“The horizon was like a perfect circle, a great embrace, and within it lay the cornfields, still green, and the yellow wheat stubble, miles and miles of it, and the pasture lands where the white-faced cattle led lives of utter content,” wrote Willa Cather in The Best Years.
Among those fortunate enough to have been born and raised in the Midwest, this is how we think of it. The Heartland holds us, comforts us, makes us stand up straight. Even if we leave, it still claims a place in our hearts.
Thus begins a new book just out this month that completely spoke my name. Heartland: The Cookbook by Judith Fertig is, yes a cookbook, but it’s a lot more. This book celebrates everything that is so wonderful about the very center, the heart of the United States. That would be it’s soil, all it’s vegetation. it’s rivers and lakes, it’s weather, it’s animals, and all the people who live and have lived there.
The first sections of the book makes for very good reading. The Introduction is everything a person wants to know about the Midwest. It’s very interesting, even for those of us who have lived there. The Pantry section sets out some key techniques and recipes that are basic for many of the other recipes in the book. The remaining chapters are about breads, breakfast, appetizers and drinks, salads and soups, main dishes and desserts. Finishing the book was a good listing of resources and an index.
There are so many dishes I want to try but let me just show you my top ten. My plan is to share them with you as I make them.
- Sweet Potato Waffles With Whipped Orange Butter
- No-Knead Clover Honey Dough for various rolls and breads
- Grilled Pear Salad with Bleu Cheese and Honey
- Beet Queen Salad with Smoked Goat Cheese (including how to smoke the cheese)
- Two Drinks: Farm Girl Cosmo and Garden Gimlet
- Crisp Refrigerator Dill Pickles
- Blackberry-Lavender Syrup
- Apple-Smoked Trout with Horseradish Creme Fraiche
- Carmalized Cabbage Rolls
- Honeycrisp Apple Upside-Down Pie
I received this book from the publisher, Andrews McMeel, via NetGalley. That means I have the digital book for only 60 days. But, I loved this book enough that I am going to buy my own copy. It’s one I know I’ll read, use, and treasure for a long time. It’s perfect for people like me with a Heartland heart.
This post is linked to Weekend Cooking, a weekly feature at Beth Fish Reads. Click the button below and it will take you there.