A new cookbook explores the cuisine of America’s Great Plains, and the food it presents offers a fusion of past and present, as well as giving a boost to locally produced and artisan foods. Food journalist Summer Miller has recently published New Prairie Kitchen: Stories and Seasonal Recipes from Chefs, Farmers, and Artisans of the Great Plains. The book contains recipes with unusual ingredients (bison, black walnuts), and also tells the stories of some of the interesting chefs and producers Miller met while writing the book.
“One of the reasons we called the book ‘New Prairie’ was this idea of merging the two: the old preconceived notions with what we’ve evolving and what we’re coming into from a cuisine perspective,” she [Miller] says.
Miller said it’s about “having this great value sense of what we can produce with what we have in our own communities — we don’t have to look elsewhere all the time.”
She included a recipe for a sweet-corn chowder with bacon and sweet-corn salsa, which is made with a variety of corn not often grown in the region.
“A lot of what’s grown is field corn. It’s used to feed cattle or it’s used to create ethanol, which is different from sweet corn. So yeah, the sweet corn recipes are great, wonderful, well, sweet recipes,” she says. “It’s the essence of summer … When you think of Nebraska, Iowa, tomatoes grow really beautifully here just because of how we’ll get these cool nights and really hot days.”