Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Hitting the sauce May 9, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Cry Baby Craig’s, Faribault made hot sauce, which I love. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo May 2022)

STEREOTYPICAL RURAL MINNESOTANS, especially those of Scandinavian descent—of which there are many—avoid spicy foods. Just a hint of heat in chili is plenty, thank you. And to flavor hotdish, pass the salt and pepper, please. Oh, and that hot sauce, no thank you.

But at least one Minnesota woman, arrested recently in Faribault, loves to spice things up.

Faribault police responded to a disturbance call on April 16 only to find the woman speeding away in her car, evading them. When she eventually stopped, the officer noticed signs of intoxication. But the 32-year-old refused to take field sobriety tests. This is all according to police reports.

A popular mass-produced hot sauce. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo May 2022)

As the officer was preparing a preliminary breath test, the woman “grabbed a bottle of hot sauce and began drinking it.” Yes, you read that correctly. She hit the hot sauce in an apparent effort to avoid alcohol detection. Once arrested and taken to jail, the driver refused to take a breathalyzer test.

Made in Faribault, Minnesota, Cry Baby Craig’s hot sauce. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo May 2022)

The report about the incident in the April 29 issue of “The Point After” police newsletter doesn’t list the hot sauce brand consumed. I’m wondering because…a popular Minnesota hot sauce, Cry Baby Craig’s, is made right here in historic downtown Faribault. I hope she was at least loyal to her hometown brand.

While the hot sauce consumption rates as not the brightest idea ever, I give the woman credit for creativity and for making me laugh. But the rest of this incident is not at all humorous, entertaining or smart. There is nothing funny or wise about allegedly driving while under the influence. She now faces charges of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, 2nd degree DWI, DWI test refusal and child endangerment. There were two children in the car with her. No amount of hot sauce will hide that fact.

© Copyright 2022 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

From Faribault: A pivoting parking lot perspective December 9, 2021

The back of buildings in the 400 block of Central Avenue, Faribault. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo 2021)

EVERY DAY WE PASS BY sights which often become so woven into our environment that we no longer see them. Until one day we pause. And notice.

Recently, I stopped to look around me, standing in a parking lot along Minnesota State Highway 60/Fourth Street, a half-block off Central Avenue next to Corks & Pints.

I rotated, taking in seemingly ordinary scenes. Part of the fabric of Faribault. Past and present.

A sign marks Jack Cruikshank’s business. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo 2021)

Cruikshank Construction. I don’t know whether Jack Cruikshank still has his construction business. But, many decades ago, he installed replacement windows in our home. And he operated a paint store that was our go-to place for paint. Jack knew paint and was willing to share his expertise. For a while, he also had a bookstore in his shop. Jack was/is an exceptional individual and businessman—trustworthy, friendly, kind, knowledgeable, genuine and caring…

A cab company with a focus and message. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo 2021)
More messages on this cab. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo 2021)

I saw the same care written upon windows of a van, from which a couple disembarked while the driver of Cross Road Cab waited inside. I didn’t talk to him, but rather noted the messages of support for veterans, troops and freedom. Plus his stand against driving while intoxicated.

The grey building in the foreground houses Corks & Pints with 10,000 Drops in the brick building. The historic brick structure originally housed Peterson Art Furniture. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo)

The pair walked toward Corks & Pints and 10,000 Drops Craft Distillers. A mural, “Ice Skating on the Straight River,” graces the side of 10,000 Drops. It’s based on a vintage photo. The transformation of this downtown anchor corner has been a real asset to our community. Pre-distillery, the building housed an antique shop and architectural salvage business. It was dark, cluttered and not all that appealing. But now, wow. With the inside gutted and opened up, the distillery interior features wood floors, exposed beams, brick walls and much more, including cozy spaces to visit. It’s unlike any other place in Faribault. An inviting setting to enjoy a locally handcrafted cocktail with friends. Inside, or outside on the patio. Corks & Pints is part of the complex, housed next door in the former F-Town Brewing located in a former garage. It’s a tap house and wine bar, another welcoming spot to connect and converse.

Cry Baby Craig’s can’t miss signature orange truck. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo 2021)

A while ago, Cry Baby Craig’s focused conversation in our downtown. Craig Kaiser moved his hot sauce business to Faribault, into a former sporting goods store at 405 Central Avenue North. CBC’s highly-acclaimed habanero and garlic hot sauce is a staple in our refrigerator. And it’s become a favorite among restaurants in the metro and beyond.

If you’re mostly unfamiliar with Faribault, I hope you’ve learned a thing or ten about our town via my pivoting parking lot perspective. And, if you’re local, I invite you to pause and appreciate all that our community offers.

© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling