COOKBOOK EXPANDS THE PRAIRIE FOOD HORIZON
Western Canadian food journalists Dan Clapson and Twyla Campbell are co-authors of Prairie: Seasonal, Farm-Fresh Recipes Celebrating the Canadian Prairies. A cross-section of Prairie cooking past and present, its pages are garnished with beautiful food photography. Clapson and Campbell hope their playful, tasty takes on standards such as perogies, borscht and lentil salad may influence the region’s mealtime future.
The duo has learned much about agriculture over their respective careers, and this is reflected in the cookbook, said Clapson. “I’ve plucked asparagus on a farm in rural Alberta, rated canola seed for quality in Russell, MB, and strolled lentil crops outside of Regina, SK. All of these experiences, many provided by agricultural marketing boards, have helped me keep farmers front of mind.”
The book tells a broad story about Prairie food inspired by farmers as well as fellow food journalists and professional chefs Clapson has collaborated with as the host of dining events held across the Prairies. Several of these chefs contributed recipes and the authors included their own family recipes alongside newly created dishes.
While signature Prairie ingredients such as beef, bison, rhubarb and Saskatoon berries underpin more than 100 recipes, emerging farm products such as sunchokes and sea buckthorn berries also appear. Many additional agrifood products figure into the seasonally categorized recipes. Taste sensations such as Alberta-made brie and Saskatchewan made amaro liqueur display the profusion of delicious, regional foods that are locally available.
Clapson noted the recipes are not a technical challenge and don’t require advanced culinary skills, nor unusual appliances or cookware. They do encourage intermediate home cooks to expand their own definition of Prairie cuisine. “A person does need to be willing to venture out for an ingredient or two that’s not a pantry staple, but I promise the venturing will be worth it!”
The book is available at all major book retailers.