Fish Tales

In 1983, the cartoonist Richard Guindon, a Minnesota native, published a book titled The World According to Carp. The title referenced a popular John Irving novel, made into a movie in 1982. But Guindon’s drawings were distinctly Minnesotan, filled with people wearing ear-flap hats, holding jumper cables, forking lutefisk. I have no idea how the book sold in stores; however, I can tell you that, at age 13, I found it hilarious. One sketch spoofed an orange-juice slogan popular at the time: The caption read, “Carp—Not Just for Breakfast Anymore.”

Guindon was joking. But eating carp is among the solutions recently proposed by the White House as a way to deal with the spread of a nasty invasive species. Asian carp are voracious creatures that have despoiled lakes and riverways across the Midwest. Scientists haven’t officially confirmed the fish’s arrival in Minnesota, but as senior editor Tim Gihring reports in this month’s feature story “The One That Got Away” (page 58), anglers on Lake Pepin say they’re already all-too-familiar with the beast. For Minnesotans, the threat is considerable—not only might Asian carp ruin our 10,000-plus lakes, rivers, and wetlands, they could also put a curb on our recreational traditions, from walleye fishing to water-skiing. So far, efforts to contain the species have been hampered by a variety of issues—mostly political—but Gihring notes that some experts still have hope that an environmental crisis can be averted. Is the answer eating carp (or shipping them to China to be eaten) as some have proposed? It’s a question worth pondering, though perhaps not at breakfast.

Speaking of meals, when’s lunch? I’ve worked up quite an appetite this month while perusing the photos that accompany this month’s cover story on lunches (page 48). Once again, senior editor Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl has done the hard work for our readers, eating her way across the Twin Cities to find more than 75 soups, salads, sandwiches, and other entrées that will satisfy anyone looking to spice up the midday meal. Sushi? It’s here. Tacos, borscht, and meatball hoagies? Take your pick. The only thing missing, of course, is carp.

Joel Hoekstra, Editor


Photographer Todd Buchanan, charged with styling and shooting numerous soups, sandwiches, sushi, and more for this month’s lunch cover, contributes regularly to the magazine. Before joining Minnesota Monthly, he freelanced for such publications as the New York Times, Washington Post, Businessweek, Fortune, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report. He moved to Minnesota from Chicago in 2007.

Minnesota Monthly art director Kirsten Mortensen’s job involves cropping photos. But recently, our style editor Katie Dohman persuaded Mortensen to crop her long hair. The results can be seen in this photo and are documented online (see “Getting Snippy” on the Scout blog at When not working (or primping), Mortensen enjoys biking with her husband, watching baseball, and eating nachos.

Thomas Strand has photographed numerous subjects for the magazine, from Minneapolis Federal Reserve economist Art Rolnick to Twins mascot T.C. Bear. Last summer, however, Strand took on a particularly dangerous assignment, traveling to Illinois to photograph Asian carp, which tend to leap out of the water when disturbed. Strand survived the experience, but not without a few bruises.