Top | Newsletter 2010

Culinate Newsletter July 7 10

(mailing, James Berry)

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 h1. Dear readers,
 We spent the afternoon of July 4th on the road in Montana, traveling from one boisterous family party to another, 120 miles south. Road food can be dicey, but hey, we had to eat, and we hadn't gotten things together for a picnic. Fortunately, my aunt, who's traveled Highway 93 thousands of times, recommended we check out Lynn's Drive-In in Ronan. 

 Lynn's has been there forever, and it's a little frayed around the edges — especially compared to the slick DQ farther up the road. It's also the kind of place where lunch for a family of four can take 20 minutes to prepare — in other words, not exactly fast food by today's standards. (I knew everything would be made to order when they asked what we wanted on our burgers.)

 And what flavor! Unlike the food at most corporate burger joints, these sandwiches — especially the burgers — were juicy and cooked just right, with an eggy bun and no-nonsense but reliably good condiments. I regretted not ordering a milkshake, which I'll bet would have been creamy perfection.

 A few days earlier, I had looked for another old-fashioned drive-in in another small town in Montana — a favorite place I've been going to since the 1960s, and which even my kids remembered for its shakes. We drove slowly down the main street, scanning the signs and ready to hang a right, but it just wasn't where it was supposed to be. We turned around and went back, just because we couldn't believe our eyes, but it was still gone — just a parking lot where the little white building used to stand. 

 We hated to do it, but we hadn't eaten for too long, and we were four in the car with 150 miles to go; mutiny could not be risked. We ended up stopping for burgers and chicken sandwiches at a fast-food place — along with about 47 million other people who'd eaten there that day as well. 

 It may have been fast, but this food was boring compared to Lynn's. And local flavor wasn't anywhere on the menu.
 Kim Carlson
 Editorial Director

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story1text: "One of the country's most beloved food bloggers, on how she works."
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story2text: "Deborah Madison muses on all the ripe produce she discovers on a road trip." 

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recipe2text: A luscious seasonal pasta from Nigel Slater.

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