Last month I had the pleasure of reading In Winter’s Kitchen: Growing Roots and Breaking Bread in the Northern Heartland by Beth Dooley. While I’ve never spent time in the mid-west in the winter, I certainly know what it is like to live in Central New York in February. The very thought of eating local foods at that time seems downright impossible! In this inspiring and warm volume Beth details her experience living in the mid-west and the local farmers and producers that live, and thrive in her area. She delves into food politics, environmental realities, and personalities at play. It is inspiring and heartwarming and I highly recommend this book to anyone interest in slow-food and winter fare.
Luckily, Beth was kind enough to answer a few questions for me and I am thrilled to share them with you today. Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom to find out how to win to enter a copy of this book for yourself!
1) I love this in-depth view of winter in Minnesota and the food that you serve as well as the local and national politics surrounding food production. What inspired you to write this book after focusing on cookbooks?
I have always been interested in all aspects of food. Being a lover of cookbooks, my early work focused on recipes. But, I’ve always been curious about flavor so I wanted to find out why locally grown and organic produce tastes better than conventional shipped from far away. I asked the organic farmers who explained how soil is the key to flavor. In order to shun chemicals, these farmers enhance microbial activity, engage beneficial pests, etc. … These practices retain topsoil, help clean groundwater, provide food for pollinators, etc … Local food isn’t packaged or shipped … farms are beautiful (far prettier than strip malls and housing complexes) … I wrote the book because I wanted to share what I’ve learned about good ingredients … recipes are just the beginning of the story. I do believe that food is the most important issue of our life time, central to all the things we care about — quality and flavor; health, environment, public health, social justice and equity, immigration, humane treatment of animals, beauty.