Book Review: Beth Dooley’s “In Winter’s Kitchen”

Thought Provoking Wolf in Homespun Sheep’s Clothing

Beth Dooley's "In Winter's Kitchen"

Beth Dooley’s new book: In Winter’s Kitchen

Beth Dooley’s “In Winter’s Kitchen”
If you’re ready to take a first step or your next step to a more thoughtful approach to your food, you’ll love “In Winter’s Kitchen”. It deserves a spot on any food enthusiast’s bookshelf.

At first blush, Beth Dooley’s new book, “In Winter’s Kitchen”, gives a similar impression to her previous books.  More a memoir than a cookbook, you might think it’s full of heartfelt stories from Minnesota and you’d be right. The book is loosely organized around Thanksgiving dinner. Chapter titles include: Wheat, Apples, Cranberries, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Turkey.

Once you start reading however, the real substance appears: Wheat isn’t about wheat, it’s about the alarming loss of diversity in the wheat grown around the world. Cranberries is about the scary loss of pollinators, primarily due to chemical use and pesticides. Each chapter covers an element of our food chain that modern agriculture’s search for ever cheaper food has produced. Cheaper, yes, but less flavor and increasing reliance on chemicals.

Luckily, Beth also shows that personal steps in a better direction are possible and are as close as our local farmers market. In short, I think you’ll find Beth’s book compelling and your next trip to the farmers market will be even more fun, nutritious and gratifying after reading “In Winter’s Kitchen”.

My Next Step
In the chapter on wheat, we learn about the progression from heritage grains to today’s modern wheat which has been engineered for high volume production. Modern wheat hybrids are sterile, so must be replanted annually, and require fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides. Turkey Red Wheat, a heritage grain, is a perennial crop and it requires none of the chemicals its modern counterparts depend upon. Beth tells us that Sunrise Flour Mill makes flour from Turkey Red Wheat and can be found at the Mill City Farmers Market. Bingo! Mill City is one of my farmers market hangouts and I realized I had been walking past the Sunrise Flour Mill stand for years without ever having stopped.

Darrold Glanville of Sunrise Flour Mill

Darrold Glanville is happy to talk wheat and flour until all your questions are answered.

Last Saturday, on one of my normal trips, I stopped. I was pleasantly surprised to meet Darrold Glanville, the owner of Sunrise Flour Mill at the market. He patiently answered all my questions and sent me away with my first sack of Turkey Red Wheat based flour.  I can’t wait to make my next batch of fresh pasta!

Note: Beth’s book was provided by the publisher for review. All opinions are mine, as is the bread and pasta I’ll be making!

2 Responses to “Book Review: Beth Dooley’s “In Winter’s Kitchen””
  1. lgowdy says:

    With regard to heritage grains transitioned to high volume mass produced flour, makes me recall flour my mom bought to make biscotti. She purchased a grocery chain white flour, bleached and stripped of anything resembling nutrition. She didn’t understand why they tasted nothing like mine, made with Bob’s Red Mill organic unbleached white. Not only is it bad for the environment requiring replanting, etc., it tastes bad! Nice the author took time to include that discussion.

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