014 | 6:53 PM

Like (seemingly) every single writer and aspiring writer in the US, I was jumping up and down and scaring my pets when I heard about the idea of Amtrak offering "residencies" to writers. As both a writer and a rider, not to mention bona fide train geek, this...

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The Malicious, Hypocritical Vegan Fringe Strikes Again

(557) Comments | Posted August 12, 2013 | 7:00 PM

OK, vegetarians: some of you are not going to like this.

But before the flaming commences in the comments section below, please hear me out, and please understand that I am referring only to a very small faction in your ranks -- analogous to the "Tea Party" wing nuts...

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Edible Institute 2013 Liveblog: March 16-17 2013

(1) Comments | Posted March 15, 2013 | 8:01 PM

Author's note: Please remember this is a liveblog. Forgiveness for typos and the like is appreciated. I'll get back in there and fix them as I can. And don't forget to hit refresh from time to time to get the most recent info. Thanks. ~kmf

The 4th annual...

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Why America Needs A Public Hearth

(4) Comments | Posted February 27, 2013 | 1:47 PM

I was raised in the fast-food test-marketing capitol of the United States. Nearly every major fast-food chain and prepared grocery product company tests its new ideas in Columbus, Ohio. Twenty major fast-food companies (they prefer the term "quick service") are headquartered in the Columbus metropolitan area, including White Castle, Bob...

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The Last Word: A Review of April Bloomfield's A Girl and Her Pig

(0) Comments | Posted January 11, 2013 | 9:53 AM

They'll tell you not to judge a book by its cover, but in this case perhaps you should make an exception. In A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Stories, April Bloomfield delivers exactly what the book's cover implies -- a...

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Seduction by Cooking

(13) Comments | Posted February 9, 2012 | 3:32 PM

There are only two human activities that involve all five senses simultaneously. One is eating. The other is sex. Concurrent metaphors abound, lending credence to the suggestion that the two are very closely related. While people can be described as "hot," "steamy," or even "tasty," food can often be called...

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How to Handle (or Avoid) a Hangover

(16) Comments | Posted December 28, 2011 | 11:30 AM

Chances are you've experienced it at least once -- studies say 75 percent of adults have. Veisalgia, or what we more commonly call a hangover, is one of the more persuasive negative side-effects of overindulging. The French have my favorite term for it, "Gueule de bois," which translates loosely to...

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Raise the Bar: An Effort To Change Some Arcane Liquor Laws

(19) Comments | Posted November 1, 2011 | 6:38 PM

In the United States, each state has its own set of laws regulating the production, sale and consumption of alcohol. Naturally, this results in a variety of goofy, arcane or sometimes just plain stupid liquor laws. Some are enforced, others are not, and still others see that very enforcement lead...

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Occupy Your Kitchen!

(17) Comments | Posted October 27, 2011 | 7:27 PM

It is indeed heartening to see people in the streets, indignant over what the 1% is doing to the 99%. They're right to complain about such excessive and flagrant greed. But one thing they seem to be missing is that the Wall Street fat cat tycoons have nothing on the...

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The Real Veal: Sourcing and Cooking Humanely-Raised Veal

(198) Comments | Posted October 4, 2011 | 7:41 PM

When it comes to rich, flavorful, tender meat, it is hard to beat veal. While still enormously popular in Europe, especially in France, Italy and Germany, it is much harder to find in the U.S., and harder still here in Iowa. This may be due in part to its price,...

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Memories of a Life Spent Saving Seeds

(5) Comments | Posted August 26, 2011 | 11:34 AM

Very few people in Iowa have had a greater impact on the movement to protect real food than Diane Ott Whealy. Co-founder of Decorah's Seed Savers Exchange, she is the author of a new memoir detailing a life obsessed with seeds and soil, farm and family.

In Gathering:...

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What's Wrong With the Drinking Age

(82) Comments | Posted August 4, 2011 | 7:13 PM

Indulge me, if you will, in something of a birthday rant.

Today my daughter turns 21. Although it has been legal for her to drive, vote, smoke and kill and die for her country for quite some time, she now is officially permitted by society at large to enter a...

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