Homemade: Finnish Rye, Feed Sack Fashion, and Other Simple Ingredients from My Life in Food (Paperback)
Beatrice Ojakangas, the oldest of ten children, came by it naturally—the cooking but also the pluck and perseverance that she's served up with her renowned Scandinavian dishes over the years. In the wake of the Moose Lake fires and famine of 1918, Ojakangas tells us in this delightful memoir-cum-cookbook, her grandfather sent for a Finnish mail-order bride—and got one who’d trained as a chef.
Ojakangas’s stories, are, unsurprisingly, steeped in food lore: tales of cardamom and rye, baking salt cake at the age of five on a wood-burning stove, growing up on venison, making egg rolls for Chun King, and sending off a Pillsbury Bake Off–winning recipe without ever making it. And from here, how those early roots flourished through hard work and dedication to a successful (but never easy) career in food writing and a much wider world, from working for pizza roll king Jeno Paulucci to researching food traditions in Finland and appearing with Julia Child and Martha Stewart—all without ever leaving behind the lessons learned on the farm. As she says, “first you have to start with good ingredients and a good idea.”
Chock-full of recipes, anecdotes, and a kind humor that bring to vivid life the Finnish culture of northern Minnesota as well as the wider culinary world, Homemade delivers the savory and the sweet in equal measures and casts a warm light on a rich slice of the country’s cooking heritage.
About the Author
Beatrice Ojakangas grew up on a small farm in Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota–Duluth. Childhood 4-H, college Home Ec, and work as a hospital dietary assistant, food editor, teacher, homemaker, and mother influenced her cooking career and her food writing for such publications as Gourmet, Bon Appétit, Woman's Day, Family Circle, Better Homes and Gardens, Midwest Living, Cooking Light, and numerous newspapers. Ojakangas is the author of twenty-nine cookbooks and was inducted in 2005 to the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame. She received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Minnesota in 2007.
"Beatrice Ojakangas has long been my personal cookbook hero. Her life story, told with candor and dry wit, describes what could be nine lives in the world of food and cooking—all of them riveting. From her mother’s cardamom-scented rural kitchen, to the editorial offices of the famed Sunset magazine, to her rightful place cooking alongside Julia Child, to her Minnesota kitchen where she authored twenty-nine (now thirty!) cookbooks, this book proves that Beatrice Ojakangas is not only one of this country’s most important food writers, but a national treasure. As I read, I laughed, got very hungry, picked my rhubarb, wept with fondness, and then I did what she’d want me to do: I pulled myself together, tied on an apron, and preheated my oven."—Amy Thielen, author of The New Midwestern Table
"Beatrice Ojakangas makes her compelling family stories rich for all senses: we smell the cardamom in the bread cooling on the counter, savor the cream of morel soup, and long for chiffon cake. Best of all, we experience the joy of recreating these flavors ourselves with the recipes she provides. This book is a public service to history as well as to our stomachs."—Lucie Amundsen, co-owner of Locally Laid Egg Company and author of Locally Laid: How We Built a Plucky, Industry-changing Egg Farm—from Scratch
"Even if you've never visited Minnesota or taken a sauna, the warm, conversational tone makes for an engaging read. "—Tangled Up in Food
"Foodies everywhere, especially those who have an interest in the actual cooks behind the recipes will thoroughly enjoy this well-written book. Ojakangas is a wonderful, down-to-earth person; regular people can relate to her, and this cookbook will provide not only good recipes, but a good reading experience."—BellaOnline
"I highly recommend Homemade for any kitchen. The recipes are easy to follow and Beatrice's story is a wonderful accompaniment. "—Heavree Reviews
"Ojakangas, who lives in Duluth, has published “Homemade,” a look back at growing up in a Finnish-American community in northern Minnesota, and her travels through the world of cookbooks (she has written 29), gourmet cooking and bake-off prizes--all salted with plenty of recipes, especially for Finnish favorites."—Rochester Post-Bulletin
"If it seems surprising that a farm kid looking for something new could end up taking pictures with Ronald Reagan and baking with Julia Child, pick up a copy of the book."—Mpls. St. Paul Magazine
"Beatrice Okajangas has gifted her loyal readers and new fans with a most beautiful and heartfelt memoir of her life in food–a well-told tale of family origins, inborn talent, opportunities seized, and hard work–flavored throughout by her own irresistible spirit."—Northern Lights Reading Project
"A great pick for those interested in cooking-based memoirs."—Tara’s Multicultural Table
"From growing up as the oldest of 10 children in Minnesota to establishing a career as one of the leading authorities on Nordic food in the U.S., Ojakangas writes a book that is full of stories that anyone with an interest in Scandinavian cooking or the Scandinavian-American experience will enjoy."—The Norwegian American
"This memoir from James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame author Beatrice Ojakangas is chock-full of recipes, anecdotes, and a kind humor that bring to vivid life the Finnish culture of Northern Minnesota as well as the wider culinary world."—The Heavy Table
"The legendary cookbook author delivers her memoir (including recipes) in this lovely title that celebrates her recipes and reflections on growing up in a big Finnish family in northern Minnesota."—Eat Your Books