Saturday, August 22, 2015

Kitchens of the Great Midwest and Temptation

Last week I missed Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking meme because for the second weekend out of three, our internet was down.  Turns out our neighbor was attempting to fix a leak in his backyard and cut through the neighborhood phone lines with his backhoe.  An accident, but a frustrating weekend nonetheless.

However, without the internet, there is more time to read actual books, so it wasn't all bad.

J. Ryan Stradal's novel is about a number of different things. First off, there's Eva, who possesses the type of palate most chefs only dream of having.  Her father, Lars, must have passed down this gift since he was already dreaming of the foods he would introduce her to when she was still an infant.  

Eva grows up and eventually starts her own very successful business, a destination meal that blends together the food with the locale where it is served.  The wait list to attend a meal like this and the expense ensure that those who are able to experience this are extremely lucky.

In addition to the main character, Eva, Stradal introduces a new character in each chapter who has somehow been a part of Eva's life.  Each chapter also focuses on a midwest food or dish - lutefisk and venison are two of them- that also blend seamlessly into the storyline.

And while all of this works so well together, Stradal's novel is also about mothers and daughters and the ties that bind them together even when they are apart.  

With recipes included, I can't find anything missing from this amazing novel.  Kitchens of the Great Midwest has already garnered great praise, which in my opinion is well deserved.

And, since there were some amazing recipes included, I decided to try one out myself.  Bars must be a midwest thing since nearly every potluck I've ever attended has always had a great selection.

I had to try the county fair winning bar recipe of Pat's from Kitchens of the Great Midwest

2 1/2 c crushed graham cracker crumbs
1 cup melted Grade A butter
1 cup peanut butter
2 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 c milk chocolate chips with 1 tsp Grade A butter

Mix together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, peanut butter and powdered sugar.  Pat into greased 9x13 pan. Melt the chips and butter and spread them on top of bars.  Set in refrigerator until firm.  Cut into bars.

I can't tell you how many little wedges I've cut out of the pan of bars this past week.  An easy recipe and a little too tempting to have around my house very often.

If you're interested in reading other food related posts, head over to Beth Fish Reads and check out her Weekend Cooking meme.


Katherine P said...

This book has been on my TBR for a little while and I'm so glad to see how much you enjoyed it. It looks fantastic! I've made bars similar to that recipe (though none with graham crackers - I'm very intrigued) and they're definitely dangerous to have around the house! I'll have to make them soon but wait until I have people I can give at least half the pan away!

Kay said...

I have read several good reports about this book. None with pictures of bars though. LOL

They sound good and I do understand that need to go back make sure 'the lines are straight' on those bars. ;-)

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

I got this book at BEA and can't wait to read it after hearing so many good things about it.

Beth F said...

Arghhhh, I can't believe I haven't read this yet. It looks so good, and since I'm Midwest born and bred, I know I'll love it. These are great cookies -- I make them now with a peanut butter substitute, but still irresistible.

Trish said...

Someone else linked to this book this weekend and mentioned some bars--wonder if these are what she was referring to. Sounds delicious!!! I'm a BIG fan of bar desserts (not sure if it's a midwestern thing or not). Yum! And I've heard nothing but glowing things about this book--glad you enjoyed it!

Vicki said...

This is the second time I've seen this book today. It sounds interesting.

Christina T said...

I have an ARC of this and need to read it soon. I love "foodie" books especially when they include recipes. The bars look really good. I bet book groups would like this book and have fun trying the recipes too.

Carole said...

Now I'm definitely going to hunt this book down. Cheers from Carole's Chatter!

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) said...

Glad you enjoyed this one! I loved the beginning, but got frustrated through the middle when Eva sort of disappeared from the story. But, I bet Pat's bars were yummy!!

Sue Jackson said...

I keep hearing such GREAT things about this novel - I am dying to read it! Thanks for the review - and the bars look delicious! I had to laugh at your line about cutting tiny wedges out of the pan - that's so hard to resist isn't it? And those tiny pieces don;t really count, right??


Book By Book