All Spice, Your Mom's Bakery, Des Moines Art Center
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July 7, 2020  |  VIEW AS WEBPAGE
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Try these three spices from Allspice to energize your recipes, from deviled eggs to white fish to black beans.


By Wini Moranville

You’ve heard of “chef’s choice,” right? That’s when you just shut the menu and say, “bring me whatever the chef thinks I should have tonight.” I’ve discovered some great dishes this way.

Recently, I decided to do the same thing with Allspice Culinarium. In addition to ordering a few favorites I’d run out of (za’atar, sumac, tarragon and chipotle chili powder), I slipped owner Rory Brown $25 more to tuck whatever he thought I should try. “Surprise me,” I said.

Thanks to this roll of the dice, I won big and recently energized my cooking. Here’s what I snagged:

Paella Seasoning: A while back, I raved about Allspice’s heavenly Seared Salmon Blend. The Paella Seasoning brings equal dynamism to white fish varieties. The mélange of garlic, onion, chiles, turmeric, paprika and saffron enlivens foods with a spicy-bright heat and haunting floral and bitter qualities. I recently loved the flavor (and saffron-yellow hue) it added to a seared-then-roasted rockfish; Brown suggests using it on shrimp and scallops, too.

Wild Mushroom Seasoning: You know how Italian cooks call on porcini mushroom to add richness to sauces? This seasoning makes it easy to add porcini richness to steaks and burgers before grilling. Come this fall, this blend is headed for my mushroom pastas and risottos—and meatloaf. Brown also likes adding it to a rich and gooey hot cheese dip.

Cancun Rub: Did Rory Brown read my mind? This spice seems tailor-made for black beans, which I’ve been cooking every which way this summer (in flautas, tostadas, in salads and as a bonus to huevos rancheros). Rather than measuring out this and that from a half a dozen different jars, this spirited blend lets me add garlic, onion, cumin, paprika, cayenne and citrus in one fell swoop.

P.S.: I tried all three blends in deviled eggs (always a perfect blank slate for great spice blends). While all three tasted all-out good, the wild mushroom seasoning tasted all-out amazing.

Allspice is at 400 East Locust, Suite 5; 515-868-0808.

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Strawberry-filled chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream from Your Mom's Bakery are equal parts tasty as visually appealing.


Writer: Karla Walsh

Each week in dsmWeekly, we’ll introduce you to a local food company owned by a person of color. Catch up on the first four features: Street Eats DSM, G.G.’s Chicken & Waffles, Palm’s Carribean Cuisine and Artis T’s Catering.

Amanda Hupton’s passion for baking began with her Easy-Bake Oven. It became real when “we couldn’t fit enough brownies into the small Easy-Bake and had to start using the real oven” to bake at a scale that would cure her siblings' cravings.

Her baking talents rose to the occasion in a middle school home economics class, and came in handy when her daughter, Alyce, started noticing stomach symptoms that appeared to be linked to gluten intolerance.

“We’ve cut a lot of bread from our diet and started using gluten-free flour for pancakes," Hupton says. "One test came back positive, but not enough for an official celiac disease diagnosis."

Still, Alyce felt a lot better without the wheat, so Hupton made it a priority for her family, which she says “was actually a fairly easy switch.” That switch inspired her to research local bakeries with gluten-free options, and while she found many that offered these products, few were certified gluten-free and could promise no cross-contamination.

That's how she came up with Your Mom’s Bakery, which passed its inspection on May 22 — yes, mid-pandemic — and is one of the newest food businesses in Des Moines. While you might guess the name of the cookie, cake and cupcakes bakery is a tribute to her mother, it’s actually a nod to owner-operator Hupton’s sharp sense of humor.

“My mom was a busy single mom and not that great of a cook herself,” Hupton says. “My older brother watched us while mom worked, my older sister cleaned and I learned how to cook. My mom loves my bakery now and is so excited to see where those brownies have taken me.”

To make people giggle, Hupton’s response to questions is occasionally “your mom.”

“So I thought it would be funny if, when people asked, ‘Where did you get those cupcakes?’ my customers could say, ‘Your Mom!’ My daughter Alyce laughs, ‘Wait, it is my mom’s bakery!’” Hupton laughs.

To spread the word about her new company, Hupton has been hosting giveaways on her Facebook page and will be partnering with Bess’s Kitchen, another local Black-owned business, to provide desserts at their pop-up picnics this summer. By day, she’s a security officer at a data center and a full-time mom of two (a son and daughter). By night, Hupton is developing a diverse array of her signature stuffed cupcakes (“my favorite is a chocolate cupcake with strawberry filling and cream cheese icing,” she says.)

Eventually, Hupton hopes to have a storefront and make Your Mom’s Bakery her full-time job. She dreams of baking large-scale cakes for weddings, birthdays and other events, and promises that she can convince even the skeptics that “gluten-free can be amazing and moist when you have the correct flour combinations and don’t overmix. When you put love into what you do, it’s going to come out lovely. And a lot of practice and hard work helps, too!”

Check out the current menu on Facebook and contact Hupton via email (yourmombakes4u@gmailcom) or phone (515.257.3092) to place and order.
The Des Moines Art Center is taking steps to ensure visitor safety. Photo: Des Moines Art Center


Months after closing its doors in response to COVID-19, the Des Moines Art Center is planning to reopen to the community today.

