What’s cooking in Kansas

Posted on Dec 2, 2016 in Alumni News and News

Back in 1989, when Frank, c’75, and Jayni Carey published The Kansas Cookbook: Recipes from the Heartland, people who grew their own vegetables, bought meat from a local rancher or favored the village diner over corporate chain restaurants most likely weren’t called locavores or foodies. A lot has changed since then, and in their long-awaited follow-up, The New Kansas Cookbook: Rural Roots, Modern Table, the Careys share 220 recipes that highlight this “new twist on the way we cook.”

The New Kansas Cookgood: Rural Roots, Modern TableReflecting the growing popularity of “farm-to-table” and local, seasonal cuisine, The New Kansas Cookbook updates traditional homemade favorites like vegetable beef soup, chicken and noodles and apple strudel while also tapping the expertise of the growing ranks of Kansas chefs, bakers and brewers with dishes that showcase local products. Standouts include Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat Maple Bread (it features a popular beer from Manhattan’s Tallgrass Brewing Company, not bison perspiration) and Chestnut Cornbread Dressing, which uses as its chief ingredient the distinctive nuts grown by Chestnut Charlies of Lawrence.

Whether drawn from chefs or home cooks or from the Careys (who together published two other cookbooks; collaborated on Jayni’s local television cooking show, “Jayni’s Kitchen”; and contributed a feature story to the summer food issue of Kansas Alumni), the recipes show how today’s Kansas cooks embrace ethnic cuisines, sophisticated cooking techniques and ingredients both exotic and local. A particularly apt example is Grandmother Quillec’s Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Prunes, which adapts a family recipe from the Provence region of France that has long been a staple of Café Provence, a Kansas City bistro named one of the Top 100 restaurants in the United States by OpenTable and best overall restaurant in Kansas City by Zagat. Pork tenderloin, a Midwestern staple, combines with Port wine and special French prunes in a dish inspired by family tradition and refined by the creativity of a respected chef. Mix that inclusive approach to cooking with the lively features on Kansas people and foodways that the Careys sprinkle throughout, add a heaping helping of artful illustrations drawn by Kansas artist Louis Copt, ’96, and you have a recipe for a delightful cookbook that serves up a full menu of delectable dishes, from every-day to special occasion.

—Steven Hill

The New Kansas Cookbook, by Frank and Jayni Carey with illustrations by Louis Copt, is published by the University Press of Kansas and is available for $29.95.

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