It's been awhile since I've posted here, and I hope you know that it's not because I've lost the food writing bug. I've been very busy, what with writing for Eat Me Daily and real life and planning my research trip for my cookbook...
Yes, cookbook! I quit my job and put the dog in the car, and two days later found myself at my parents' house in Madison, Wisconsin. I'm here for 6 weeks, traveling around the Upper Midwest (Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota), interviewing home cooks and chefs and brew masters and cheese masters and cranberry boggers and State Fair ribbon winners in the hopes of eventually painting a picture of the foods I grew up loving.
This idea stems from my frustration with the Midwestern cookbooks out there--outdated recipes that focus on foods I never ate growing up--jello salads and soups made out of bread and meals that include pork AND meat, like they're different. (Ok, that last one is kind of awesome.) In any case, I want to write a book that people of my generation can identify with. Food has changed during our life time; there's a greater emphasis on health and seasonality. There are entirely different groups of people influencing the cuisine of this region than there were whenever the our traditions were nailed down.
The official summary is as follows:
Three years ago, I moved to Texas after spending my entire life in the Midwest. This summer, I will been spending 6 weeks traveling through Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa researching a cookbook and trying to figure out whether or not leaving was a mistake.
I have three goals with the cookbook: 1. to provide a younger generation's view of the North-Central Midwest and its cooking, as most books on the subject seem dated to me; 2. to provide a broader view of Midwestern cuisine that includes newer immigrant groups, like Hmong and Somalis, and 3. to provide a personal account of a road trip through Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota.
I intend to leave for Wisconsin July 1 and return to Texas in early-mid August. I am currently in the process of developing an itinerary of interviews to conduct as well as food festivals and restaurants to visit, and expect my schedule to be rather packed.
If you have any ideas of places to visit, people to interview, or dishes to make, please leave a comment. I'm tweeting from the road at @upnorthcookbook