The Art Center is taking numerous steps to ensure the safety of its visitors and staff, including timed, ticketed entry, detailed wayfinding to facilitate social distancing, increased cleanliness, and required mask-wearing. Some in-person events and offerings are being postponed.

When visitors return to the Art Center, they can expect to see a mix of familiar favorites as well as newcomers from the Art Center’s permanent collections. Director Jeff Fleming said in a statement that he hopes it feels like “a welcome home.”

The Art Center plans to continue offering
virtual tours, online summer camps and classes, and more from wherever visitors prefer. You can find more information here.

In conjunction with the reopening is a new exhibition, "Landscapes in Watercolor," a selection of more than two dozen watercolors from the museum’s collections, created between 1885 and 1980. Organized by curator Jared Ledesma, these works reveal the ability of watercolor to capture the changing effects of light and weather on seashores, grasslands, forests and farmland.

Artists in the exhibition include Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper and John Marin, among many others. The exhibition will remain on view throughout the summer, with a closing date to be determined.

To learn more about how the Art Center has pivoted during the pandemic, listen to our dsm CultureCast podcast with Jordan Powers, director of marketing and public relations, and Jason Gross, board trustee, from April.

Ta Kaw Htoo and her granddaughter are part of the Global Greens program through Lutheran Services in Iowa, which grows fresh vegetables for sale in Des Moines. Photo: Adam Albright


Writer: Samantha S. Thorpe

At a community garden each spring, the action is brisk and enthusiasm is high.

Wheelbarrows haul compost and mulch to fill beds and protect pathways. Families and retirees alike study established garden plots to spark inspiration for DIY trellises, fences and raised bed designs. Gardeners of all stripes tote seed packets, onion sets and maybe even strawberries to tuck into the garden’s enriched ground. And both new and returning gardeners connect with one another about what they’re growing this year and any secret growing tips.

This west-side garden on Franklin Avenue is one of three managed through Des Moines’ Parks and Recreation Department. Others are the Downtown Community Garden and Woodlawn Community Garden. Each provides opportunities for local residents to plant side-by-side with their neighbors, some as young as age 13.

Individual plots, available for $25 for the entire growing season, measure 150 square feet. The city chips in free water, hoses and all the tools. With each plot comes a duty to provide two hours of volunteer time, with jobs such as maintaining the common pollinator garden, helping manage the garden hoses, and managing donations to area food banks.

“People often have an abundant crop and donate food,” says Jen Fletcher, marketing supervisor for Des Moines Parks and Rec.

Read the rest of "A Growing Community," a feature in our new dsm Inclusion magazine. Find the rest of the publication here.

Iowa Stops Hunger is a yearlong Business Publications Corp. initiative to bring awareness and action to food insecurity in Iowa.

Joseph LeValley, a local author, is the first speaker in the DSM Book Festival's virtual Iowa Author Series.


After canceling this year's in-person event, the DSM Book Festival is kicking off digital programming that will lead into next year’s event on March 27, 2021. The virtual experiences will include an interactive Iowa Author Series and a virtual DSM Book Club.

The Iowa Author Series is a space for inspiring writers to speak with local, published authors on a monthly basis. The series will feature online presentations via Zoom on the writing and publishing journey of Iowa authors. The first featured author will be Joseph LeValley, author of “Cry From an Unknown Grave,” at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15. Advanced registration is required.

The second Iowa Author Series event is with Kali White at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 19. White is the author of “The Monsters We Make,” a fictional story based on the 1980s real-life kidnappings of a Des Moines Register paperboy.

The other virtual event, DSM Book Club, is a monthly installment for dedicated readers. The selections will highlight authors who will be featured at the 2021 DSM Book Festival. The first book club pick will be “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones. This love story is an insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control.

Those interested can register to join the book discussion at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 30. Jones is scheduled to present at the 2021 Festival as part of the Des Moines Public Library’s Authors Visiting in Des Moines (AViD) series.
Claudia Cackler joined the dsm CultureCast podcast to discuss the Iowa Architectural Foundation.


As the pandemic gripped the nation in mid-March, Executive Director Claudia Cackler knew the ramifications for the Iowa Architectural Foundation would be huge. A large part of the organization's budget relies on event revenue. Without gatherings, there would be trouble, as Cackler explained on the latest dsm CultureCast podcast.

"We had our biggest year yet planned, and everything the foundation does revolve around gatherings," Cackler said. "So we really had to do a big pivot, like everyone. ... We had to take a step back, and everything has been canceled or postponed."

As the only full-time staffer of the organization, Cackler said the pandemic has been a "kick in the gut." But there are some successes and optimism as of late. On June 13, the foundation hosted a virtual "Everyone is Served" event celebrating the renovation of the Edna Griffin Building downtown, a major civil rights and architectural landmark. At a time when Black Lives Matter dominated the national discourse, there were contributions from Des Moines' Black community, including performances from Pyramid Theatre Co.

Looking ahead, the foundation is relaunching its annual Architecture on the Move tours, which kick off Friday and are held every second Friday of the month. The event will respect social distancing, and masks are encouraged.  

"These are beloved tours," Cackler said. "This is one of the main ways we serve the community, and people have a lot of fun on these."

The Architectural Foundation has also created an app that allows people to experience Des Moines' architecture on their own, with information about various buildings available on demand.

Listen to the rest of the podcast here.
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