Just as I was sitting here his week dreading another dinnesota winter, along ame a book in the mail hat cheered me right up.
"The Great Minnesota hot dish," a new 225-page book by Minnesota cookbook auhor Theresa Millang, is the crown jewel in a week of good books that have found heir way to my desk.
Two of the books have local connections, but the hot tish book is the one that hit he spot. Its cover promises there is something tasty cooking inside.
"Classic. ethnic, and even gourmet hot dish recipes in more flavors than just tuna, noodles and potato chips." (You have to admire an author who can use gourmet" and "potato chips" in the same sentence.)
"Hot dish recipes for different occasions such as the 'Neighbor is Sick' and the 'Potluck' hot dish, or the 'Baby Shower' hotdish,and even the 'Brunch,' hot-dish."' (Again, you can see the potential for learning here. Up until I received it I was under the delusion that there was just one hot dish for all occasions)
"Historical Scandinavian hot dishes from the early 1920s." (One hopes these are recreations of those hot dishes, and not the ones actually produced in the 1920s)
And finally, "new innovations in hot dish including Cajun, Creole, Tex-Mex, Tofu, Southern and Chinese." (Here, however, the author has clearly gone astray. I'm happy to accept Tex-Mex, Cajun and Creole hot dishes. But Tofu? I don't think so.
Since the author has included page after page of legitimate chicken and turkey, beef, pork and tuna hot dishes, along with several yummy-sounding dessert dishes, I' have decided to forgive her one inclusion of a tofu hot dish.
Because, that aside, Millang clearly has the best interests of Minnesota cooks in mind, featuring easy instructions, easy-to-find ingredients and a spiral bound style that "stays open on the counter and won't take up all your space."
Millang gets right to the heart of most good hot dish recipes -- a 10 3/4-ounce can of cream of mushroom soup.
I recommend it. dispite the tofu recipe.
This colunm is the opinion of John Molene. He can be, reached by calling 255-8766 or by e-mail at jmolene @ stcloud.gannett.com.