You’ve already seen the wonderful wildberry sourdough muffins recipe which I so tantalized you with (permission granted by Miche). Now experience what cooks and connoisseurs are talking about in The Boreal Gourmet: Adventures in Northern Cooking by Michele Genest. The book is more than a cookbook–it is a memoir of the cooking experience, the preparation, the friends, the mistakes, the surprises, and what might be an everlasting dinner party from recipe to recipe.
The Boreal Gourmet is a unique cookbook, with recipes that utilize all the cool things you’ll find walking around or rooted to the ground in the Yukon, but it is also a bit of Yukonalia. It is a portrait of people living, and cooking, and eating and enjoying life, in the north. From Geist’s review of the book:
I’ve always felt the best cookbooks are the ones you open with the intention of a quick browse but find yourself reading cover to cover and coming out the other end feeling like you’ve attended an inspiring dinner party hosted by the author — without leaving the comfort of your armchair. Michele Genest’s The Boreal Gourmet: Adventures in Northern Cooking (Harbour) is just this sort of cookbook. The narrative that accompanies the inventive recipes oscillates from bush survival advice to personal memoir to historical anecdote (Klondike hopefuls brought sourdough starter buried in a sack of flour with them over the Chilkoot Pass) and is simply a lovely read. The recipes themselves range from the more gourmdet — Arctic Char Poached in White Wine, Gin and Juniper Berries — to the less gourmet — Moose Lake Lasagna in a Pot (complete with tips on how to cook it in the backwoods) — and are complemented by Laurel Parry’s endearing hand-drawn illustrations.
If you’re thinking about coming up to the Yukon, or through the Yukon, consider this as a trophy purchase. It’s exotic, but personal, practical and yet coffeetable conversation starter. It’s also beautifully complemented by Cathie Archbould’s delicious photos.
About Michele Genest
Michele Genest writes and cooks in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. She has written about food and dining for enRoute Magazine, Xtra, T.O., Up Here and Yukon, North of Ordinary, where her column The Boreal Chef currently appears. Her book, The Boreal Gourmet, was published by Harbour Publishing in May 2010 and is available in bookstores across Canada and through Amazon.ca or harbourpublishing.com.
Michele’s reigning enthusiasm is to forage for the berries, mushrooms, flowers and herbs that grow wild in the boreal forest, and the fish and game that live in its rivers and lakes, and find new ways to combine them in gourmet recipes for the home cook. She often wanders out of the north to explore ingredients and techniques from other cuisines, bring them back to the Yukon and create some great north-south kitchen mash-ups. She’s also really interested in hearing about others’ experiments in northern cookery, so feel free to comment, share your recipes and provide feedback on any of her recipes that you happen to try on her blog, The Boreal Gourmet.