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Land of 10,000 Plates

Land of 10,000 Plates

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Stories and Recipes from Minnesota

Author Patrice M. Johnson

Minnesota Historical Society Press (October 6, 2020)


From Minnesota’s newer traditions— Hmong hotdish—to its oldest— nourishing wild rice—Land of 10,000 Plates invites readers to bask in the warmth and hospitality of kitchens throughout the state


Woven into a northland year are food rituals that sustain us and connect us to our region, our climate, and one another. Meat raffles. Fish frys. Pizza farms. Booya. As surely as winter changes to spring to summer to autumn in Minnesota, highly anticipated seasonal events bring folks together for fortifying fare and good company. Still other dishes appearing on the quintessential northland table know no season: Tater Tot Hotdish, Jell-O Salad, SPAM Lefse Pizza, Apple Cider Muffins.

Minnesotans make the most of the changing calendar by ice fishing on lakes big and small, foraging for ramps and tapping trees for maple syrup, marveling at farmers markets’ late-summer bounty, and picking apples and pumpkins in the deliciously crisp fall air. In Land of 10,000 Plates, Patrice M. Johnson highlights food rituals from her own life and explores Minnesota fare far and wide, experiencing the festivals, speaking with revelers, and celebrating the foodways that define the northland. Inventive recipes that mark the seasons—like Blåbärsoppa (bilberry soup), Caraway Rye Pretzels, Savory Pudding with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Radish, and Coconut Ginger Pumpkin Pie—accompany stories about people who thrive in the North.

Author information

Patrice M. Johnson, a cultural communicator specializing in Nordic foodways, is the author of Jul: Swedish American Holiday Traditions. She teaches Nordic food classes and presents interactive cooking demonstrations at sites throughout the Twin Cities and beyond.

Reviews and news

Fox 9 Morning News

Fox 9 Morning News, meatballs!

Star Tribune

FM107.1's Weekly Dish (Oct. 3, 2020, hour 2 at 12:55 minute mark)


KARE 11's That's So Minnesota Podcast: Booya

Advance Praise:

“Cooking and eating and reading and laughing your way through a year with Patrice is a delight. Every recipe puts not just Minnesota flavor but Minnesota stories and lore on your plate.”
Tricia Cornell, author of The Minnesota Farmers Market Cookbook and Eat More Vegetables: Making the Most of Your Seasonal Produce



Japanese Curry Rice Minnesota Style
Serves 6

I lived in Japan as a young adult and suffered a miserable case of homesickness.On chilly days I wandered the streets of Tokyo and memorized the food smells that soothed me. There were roasted chestnuts during cold spells, yakitori and yakisoba fried in open street carts, and crepe shops where a hungry girl could spend hours drooling over the endless menu of both savory and sweet fillings. When my nose detected the wafting scent of curry, I followed the smell to the local curry house, where I ordered fried chicken on rice with as much extra curry sauce as the cook would allow. Curry brought me home, back to my mom’s curry dip (page 13) and the curried béchamel she served with salmon croquettes (page 72). Curry is warm comfort.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large white onion, sliced thin
3 ounces shiitake mushrooms, chopped
salt and pepper
2 cups chopped carrot
1 large potato, chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ cup dry red wine
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup minced sweet apple
3–4 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1½ tablespoons flour mixed with 1½ tablespoons water

In a large stockpot, heat oil over high heat and add onion and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until onion is translucent and soft and mushrooms are beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add carrots, potato, sweet potato, garlic, and ginger and stir well. Add curry powder and tomato paste and continue stirring to incorporate spice with vegetables, about 1 minute. Pour in wine and bring to a simmer;simmer 3 minutes. Add broth, apple, and tamari; simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes.

Whisk flour-water slurry into simmering curry and continue whisking as sauce thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Serve over rice with chicken katsu (or tofu katsu if you win big at a meat-free raffle!).

Snack Mix
Makes 16 (½-cup) servings (if you can restrain yourself)

(Ginger Reuter)

Ginger said, “This is another standby demo recipe. Add spices or different cereal.”

Patrice says, “Stay away from the snack mix. It is so addictive I made threebatches in one weekend and ate them all by myself.” You might choose Annie’s Organic Cheddar Crackers in place of the Goldfish; any cheese cracker will work.

Add 1 teaspoon of rosemary and a pinch of red pepper flakes: it is shockingly delicious.

8 tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup honey
1½ cups Crispix cereal
1½ cups Cheerios cereal
1½ cups Life cereal
1 cup plain Goldfish crackers
1 cup pretzels
1 cup cashews

Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a very large mixing bowl, whisk together butter and honey. Toss with remaining ingredients to coat everything well. Spread mixture onto 1 or 2 parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes and checking to be sure mixture doesn’t burn.

  • 224 pages
  • 40 color photos, 100 recipes, index
  • 8 x 10 inches
  • ISBN: 9781681341682

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