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From the Editor: One Story Leads to Another



No one has ever mistaken me for Marilyn Monroe—until lately. Going through security at the airport last month, the bored TSA employee checking IDs asked me when I handed over my driver’s license if I was related to Marilyn. When I said unfortunately that I was not, he didn’t look surprised. But that was before our graphic designer, Steve Hamburger, turned my column mug shot into Andy Warhol’s version of the iconic Marilyn series.

Unlike the TSA guard, Steve didn’t make a Marilyn connection because he was bored. He had just turned the Charlie Awards founders, Sue Zelickson and Scott Mayer, into reproductions of Warhol’s Marilyn for the Charlies Kick-off party’s art theme. The unlikely theme (Warhol has never attended the Charlies to my knowledge) started with my blog on how soup in the ladle of a particularly artistic chef is suitable for framing. From there, we decided to make Campbell's tomato soup cans into our flower vases (if anyone wants some cream of tomato soup, I have eight cans worth of it in my refrigerator at home).

If you weren’t able to make it to the kick-off, you can still check out the photos on page 23 and on social media. And you can go to CharliesExceptionale.com to add your nominations to our 10 categories. There’s one more opportunity to turn in your nominations offline at our business summit, October 25 at Surly Brewing Company. There's a form in this issue to register for that event.

Sue Zelickson admires the Andy Warhol-inspired treatment of her photo at the Charlies kick-off. Sue, along with Scott Mayer, are the founders of the event that celebrates Twin Cities culinary talent.

When I look over the issue one more time before it goes to press, I'm always struck by the serendipity of the issue. One interview will lead to another to another. 

For instance, I met Mary Lahammer, the political reporter for PBS' local television station, at CommonGround MN's Field to Fork event. The story about women farmers ended up on the front cover, and a story about Mary is a few pages later. 

What intrigued me about Mary was her story about a documentary she made about her grandmother's freakish childhood survival of a tornado that killed family members. I think tornado warnings elsewhere in the state about that time reminded her of her grandmother's story. 

A few days after the Field to Fork event, I visited Mary at the TV station for a tour and a chance to watch as the last of the edits were made on the fourth installment in her "Farm Fresh Road Trip" series. It airs October 1, and then again several more times. Cafe Alma's Alex Roberts was featured in one of the segments, as was a farmer who rides a unicycle. Fun stuff.

Celebrating the end of summer at Canoe Bay in Wisconsin introduced me to the newly hired executive chef, Randall Prudden, a former chef with Minneapolis' Spoon and Stable and Alinea, the famed restaurant in Chicago. 

I wouldn't normally work on my holiday, but as we were checking out the wildly beautiful flower and vegetable garden for the small resort, I noticed a man in a chef's coat picking peppers. I had just survived my first ever canoe ride that morning and was still thinking about the steelhead trout and deconstructed cheesecake with fresh blueberries we had dined on the night before, so I was feeling both emboldened and curious. 

It was not that I would expect anything less from a such a pristine resort, but the food both looked and tasted elegant (if I was the sort of person who used the word "divine," I might insert it here).

If a reporter is lucky, there's always information you can't work into a story that remains in your notebook or in your head. 

One of the things I thought was interesting when I was reading the website about Canoe Bay, was a story about why one of the owners' grandfather came to America. He was floating logs down the Danube River in Europe when he heard that in America the fence posts were made of sausage. This is a great time to remind ourselves about the many contributions to our country by immigrants, which is what Dan McElroy talks about in his column. See what I mean? Serendipitous.  

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