Saturday, October 29, 2011

Weekend Cooking

A unique look at a little-known corner of America, Michigan's beautiful Upper Peninsula, where the simple values of life--family, friends, the good earth and good food it produces--still abide. The book is a compilation of happy thoughts and memories of good times and good food that can be made with these unique recipes. This award-winning cookbook is filled with Americana nostalgia and 330 wonderful recipes.

I bought this wonderful cookbook on vacation in Michigan one summer years ago and it is by far one of my favorites. When we were checking out of the gift shop my husband was grumbling about spending $20 on a cookbook and the man standing next to us told him "my wife has that book and it will be the best $20 you ever spent!"  Not only does it have delicious recipes, divided by seasons, it has delicious stories with every section.

from the inside flap:   Julia Ratliff Chard is known as Judy or Gramma Judy to her multitude of friends, but respectfully called Mrs. Chard by her delighted summer customers. She and her husband Marv have enjoyed 64 years of a truly fulfilled life together, almost all of it spent in a beautiful and uniquely pristine corner of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that could be the crossroads of yesterday hidden in anyone's heart.
   For some years, Mrs. Chard has operated a charming little produce stand for summer visitors to the Les Cheneaux Islands (The Snows). Nestled in the shade of maple and tamarack trees, against a backdrop of the giant sunflowers that frame her bountiful garden, it and the warm personalities of the Chards immediately invite one into a world of nostalgia and tranquility
   The stand, with its uncontrived, richly colorful arrays of vegetables and fruits, interspersed with hollyhocks and marigolds, inspired this book, which is a compilation of happy thoughts and memories of good times and good food. It reflects an unaffected approach to good cooking that can still be enjoyed today.

   The chapters are introduced by a series of letters that Mrs. Chard has written the author about her garden and the stand, her family and the community. With sporadically placed little antidotes along the sides of the pages and little notes under each recipe title it is a joy to just sit and read!

   As a child the author, Bonnie Stewart Mickelson, spent every summer in the Les Cheneaux Islands on the northern shore of Lake Huron at her grandparents vacation property.

BUSH BAY MEATLOAF                        Serves 4-6
prepare: 20 minutes                   bake: 1-1/4 hrs

   Are you adventuresome? The biggest complaint about meatloaf is that it can be boring. Well, this one certainly isn't! We love it for the venison because the different spices help if the meat tends to be gamey. If you have a food processor, it's a snap!

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef or venison                   
1/2 lb. lean ground pork                                 
1 C. Finely chopped onion                           
1/2 C. grated carrot                                  
1/2 C. finely chopped celery  
1/4 C. finely chopped green pepper       
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1 tsp. salt  
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 C. dry bread crumbs
1/2 C. catsup
3 eggs, beaten                                      
1/2 C. light cream
Pre-heat oven to 350*
Combine all ingredients lightly but thoroughly. Place in a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Bake 1-1 1/4 hrs, until done.
Note: Makes wonderful next-day sandwiches for die-hard fishermen!
Antidote on side of page
Best story I ever heard was the one about the hunter who came up for almost the whole season, but never could find his wool socks that supposedly his wife had packed for him. He went back without a buck and furious about no socks. When he accused her of forgetting them, she opened his gun case and there they all were. Some brunch of hunting he had done!
Then the fellow from Detroit who had worked up until 11pm, then drove all night up here and went straight into the woods to hunt. He sat down against a tree just to rest for a minute but fell asleep. He woke up to see a deer right in front of him. In his panic, instead of pulling the trigger he racked every shell out on the ground. The buck shook his head then ambled off into the woods. 

I love this meatloaf recipe and use it all the time, except I use all beef. It does make the best sandwiches! Other recipe titles that I cook often are:
Sloppy Snow Joes
Gertie K's Beef with Sauerkraut
Snow's Chili (alias Cincinnati Chili)
Runway Tavern Stew
Baked Hominy with Cheese
Country Noodle Bake
Baked Shoe Peg Corn  
Feather Light Corn Fritters
Toffee Nutmeg Cake
Peanut Butter Pie
and The Best Ever Apple Crisp

Happy Cooking and Reading! 

This post is linked to Weekend Cooking a weekly feature at Beth Fish Reads.It is open to anyone who has any kind of food related post to share. Could be a cookbook review, a recipe, a quote about food, a picture, as long as it is about food! Join in, its lots of fun!

Remember, leave a comment and a link to your site!


Esme said...

This sounds like such a fun book. Thank you for sharing.

caite said...

I like the sound of that recipe...with the beef and the pork and all those nice additions.
It sounds like a nice cookbook to just sit down and look through.

btw, I totally love that pic you have as your header.
where was it taken? Is it yours?

TheBookGirl said...

I can't get enough of cookbooks that have stories about the places the food comes from as this one seems to. I think the personal touch of the letters that introduce each chapter is lovely.
I don't know much about the Upper Pennisula, so this would be very interesting to me.

Uniflame said...

I love the cover of the book. It looks like a fairytale :)

My weekend cooking:

Beth F said...

I have this book!!! But I'm not sure I've ever cooked out it. I grew up in northern Ohio and we spent half our lives in northern Michigan skiing in the winter or renting a cottage in the summer. We also sailed so I've been all along Lake Huron and up to Mackanic. I bet I picked this up on one of those trips. Now to track it down.

Loved the stories too.

Heather (@ said...

This sounds like a fun book...and one I'd love, growing up a Michigan girl =) I would love a fat meatloaf sandwich from the leftovers right now!