How ‘Normal’ People Eat

Most of these interviews with so-called ‘normal’ people, whom I perceived as having an unusually healthy perspective toward food, were done in 2011-12.

Gina Binole, aka “Adventure Mom,” an old IU newspaper pal who now lives in Portland, Oregon.

Rachel Blakeman, a Fort Wayne city hall dynamo who is also an amazing cook. Getting invited to dinner at Rachel’s is way better than going out to eat.

Rick Bower, Bob’s uncle and a Markle town councilman.

Carl Broman, an old Bluffton friend who’s now a “software wrangler” and blues guitarist in Chicago.

Marcia Crawford, a Fort Wayne dietitian and a long-time source dating back to when I first started at The News-Sentinel in the late 1980s.

Ellen Decker, one of my two normal-sized aunts who married into the food-obsessed Decker clan. (Unfortunately, my Uncle Dan has died since this interview.)

Andy Downs, director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at IPFW

Ted Ellis, longtime mayor of Bluffton, Ind.

Mitch Harper, race director/consultant and longtime Fort Wayne politician who’s served in the Indiana statehouse, on the city council, and most recently ran for mayor.

Jon Hauser, a historical novelist I met through a local writing group. (As a former wrestler, he knows all about dietary agony.)

Gunnar Heller, my brother-in-law who was always the “skinny kid” growing up.

Andrea Hoverman, a Fort Wayne runner who owns and operates a Spiral Spuds business during the summer festival season.

Maria Ijomanta, Cassie’s old physical therapist and a longtime family friend. Her views on the American diet are especially interesting to me, since she grew up in Nigeria.

Brent Isch, my younger brother and the only one of us four kids who never had a weight problem. (Since this interview, however, he’s become a parent – and now he struggles just like the rest of us, only not quite so dramatically.)

Charles Isch, my dad,  also known as “Captain Chicken” for his standard restaurant order.

Karen Lenfestey, author of A Sister’s Promise and What Happiness Looks Like

Ian McKinney, owner/operator of “Keys to Happiness” piano studio and assistant manager of the Young Adult Department at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne.

Bob Milton, retired longtime Norwell cross country coach.

Steve Naragon, philosophy professor at Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind.

Mike Nash, a runner who grew up in Fort Wayne but now works in public affairs at State Farm’s corporate headquarters in Bloomington, Ill.

Jerry Olinger, a delightful guy and one of Bob’s Minnick relatives who retired to Florida a few years ago.

Susan Penrod Osterkil, Fort Wayne dancer, La Leche League official, and founder of the local inclusive homeschool group Live and Learn.

Jon Pontzius, Whitley County, Ind., historian and poet

Karen-Lee Ryan, one of my best college buds who now runs the food-tourism business Walk Eat Nashville.

Gabe Szoke, an old friend from The News-Sentinel who DJ’d our wedding and has now done a music podcast for several years. (He was living in Puerto Rico at the time of this interview; no doubt he’s glad he moved back to Indiana a couple of years ago.)

Faith Van Gilder, former copy desk guru at The News-Sentinel who’s recently moved on to a position with a local ad agency.

Mark Wood, runner, director of digital development with The Tennessean in Nashville, and Karen-Lee Ryan’s husband.

Jeff Yeager, aka the Ultimate Cheapskate, author of The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches and The Cheapskate Next Door.

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