What else is there for your foodie friends to do in the winter other than read, eat food, and read about food? Probably not much. Food books, therefore, are the perfect gift. Here's our selection of the best in local food books--available at independent book stores citywide.
Minnesota Lunch: From Pasties to Banh Mi edited by James Norton ($19.95)
Lunch is arguably the most neglected meal, what with the plethora of leftovers and increasing convenience of simply slabbing some lunch meat on bread and sticking it in a paper bag. Minnesota Lunch, however, will make you rethink that easy option. Written by Heavy Table editor James Norton, along with Jill Lewis, Susan Pagani, and Lori Writer, Minnesota Lunch covers meals across the entire state, and it includes stories, regional histories, mouth-watering photographs, and great recipes.
A Cook's Tour of Minnesota by Ann Burckhardt ($29.95)
Former Star Tribune food editor Ann Burckhardt compiled over 150 recipes and 40 essays in this culinary tour. The book is divided into four sections. Celebrations and Festivals brings you to, among other events, the Hmong New Year, Cinco de Mayo, the Minnesota State Fair of course, and St. Paul's Rondo Days. Savory Specialties delves into berries, butter, barbecue sauce, spam, and wild rice, and even cabin cooking. The Memorable Places section offers written tours of culinary landmarks such as Carlson's Apple Orchard and Bakery, Mansion Museum, Schumacher's Hotel, and more. Finally, North Star Cooks includes 10 interviews with well-known chefs plus cookbook writer Bea Ojakangas and State Fair judge Jan Stroom.
Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland by Beth Dooley and Lucia Watson ($19.95)
Food writer Beth Dooley and local chef Lucia Watson go well beyond Minnesota and venture into Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, and North Dakota, compiling more than 200 seasonal recipes. They let the food tell the stories of the Midwest's first settlers from Germany, Eastern Europe, Scotland, Scandinavia, and Wales in a very diverse and easy-to-use cookbook.
Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods by Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian ($29.95)
Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian of Edible Communities fame compiled this beautiful full-color book celebrating America's local foods. Recipes are divided by the season for availability of ingredients, and each region is profiled in depth.
Land of Amber Waters: The History of Brewing in Minnesota by Doug Hoverson ($39.95)
No local book list for foodies would be complete without touching on Minnesota's rich brewing history. Written by Doug Heverson, a social studies teacher and debate coach at St. Thomas Academy (who also happens to be an award-winning homebrewer, certified beer judge, and associate editor of the American Breweriana Journal), the book begins by delving into the history of Minnesota's first brewery in 1849 and brings us up to the present day--including a list of close to 300 breweries that have operated in the state.
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