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A Prairie Cookbook: Memories and Recipes

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In Our Story, I describe the immigration of my ancestors from Sweden to South Dakota in the late 19th century. A Prairie Cookbook expands on that narrative. I copied dozens of recipes from cards and scraps of paper that date from those days. They were used to satisfy the hunger of pioneering families in the Midwestern United States. I must frame your expectations before y In Our Story, I describe the immigration of my ancestors from Sweden to South Dakota in the late 19th century. A Prairie Cookbook expands on that narrative. I copied dozens of recipes from cards and scraps of paper that date from those days. They were used to satisfy the hunger of pioneering families in the Midwestern United States. I must frame your expectations before you read this book. These aren't Old Country recipes. They're recipes from the Midwest from the turn of the last century. You'll find better recipes on how to make ox-tail soup, for example, on the internet and from other books, complete with full-spread glossy color illustrations. If you read this book for culinary how to instructions or the art of gourmet, you'll be missing the point. Rather, my goal is to open a window into a vanishing world through the doorway of taste. This book provides another dimension to understanding the lives of our ancestors. These recipes are as simple and as unpolished as those who worked the land. And yet they invoke an atmosphere that other histories may not fully capture. They become a kind of a time portal into the past. Crushed tomato leaves are an example for me. Their smell magically transports me back to my grandmother’s tomato garden when I was five years old. For you, it might be the smell of a holiday dinner or freshly baked cookies. I've also included in this book photographs and memoirs written by those from those days, primarily in the first two decades of the 20th century. A part of my grandmother Emma Wik's memoirs Sweden to America: A Story of Pioneering on the American Frontier and the writings of three of her children are in this book. Despite the hardships they faced, the people of the plains had high aspirations and ideals. In 1918, Emma's husband died, perhaps the Spanish flu epidemic that raged at the time. And yet she saw all eleven of her children go to college before and during the Great Depression. Many of her children went on to become educators and some got advanced degrees. Emma's children also had strong literary skills, some of whom went on to write many articles and books. Emma's children bore the middle names of writers and poets, an indication of the importance that education had to that family. My father's middle name, for example, was Tennyson, perhaps also because he was the tenth in the family. These memoirs help provide the context in which these meals were lovingly prepared, for children, grandparents, and field hands, and for holidays, weddings, funerals, and for daily life. Both these recipes and the memoirs give us a glimpse of an important time in the history of our nation and give us insight into the simple but strong character of the homesteaders of the Midwest.


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In Our Story, I describe the immigration of my ancestors from Sweden to South Dakota in the late 19th century. A Prairie Cookbook expands on that narrative. I copied dozens of recipes from cards and scraps of paper that date from those days. They were used to satisfy the hunger of pioneering families in the Midwestern United States. I must frame your expectations before y In Our Story, I describe the immigration of my ancestors from Sweden to South Dakota in the late 19th century. A Prairie Cookbook expands on that narrative. I copied dozens of recipes from cards and scraps of paper that date from those days. They were used to satisfy the hunger of pioneering families in the Midwestern United States. I must frame your expectations before you read this book. These aren't Old Country recipes. They're recipes from the Midwest from the turn of the last century. You'll find better recipes on how to make ox-tail soup, for example, on the internet and from other books, complete with full-spread glossy color illustrations. If you read this book for culinary how to instructions or the art of gourmet, you'll be missing the point. Rather, my goal is to open a window into a vanishing world through the doorway of taste. This book provides another dimension to understanding the lives of our ancestors. These recipes are as simple and as unpolished as those who worked the land. And yet they invoke an atmosphere that other histories may not fully capture. They become a kind of a time portal into the past. Crushed tomato leaves are an example for me. Their smell magically transports me back to my grandmother’s tomato garden when I was five years old. For you, it might be the smell of a holiday dinner or freshly baked cookies. I've also included in this book photographs and memoirs written by those from those days, primarily in the first two decades of the 20th century. A part of my grandmother Emma Wik's memoirs Sweden to America: A Story of Pioneering on the American Frontier and the writings of three of her children are in this book. Despite the hardships they faced, the people of the plains had high aspirations and ideals. In 1918, Emma's husband died, perhaps the Spanish flu epidemic that raged at the time. And yet she saw all eleven of her children go to college before and during the Great Depression. Many of her children went on to become educators and some got advanced degrees. Emma's children also had strong literary skills, some of whom went on to write many articles and books. Emma's children bore the middle names of writers and poets, an indication of the importance that education had to that family. My father's middle name, for example, was Tennyson, perhaps also because he was the tenth in the family. These memoirs help provide the context in which these meals were lovingly prepared, for children, grandparents, and field hands, and for holidays, weddings, funerals, and for daily life. Both these recipes and the memoirs give us a glimpse of an important time in the history of our nation and give us insight into the simple but strong character of the homesteaders of the Midwest.

