Monday, August 16, 2010

Diasporic Dining XIV: Mill City

Photograph by Hallie Cohen

The Minneapolis Midtown Greenway is a bicycle path that runs through one of the coldest cities in the United States (downtown buildings are linked by closed skyways, which provide protection from the harsh mid-winter cold and give the city center its futuristic Matrix appearance). A statistic: the site of the old Mill Museum, which lies in the shadow of the old Pillsbury and Gold Medal mills, once processed 175 railroad cars of wheat to make 12 million loaves of bread a day. This is the heart of the Midwest, which produced the flour that made such staples of the American diet as Wonder Bread, though most Minneapolitans (cosmopolitan residents of Minneapolis), with their heritage of Scandinavian socialism, are conscientious about both health and diversity. (Minnesota’s Scandinavian roots are also exemplified in all the Svens and Sigs who attend schools like St. Olaf’s and Gustavus Adolphus).

The Midtown Global Market is bazaar of ethnic foods situated on Lake Street, a thoroughfare lined with restaurants that represent the tremendous diversity of a city with one of the largest populations of Hmong in the United States. Still, Minneapolis and its twin city, St. Paul, which is the birth place of F. Scott Fitzgerald, exude the feeling of white-flour Americana, of bologna and mayonnaise sandwiches and Velveeta cheese, of apple pie and the best ice cream in the world, which can be found at Izzy’s on Marshall Avenue. But if you’re looking for art house cinema, don’t miss Minneapolis’s version of Film Forum, The Trylon.

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