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Each with its own culinary tradition

Minnesota

Minn.’s cold Surly Hell and hot Jucy Lucy

One of my best college friends grew up in Minneapolis, and each summer I visited him I wondered to myself why I didn’t live there. The lakes shine under the warm sun, there are miles and miles of green public space, the food is fantastic, the culture is welcoming and lively, the sports teams have …

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Bundt cake means community – literally

Most Americans today will recognize a Bundt cake when it’s on the table. But for many, the fluted cake with the hole in the middle is particularly reminiscent of the 1950s and ’60s. It was this kind of nostalgia that prompted Marci Hilt to revisit her Bundt pan collection after the death of the pan’s …

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Rhubarb and soft-shell crabs bookend the seasons

This week we said goodbye to spring and hello to summer at the dinner table. Our first soft-shell crabs of the season (summer) were followed by a rhubarb upside down cake (spring) for dessert. Rhubarb is considered a niche item as far south as Washington, D.C. It grows fine until the heat sets in but …

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Eating your way down America’s River

When you say “Mississippi River,” most people don’t immediately think “Lake Itasca, Minnesota.” But the northern glacial lake is the river’s source. And its course through northern states has a food story much different from the one more commonly told toward its southern terminus. In her new book, “Mississippi Current Cookbook,” restaurateur Regina Charboneau traces “a …

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Kitchen Sink: Ginger cookies with a Swedish flavor

The neighborhood children who go to Posey Boicourt’s house in Trappe, Md., to watch the trains go around the Christmas tree, get holiday ginger cookies that may be unfamiliar. In addition to cookies shaped as stars and candy canes, are those that look like the armadillos from Posey’s native Texas; ducks, crabs and starfish that …

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Holiday Drinks: Bring back the Tom and Jerry

Tom and Jerry is more than a cat-and-mouse game. It was once a holiday drink so beloved that many homes (particularly in the Upper Midwest) had punch bowls and cups with Tom & Jerry written across them in Old English gold script. The Tom and Jerry looks like eggnog. But it’s not. It’s a sort …

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Community Kitchen: Grandma Ivy’s ham balls

My love of Swedish ham balls is so primal that I wonder if the aroma of the sauce cooking is what made me realize there might be a reason to move on from breast milk.  These sweet, sumptuous balls quickly became my yearly birthday tradition. When you grow up in Minnesota and your birthday is in December, you need …

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Wild rice: Food for body and soul

Bruce Savage stokes the wood fire under a large, rotating steel drum. From inside comes a soft swishing sound, almost like a rain stick. With updated equipment, he is doing what his ancestors have done for centuries – “finishing” the wild rice gathered on lakes and rivers in northern Minnesota. It’s his contribution to keeping …

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