30 review for A Prairie Cookbook: Memories and Recipes

  1. 4 out of 5

    Missy

    The author writes a little bit about events in his ancestors lives, about them growing up, but doesn't really tell you who they are. He then presents a few simple and very basic recipes at the end of each short little chapter. Unfortunately, he doesn't say which ancestors used the recipes. To be frank, they don't appear to even be old heirloom recipes of long, long ago brought over the ocean by his Swedish ancestors. But, by reading the cooking instructions, they do appear to be recipes from an The author writes a little bit about events in his ancestors lives, about them growing up, but doesn't really tell you who they are. He then presents a few simple and very basic recipes at the end of each short little chapter. Unfortunately, he doesn't say which ancestors used the recipes. To be frank, they don't appear to even be old heirloom recipes of long, long ago brought over the ocean by his Swedish ancestors. But, by reading the cooking instructions, they do appear to be recipes from an earlier period here in the U.S. The author also should have had his work proofread. I'm sure this will be a valuable record for his own family. NOTE: Did not try any recipes in this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dj

    Some cookbooks are just recipes, some tell you something about the food. This one isn't either of those things really. Oh it has recipes, although most likely ones that I will never make. They are done in the old style where everything is in one paragraph and sometimes you have to guess at amounts. just like Grandma used to do. LOL. This Cookbook tells the story of a family, not in a coherent start to finish style but breaking it up into groupings like education, signing, and faith. It is a very Some cookbooks are just recipes, some tell you something about the food. This one isn't either of those things really. Oh it has recipes, although most likely ones that I will never make. They are done in the old style where everything is in one paragraph and sometimes you have to guess at amounts. just like Grandma used to do. LOL. This Cookbook tells the story of a family, not in a coherent start to finish style but breaking it up into groupings like education, signing, and faith. It is a very interesting look at the Americal of the past when Farmers could really be said to be the Salt of the Earth.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michele

    Great book with wonderful stories of the old days and interesting recipes.😁😁😁😁😁 Reminds me of the Pioneer Ladies books by Jane Hopping.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Julie Barrett

    A Prairie Cookbook: Memories and Recipes by Philip Wik Midwest memories with sketches of maps and instructions on how to do certain things. Home canning and breakfast of days gone by compared to what we eat today. Talks about Inex Clifford and how remarkable she was in the time. Bread making with recipes and I'm going to try the cornbread for our meal tonight. Just trying to find the perfect one for us. Facts and history of how others arrived in the area. What they did for fun, carried in their lunc A Prairie Cookbook: Memories and Recipes by Philip Wik Midwest memories with sketches of maps and instructions on how to do certain things. Home canning and breakfast of days gone by compared to what we eat today. Talks about Inex Clifford and how remarkable she was in the time. Bread making with recipes and I'm going to try the cornbread for our meal tonight. Just trying to find the perfect one for us. Facts and history of how others arrived in the area. What they did for fun, carried in their lunch pails and the era of the radio. Made the corn bread and it came out perfect, doesn't crumble and is sweet enough, no grit. I even substituted the shortening with vegetable oil. A KEEPER!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Royetta Ferris

    Wonderful memories. Revisiting a time gone by, through the memories of one who lived it. Always an enjoyment to read about life before modernization took over. The recipes are quaint and worth a try.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    Needs a good editor! Many things repeated and spelling mistakes, however some good basic recipes

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lavonne

  8. 4 out of 5

    Pikapooh74

  9. 4 out of 5

    Debi Lee

  10. 4 out of 5

    OTIS

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy Renee Singh

  12. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne

  13. 5 out of 5

    Missy Marple

  14. 5 out of 5

    Montzalee Wittmann

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alberta

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Hughes

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lisa C.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Veviticusmjhw

  19. 4 out of 5

    Connie

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sally Hallgren

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shirley

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christina

  23. 4 out of 5

    Takro

  24. 5 out of 5

    Charles Tidwell

  25. 4 out of 5

    Glenda Castillo

  26. 4 out of 5

    Beverly E Crradi

  27. 4 out of 5

    Pammy

  28. 5 out of 5

    Annie Shaw

  29. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne Kistner

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

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