Feast Season

Does it shock you that Minnesota raises 47 million turkeys each year?

Stephanie March
Stephanie March

Does it shock you that Minnesota raises 47 million turkeys each year? That’s roughly the population of Ukraine, and it makes us the top turkey producer in the country. Strange how we don’t really publicly own that.

It puts us smack-dab at the center of one of the best holidays of the year. I personally count Thanksgiving as my favorite because there’s no religious significance to gingerly tiptoe around with your newly rewired college kid and no overly crazy décor theme to rewire your house for. It’s about communal food and gratitude, two things I think Midwesterners do well.

There’s no doubt that the country is having a Midwest moment, evidenced by local author/cook Amy Thielen’s new book, The New Midwestern Table, and her Food Network show, Heartland Table. Thielen is on the national stage repping us well. She’s bright, fun, and doesn’t sound like Marge Gundersen. Trained in the kitchens of New York, her cooking technique is impeccably modern, while her sensibility and personal hunger remain hometown (she and her family live in Park Rapids). Her recipes pull you back but still keep you rooted in the present, bringing into your life things like potato donuts but also campfire-baked beets with hazelnut sesame salt. There’s no hot dish joking, lutefisk humor, or ya-der-hey self-deprecation; the food life she puts forward is honestly us, the next wave of northern eaters who care as much about where we came from as where we are going. For that, I give thanks.

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