Hello From Minnesota!

Sorry there’s no recipe today.  I would have liked to have baked, but I spent the day at General Mills touring the Betty Crocker test kitchen and meeting the people behind brands I’ve used for years — Betty Crocker, Yoplait, Big G cereals.  Having met more than a few General Mills employees at Bake-Off, I knew they were a good bunch, but it was different seeing people at work at their “home base”  and having the opportunity to fire questions at them about why they make things the way they do and what goes into product research.  And of course, we got to try a few new products which I’ll write about in the upcoming days. 

Right now I’m winding down at the Minneapolis Airport Hilton after a late afternoon walk around Mall of America.  I stayed an extra night  so I could visit the mall, buy a few souveniers and see more of Minneapolis.  Oh, and to take an extra day away from Austin’s heat.  The weather here is beautiful and everthing is so green and lush…unlike at home.  Austin needs rain.


  1. Rina says

    Wow, what a great opportunity! I can’t wait to hear about the interesting facts you’re learning at the test kitchen. How exactly does one land a job there? I wonder how the tinkering process differs from that in the Cookie Madness test kitchen. 🙂

  2. says

    Glad you’re enjoying it there. I LOVED the weather when we went there last month, too. No humidity! Hope Austin cools off for you soon. We’re supposed to be in the 70’s all next week, but I’m sure that won’t be without humidity! But I can see fall is on the horizon.
    Sounds like a fun tour of BC! Did you ride any rides at the Mall? hehe

  3. says

    Wow!!! Anna, you’re so close to where I live. Only about 75 miles or so away. I would have driven down in a heartbeat to meet you and show you around, and yes I would have brought cookies! If only I had known!!
    Tonight we went to Blaine, MN to the Velodrome to watch our daughter and her teammates bicycle race. It was a gorgeous night to be outside. It actually was a bit cool before it was all over. Today’s cookies went to the bike racers.
    Enjoy Minnesota while you’re here!!

  4. Kassy says

    Hey, i live in Minnesota about an hour from Minneapolis, but we were actually in the cities at the big state fair today! So close to ya!

  5. Louise says

    Anna, maybe we could send you some rain. We’ve had two inches so far today and it’s only 7 AM. We’re to get plenty more all weekend.

  6. Rynda says

    So glad you are enjoying your stay here. We’ve had a cooler than usual summer. Rest assured, we often have hot, humid summer days but probably not Austin-quality. Safe travels home! Looking forward to hearing about Fuzz’s first days of third grade.

  7. Holly says

    Welcome to MN! I’m a loyal reader and MN native. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed your stop here. Come back again (like another reader, I’d would have come to meet you too!).

  8. says

    Hi All! Thanks for the comments. I can’t type very well on my netbook so I’m only replying to comments with questions. But hello to everyone else. Or should I say, Good Morning!

    Rina, I’m not sure how one goes about getting a job at General Mills, but all the employees seemed happy and I can see why it is consistenly voted one of the top places to work….or at least that’s what my bus driver told me. Heh. I wish I’d taken more pictures of the grounds.

    Katrina, I think MOST of the pictures I took of were rides. I also took some little flip videos of roller coasters at Mall of America and am hoping I can post them when I get home. The funny thing was, the rides looked kind of scary, but the ones riding them were little kids. Maybe the bright colors and Nickelelodeon theme takes some of the fear out of the big, loopy roller coaster? Or maybe roller coasters aren’t as scary looking inside a mall? But these were some good looking rides. I wanted to ride, but I would have looked really out of place.

    Tracy, being from Buffalo, the weather here wouldn’t be problematic for your family. I can see why your son loves it here. People are so friendly.

  9. gayle says

    Wow, you were just 3 miles from my home, Anna! General Mills’ test kitchen is an excellent place to tour and visit. To answer Rina’s question, it is very tough to land a job at “the General”. I happen to have had one interview experience, which involved being invited to write a theme paper after they selected my resume followed by a full day interview experience including a battery of skills testing and interviews with several people, including a lunch on-campus. The MOA is a fun place to tour; as a local, it’s been years since I’ve gone as the place is enormous and presents challenges for a run-of-the-mill shopping excursion. It’s nice that you enjoyed your stay in Minneapolis!

  10. Maria says

    Anna, I was so surprised and excited to see the title of this post! I am an avid reader of your blog and absolutely love it (it gives me a great break in the day from my desk job!). Like a few of the other readers, I also live in MN, in St. Paul. I’m happy you are enjoying our state – come back soon, we’d love to show you around more!

  11. Heather D says

    OMG’sh! Welcome! You were about 20 minutes from where I work…. You should check out the State Fair. It just started yesterday… It is an adventure with all the bizare foods. We are going next week, but one of the “new” foods this year is supposed to be a banana split on a stick????
    So hope you enjoy your visit & come back again!

  12. hulagirl247 says

    hi anna! wishing you a safe journey home……

    when i was a little girl one of my uncles worked at general mills – i can recall going to the factory as a child and i thought it was a wonderful place! i can vivdly recall at christmas time he would give every family a HUGE box of assorted general mills products – and i loved it becasue it was the only time were were allowed to eat some of the other cereals besides cheerios!

    enjoy your weekend!


  13. says

    Gayle and Hula, thanks for the insight. Gayle, I got the impression that employees of the company stick around, so maybe they don’t have a lot of openings in certain areas. Sounds like an interesting experience, though. Hula, your story is funny and I can relate. Years ago I lived in Chicago and had a friend who worked at the cereal factory. He had loads of Reese’s Puffs in his apartment. At the time, they were new and it was a big deal. I kept wondering if that cereal would make it because it seemed like such a novelty. It did.

  14. says

    Oh man… you were here and didn’t say anything?! We could have shown you around the beautiful city and the Mall!

    Hope you were able to enjoy your short stay!

  15. isi says

    Omg, I love your blog!!!!
    I spent a year in Minnesota as a foreign exchange student and just got back to Germany like two weeks ago. I miss America so much and I’m starving American food:) a lot of your recipes remind me of my time in the states and i can’t wait to try ’em!
    Thanks so much, this is great!!!

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