Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie: Midwestern writers on food edited by Peggy Wolff

It's no surprise that our recollections of our childhoods and our heritage is interwoven with memories of our favorite foods.  In Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie several writers explore their memories and the foods that help define specific midwestern places in specific time periods.  Whether you're reading about the new state fair craze to deep fry almost anything and put it on a stick, or the memory of those old time apple varieties, I am sure you will find a couple essays that you make you think about your own food memories.  Although a few entries appealed to the foodies (or food snobs) more than to the down home, I certainly enjoyed this book.  I learned about the lore of the Indy 500 in the late 1950s and early 60s, the Iowans love for their pork tenderloin sandwiches, and the history of Chicago's own beef sandwich.  I only wished there had been more entries about Wisconsin's favorite foods.  Wisconsin writers, where are the stories about the Friday fish fry, our Sheboygan brats, or the perfect grilled cheese?  How about a look back to giant farm meals prepared for the hayers or the combiners? I remember my mom slaving in the kitchen on the hottest days of summer to prepare roast beef, fresh corn, mashed potatoes and gravy, finished off with apple pie, made with the early August apples.  Who would want to return to the fields after such a meal?  But they did!!

The short essay about the history of Minnesota's Nordicware and their development of the bundt pan included a revisiting to the 1970s craze for bundt cakes.  That was enough to entice me to dig out my own seldom used nonstick fluted pan, and as you can see in the photo below, our New Year's Eve dinner will include a pistachio (aka Watergate cake) cake.

To memories and a New Year of making them.

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