Let’s take Time Out to praise our food supply chains, paying homage to those who grow, harvest, haul to market, manufacture and sell the stuff that keeps our bellies full.

Iowa Maid-Rites are delicious loose meat sandwiches with a cult following.

Leading that charge right now is the renown Chef José Andrés. He founded World Central Kitchen in 2010 to meet Haiti’s food emergency following its devastating earthquake. He quickly emerged as a worldwide leader in disaster relief efforts but it was in the wake of Puerto Rico’s 2017 Hurricane Maria that he turned miracle worker. In the first month following that hurricane, WCK cooked 2 million meals for our hungry fellow Americans. Last year he dished out food during 13 worldwide disasters. This year, with the Pandemic, it seems he and WCK, an NGO, are feeding the world.

Chef Andres, Washington Post photo
Time Magazine photo

The global hunger crisis is real, 821 million people, 1 in 9, are undernourished. Yesterday morning I saw that an Arizona friend had posted her e-mail address on her Facebook page and written that ‘if someone isn’t working and needs food, please email me. Confidential. No need to be embarrassed. I will never say a thing. Just tell me and I’ll drop off groceries to you.’

There are no words but a surprising recognition that generosity knows no bounds. We’ll follow her story here in my next post.

Decadent Lemon Bundt Cake


I received an e-mail and another and another and another all with the same message: “Going back to old times with a recipe exchange. Please send a recipe, quick, easy and without rare ingredients, to the person whose name is in position #1.”

I groaned, four times. No recipes popped into my mind.

This pair of Osprey recently arrived in Aspen from their wintering grounds in South America. They are setting up housekeeping on a new platform just built in Aspen. Yes, their house looks, well, messy but they just moved in.

My last invitation was from my friend Francine. I replied that I couldn’t accept her #QuarantineCooking recipe exchange invitation because I already had received three others. “I know what you mean,” she said, kindly. “I already received four myself but I thought it was nice to be asked.”

Now I felt guilty. I was turning down “nice,” wasn’t I?

“Okay,” I decided. “Game on.”

I chose two simple but nostalgic favorites, Iowa’s famous Maid-Rites, a divine loose meat sandwich that no Hawkeye believes wasn’t heaven-sent. And a Decadent Lemon Bundt Cake that doesn’t, ahem, taste like it’s from a boxed cake mix. As you may recall, I bought 6 boxed mixes just before sheltering-in-place. I don’t do mixes but this lemon-colored beauty reminds me I should. The recipes are both below. Make them. Let me know.

Townsend’s Solitaire

MAID-RITES, adapted from a number of Iowans
 Servings 4 -6

I can promise you everyone pictured in this photo still makes Maid-Rites. Since the Pandemic people are posting high school photos on their Facebook sites. Happier and less complicated times. My pictures are neatly packed in boxes in my storage unit so I can’t get at them.

(In 1926 a Muscatine, Iowa restauranteur named Fred Angell created Maid-Rites. Although its popularity blossomed into many Maid-Rite franchises which have now disappeared, the sandwich remains a local cult favorite.)

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion minced or 1 small
1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup beef broth
4 Tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1/2-1 teaspoon teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper


  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add minced yellow onion and cook until tender and translucent, 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add lean ground beef and break up into small pieces/crumbles while it cooks. Drain any oil remaining..Stir in beef broth. Add mustard, Worcestershire, Soy Sauce, salt and pepper.
  3. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, or until liquid is mostly gone.
  4. Spoon onto (warmed) bun. ALWAYS stick in one or two hamburger pickles. Serve.
  5. Pass ketchup if desired.
Northern Flicker

DECADENT LEMON BUNDT CAKE from Liz Berg, That Skinny Chick Can Bake

(My food blogging colleague and friend Liz Berg who embellished this boxed cake mix, blogs at That Skinny Chick Can Bake. Liz was born and raised in Ames, Iowa. So in sticking with the Iowa theme for my chain e-mail recipes, enjoy.

Serves: 12

 1 box yellow or butter cake mix (15.25 ounce)
1 small box instant lemon pudding mix (3.4 ounces)
1 box of Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Lemon Supreme Cake Mix
1 small box instant lemon or vanilla instant pudding mix
 3/4 cup water
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs (room temperature)

 1 cup powdered sugar, SIFTED
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, DEFROSTED

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Butter and flour a standard 10-cup Bundt pan (or spray with Baker’s Joy). Set aside.
  2. Combine all cake ingredients in a bowl and beat until thick and smooth, about 3 minutes.
  3. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  4. When cake is almost finished baking, whisk together glaze ingredients until smooth.
  5. When cake is removed from the oven, let cool for about 10 minutes. Then poke some holes over the bottom surface of the cake with a long pronged fork. Drizzle part of the glaze over the cake. Invert cake onto a cake plate. Poke the top surface of the cake with the fork and drizzle the rest of the glaze over the cake.
  6. Let cool completely before serving. Lightly sprinkle confectionary sugar if desired.
    TIPS: ¼ cup of rum can be substituted for ¼ cup of the water if you’d like a lemon rum cake.
The American Dipper lives and thrives near our mountain streams. Look carefully to spot him.

Readers, I hope that you, your family, loved ones and friends are safe and sheltering-in-place as able. And, to all those “essentials,” including my son-in-law, who are out on the front lines keeping our country going, be extra careful, thank you and bless your hearts. Mary