I just picked up a new book that I can’t wait to dig into. Oh, it’s filled with glossy gorgeous photos, a splashy readable layout and little tidbits of information that just pull me in. And it’s all about local food.
I’m talking about Taste: Seasonal Dishes from a Prairie Table by CJ Katz (2012), and yes, I’m excited to read a cookbook. How could you not be when harvest has wrapped up and you have a house full of goodies stored for the winter? It feels like time to cozy into a winter of home-cooked meals.
I’ve saved a special spot on my bookshelf for Taste, right beside the first book about local food that stole my heart. That was Prairie Feast: A writer’s journey home for dinner by Amy Jo Ehman (2010). This book is really more of a love story about a local food, with a few recipes tossed in for good measure. Amy Jo and her husband take on a personal challenge to eat locally for a year. This was in 2005, before the 100 mile diet was on everyone’s radar. Their journey is funny, endearing and thought-provoking.
As a farm-raised Saskatchewan girl myself, Amy Jo’s book was like a glass of fresh water that I just didn’t want to see the bottom of. Here was my food! Celebrated! Honoured! Her stories of harvesting vegetables from her mother’s garden, of marathon rounds of canning to squirrel food away for the winter, of the wild game filling her freezer, of community suppers, of meeting the local farmers who grew her food, connected deeply to my experience of food. This was home. This was the food that made me. It was so exciting to see myself reflected in her experiences, and I suspect I wasn’t the only prairie-raised person to think so.
Now I have another book to devour: it’s making me feel like I’m home for dinner.
By: Yolanda Hansen
President, REACH Board of Directors