on January 21, 2013
I bought this book for the pasty chapter and that chapter alone is just about worth the price of this book. Three recipes plus a really good discussion of what exactly the different groups believe a pasty should and shouldn't be. What I didn't expect (but really enjoyed) was the wide-ranging discussion about the historical issues that surround each one of the sandwiches profiled. This ends up being a very good Minnesota history on immigration and the food industry (with a little bit of the State Fair thrown in) plus the chef driven recipes and inside information you'd expect from the Heavy Table. I am totally making the pickled ramp mayo when ramps are back in season.
Only complaint - this is more a history and less a cookbook. There are some excellent recipes, but there are other chapters where the recipes get minimal attention. I understand that they couldn't get the original recipes in some cases, but I was still disappointed by the jucy lucy and turkey sandwich recipes in particular. Perhaps these chapters only came up short because other chapters had multiple takes on the sandwich from a variety of perspectives. It's still a strong book and highly recommended for anyone who likes Minnesota food or Minnesota history.
As a companion to this book, I also highly recommend Beth Dooley and Lucia Watson's cookbook - Savoring The Seasons of the Northern Heartland. It's referred to in this book in the pasty chapter (their take on Eleanor Ostman's mother's recipe was not without controversy). It's back in print again and is very, very solid. Minnesota cooking without the condensed soup.
on May 4, 2011
This is a wonderful book! If you don't live in Minnesota, this is one of those books that makes you want to go there for good food. My mouth waters whenever I look at the cover. Eating my first Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich is now a high priority on my to-do list. The stories by James Norton, Jill Lewis, Susan Pagani and Lori Writer are well-written and add even more flavor to foods that already look so tasty. Thank you for this delicious book. ~Land Wilson