On any given day over the last few weeks, a quick scroll through our social media feeds makes it abundantly clear that many of us have taken to our kitchen. Whether out of boredom, nostalgia, comfort or plain old necessity (why are these kids suddenly eating ALL DAY LONG?), we seem to be spending a lot more time that usual feeding ourselves and those around us. In case the same old recipes start to get a bit dull, here are some Manitoban cookbooks that will breathe some new life into your cooking routine (and if, by chance, you haven’t yet been bit by the cooking bug, these suggestions might just provide some inspiration).
All these books are available from local bookshop McNally Robinson. The storefronts are closed to the public right now, but you can call directly to place your orders between 12-5pm, Monday – Saturday or shop online 24 hours a day – they offer contactless curbside pickup, delivery within Winnipeg and worldwide shipping.
My personal favourite Manitoban cookbooks are the Blueberries & Polar Bears series written by Helen Webber and Marie Woolsey. If you’re not familiar with these books (and you really should be), they are the culinary bibles used to feed guests at the Churchill Wild lodges in Northern Manitoba during their polar bear walking safaris. Inspired by family recipes and ingredients found in the North, this series will give you hearty and delicious recipes that you will go back to again and again. My go-to? The Wild Arctic Cranberry Cake with Warm Butter Sauce (yes, I’ve included the link to the recipe in case you just can’t wait to get the book!). And granted, grocery store cranberries aren’t nearly as good as the fresh picked ones from the tundra, but this will tide you over until we’re able to travel again and get up to one of the lodges to taste the real thing.
Born and raised in The Pas, and now calling Winnipeg home, Kirsten Buck has just recently released the newest MB cookbook on the block, Buck Naked Kitchen. Named after her popular blog, the book combines Kirsten’s education as a certified holistic nutritionist with her background and experience focusing on whole foods and creating healthy, approachable and delicious meals. Not only is every recipe gluten, grain AND dairy-free, did I also mention the Manitoba favourite: chicken tenders and HONEY DILL?! You gotta try it!
Another recurring theme coming up on social media is the vast sadness we feel about not being able to eat out at our favourite restaurants for the time being. While many are still operating takeout and delivery services (please support them when you can!), there is also a way to enjoy a sampling of some of Winnipeg’s most popular dishes right from your own home. Winnipeg Cooks was published in 2015 by Robin Summerfield with breathtaking photography from Ian McCausland. It features recipes and stories from some of Winnipeg’s top chefs and gives you the opportunity to satisfy the craving that’s been calling your name!
In the interest of full disclosure, Karlynn Johnston doesn’t live in Manitoba anymore. BUT, the food blogger known as The Kitchen Magpie, was born in Winnipeg and spent enough time on her grandparent’s farm around Dauphin to acknowledge that much of her cooking style comes from her prairie roots. In fact, her second, and most recent cookbook, The Prairie Table, published just last year, is a love story to the flavours and recipes she grew up with and is reflective of Manitoba’s pure prairie ethos. While the full title of the book - Crowd-pleasing recipes to bring people together – doesn’t particularly jive with our current reality, consider using this one as practice, so you’re ready to celebrate when we do come back together again.
COMING SOON: The buzz on this one is real, people. Get ready! Much loved bakery, Jenna Rae Cakes, has recently announced their new cookbook, Jenna Rae Cakes and Sweet Treats, is scheduled to be released later this fall. For those of you wanting to test your skill at droolworthy cupcakes, macarons and (be still my heart) the utterly delightful peanut butter & jam cookie sandwiches, set a reminder on your calendar for October 6, 2020. This one is sure to be a hot seller (just like their cupcakes have been lately on Skip the Dishes)!