I came from a Scandinavian culture in Northwestern Wisconsin. My mother was a lousy cook. Seems that the only thing she ever made was "hot dish"—which was a casserole based on cream of mushroom soup. Mom's usually featured celery and ground moose. Dad's annual male-bonding vacation was always to Northern Ontario in September. By the time the dead moose made it back home, hot dish was about all they could do with it. Mom once sent me a box containing index cards of all her hot-dish recipes. It was a joke. She was a funny lady. None of those recipes made it to this book. I still detest cooked celery.
Grandma, on the other hand, who lived just down the road, knew how to feed a family and kept us from starving until we started school and were introduced to the delights of Mrs. Hendrickson's gourmet school lunch. I'd never seen, much less experienced, the goodness of such items as broccoli and cauliflower.
Growing up in a culinary-deprived culture contributed to my interest in cooking. Another is my love for the outdoors and the joys of preparing and consuming priceless gifts from nature. I collected and perfected the recipes provided here over many years of experimentation. I am pleased to share them with you.