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Best Cookbook EVAR!!!

May 19, 2009

Haha. Okay, I don’t usually use internet speak like that, but it’s true. Helen Myhre’s “Farm Recipes and Food Secrets from the Norske Nook: The midwest’s #1 roadside cafe” is the best cookbook ever. First published in 1993, it’s basically a compilation of Myhre’s life’s work, that is, being a rural farmwife and cook.

Myhre was far ahead of her time in that throughout the book she stresses the importance of farm-fresh foods (as in, from your back yard, not in plastic box from Walmart labeled “farm fresh”)  and humanely raised, pastured, and humanely slaughtered meat.

The book is chock full of down-home rural recipes for everything from homemade chicken pot pie to fresh corn soup to blueberry cake to strawberry ice cream to gooseberry jam. I want it SO BADLY! The copy I read was rented from the public library (see what I mean about how important they are?).

Myhre’s claim to fame was apparently a note in the Roadside Food books for having the best pie in the country. She went on David Letterman and was apparently hilarious. The cookbook is an extremely fun read because of Myhre’s anecdotes, written in her vernacular. And, unlike other cookbooks, everything is made from scratch and is reflective of its ingredients, so many of the recipes are dependent upon the freshness of the ingredients.

The book can at times seem a little dated, especially when referencing the “Scandinavian” specialties (my area of expertise), all of which are very old immigrant fare, though I suppose that would be what was indicative of Myhre’s experience with “Scandinavian” food. But overall it is an excellent and nearly flawless cookbook. My only complaint is that the section on vegetables is a little scant, but I like veggies.

If you like old-time rural cooking, or church basement dinners, or farm-style cuisine, this is the book for you!

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