Moose, Cranberry, and the Everlasting Dinner Party: The Boreal Gourmet, cookbook, by Michele Genest

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.

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Wildberry Sourdough Muffins recipe from The Boreal Gourmet, by Michele Genest

Breakfast-eaters, snackers, hangers-out:  it’s time to reclaim the muffin from the fast-food joints and even from the groovy independent cafes.


Like the picture?  Get more recipes like the one below from our very own Yukon Boreal Gourmet, Michele Genest.  Her book, the Boreal Gourmet, just got a nice, nice, tasty review from GEIST.


Muffins should not be as big as your head, as my friend LP observes. When I was a child a muffin was a 6-bite morsel available in the glass case in the cafeteria or on the counter at the greasy spoon. Now it is an epic that requires a whole morning to consume, and you have to mount an expedition to find the nuts and berries inside. So here are two recipes for muffins of sensible size that feature wild northern berries, are easy to make, low on fat and sugar and bursting with healthy grains. They are similar but not the same.

Low Bush Cranberry Bran Muffins

On a blazing blue day last week I climbed the clay cliffs above Whitehorse and picked a pint of low bush cranberries before breakfast. I came back home with cold fingers and an appetite and whipped up these bran muffins, based on a recipe from that brilliant standby, Joy of Cooking, but tweaked here and there. I’m really pleased with them; they remind me of my grandmother’s bran muffins, for which the recipe is lost (my mother and my aunt have searched their files in vain) and which I’ve been trying to replicate for a long time. Let us sing their praises: light, moist, not too sweet, branny but not too branny and featuring the nice tart bite of low bush cranberries.

Dry Ingredients

1 cup (240 ml) all-purpose flour

1 cup (240 ml) whole wheat flour

1 cup (240 ml) bran

2 Tbsp. (30 ml) sugar

1 tsp. (5 ml) baking soda

¼ tsp. (1.2 ml) salt

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