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.