For cookbook author, promoting Midwestern food, family recipes is key

Kristine M. Kierzek

When Maren Ellingboe King inherited her grandmother’s collection of recipes, it launched her into an exploration of her food roots. What she found was a trove of Midwestern recipes and techniques that were often overlooked.

In fact, her own trajectory was one of leaving these things behind, going from Minnesota and her first restaurant job in Hudson, Wis., to New York and a role at Food & Wine magazine, then to California.

It took her grandmother’s handwritten recipe collection, a pandemic and rising food costs for her to clearly see the region’s relevance through recipes.

The Minnesota native puts all of it on display, presenting what she considers a modern Midwest “canon” in her first cookbook, “Fresh Midwest: Modern Recipes from the Heartland” (Countryman Press) in stores Sept. 20. King shows the breadth of Scandinavian and Norwegian influence on Midwestern kitchens, reaching deep into the upper Midwest regions of Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas.

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