Foreword – Fall 2011

Everyone eats.

Eating is one of the great, shared experiences that tie us all together.

You can’t ask for a favorite recipe without hearing a story. You’ll hear about Nana as well as her sugar cookies. You’ll laugh at the retelling of a mother-in-law’s reaction to a meal. You’ll cry as someone shares the only dish their father could stomach during chemotherapy. You’ll hear about huge life events tied to food—weddings, funerals and everything in-between.

Food, both eating it and talking about it, is a conduit for connecting to others. So is growing it. This issue highlights some of the work the college is doing in research, education and extension linked to food—growing it, eating it and understanding it. Please don’t look at this issue as the main course on food production work at Iowa State—we’d need volumes, not just one issue. Rather, enjoy this sampling featuring a variety of successful people and programs. We’ve turned the pen over to a few such people in our “Voices” section on page 16 to share their perspectives on food production.

We asked many of those featured to share their favorite recipes as part of our interviews for this issue. Look for the titles in the cards alongside each story and go online ( for complete recipes. I’m including my Grandma Reicks’ apple kuchen recipe. It’s perfect for “coffee time,” the break my dad enjoyed after chores each morning. It’s not too sweet, but avoid dunking unless you don’t mind crumbs in your coffee.

We had three apple trees on our farm growing up, “one for eating and two for baking,” as my mother said. We peeled, cored and cut bushels of apples each fall. We also collected those that had fallen, making use of them for applesauce.

My husband and I recently moved to an acreage with apple trees. My oldest son, who devours apples daily, was thrilled. It was nearly impossible for him to wait for those apples to ripen. Our two-year-old picked several of the low hanging fruits early, but a few apples higher up managed to make it the full season. Those apples made one delicious kuchen.

Kind regards,

Melea Reicks Licht