Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Road trip! Iowa, Grant Wood, "Calisay"

Some people scoff at a trip to Iowa. They have not been paying attention to this.

Or this. Doesn't it just look as though Miss Marple lives here, and will set out in a moment to investigate some horrid village crime? The house happens to be for sale.

The view down the village street. I am not sure Chipping Cleghorn, or even Miss Marple's St. Mary Mead, has crabapple trees quite so beautiful as these in Iowa City.

Nor lilacs.

And here is the house you buy, when you are the famous painter Grant Wood and you have just made your fortune off American Gothic. The address is 1142 Court Street, just four doors down from my cousin's house. A local lawyer owns it now, and has willed it to the University of Iowa for an artists' residence after his death. I hope the kids in future don't trash the place.

And, not an hour away, pelicans fly over the Mississippi River. On the way home we finally doubled back to stop and look at that huge expanse of water.

We also had a cocktail or two. First, in honor of the drive through farmlands just going under the discs before planting, the Country Life:

1 part dark rum
2 parts whiskey
3 dashes bitters
1 dash orange bitters 

Shake well with ice, strain into a cocktail glass.

And, because everybody in Iowa City practically owns a well-behaved dog which they take out walking on well-behaved, flowery streets, the Barking Dog.

1 part gin
1 part dry vermouth
1 part sweet vermouth
2 dashes Caliday*

Stir well with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

*I assume this is the Calvert Party Encyclopedia's misprint for Calisay, a Spanish brand of herbal-bitter liqueur. Herbal-bitter-cinnamon, to be precise. Sounds delicious. "Rarely exported." 

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