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Tempt Me

Tempt Me

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The Fine Art of Minnesota Cooking

Author Kathryn Strand Koutsky, Author Linda Koutsky

Minnesota Historical Society Press (May 1, 2016)


First-rate illustrations, vintage advertising, bygone recipes, and the storied history of Minnesota’s food industries—the pages of Tempt Me offer a true feast for the senses.


In search of something to savor, our senses come into play: smell and taste, of course, but at the very start is sight. Cookbooks are judged by their covers. Mounds of delectable produce inspire shoppers to plan bountiful meals. Kitchenware and appliances promise culinary delights, and design is almost as important as function. It’s simple: food is more delicious if it is pleasing to the eye.

Building on this common knowledge, gorgeous full-color paintings graced Minnesota cookbooks, food packaging, and promotional mailings beginning in the late nineteenth century. These lavish illustrations were made by talented artists, including the acclaimed N. C. Wyeth and Norman Rockwell. Minnesota’s food companies, with their national and even international reach, hired fine artists to paint finished dishes, illustrate the era’s kitchens, and design lush gardens that would entice consumers to purchase products and the cookbooks that celebrated them.

In this collection of vintage recipes, evocative illustrations, and vivid ads, Kathryn Strand Koutsky and Linda Koutsky take readers on a tour of Minnesota’s foodie ephemera of the 1880s through the 1980s: charming cartoon cooks, alluring seed catalog covers, and imaginative and decorative drawings celebrating cuisines from around the world. As the artwork and stories show, styles and approaches may change through the decades, but the goal remains the same: tempt your customers’ appetite by elevating food and cooking to fine art.

Author information

Award-winning designer Kathryn Strand Koutsky and book artist and graphic designer Linda Koutsky are the authors of Minnesota Eats Out: An Illustrated History, Minnesota Vacation Days: An Illustrated History, and Minnesota State Fair: An Illustrated History.

Reviews and news

Advance Praise:

“A must-have book for anyone interested in art and cooking. Tempt Me weaves together art, history, and recipes to reflect in fabulous form the impact Minnesota has had on America’s culinary picture.”
Lucia Watson, proprietor of Lucia’s Restaurant in Minneapolis and author of Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland (with Beth Dooley) and Cooking Freshwater Fish

Fargo Forum

Prairie Public Radio

Minnesota Monthly

Star Tribune Taste

MinnPost Artscape


  • 224 pages
  • 250 Color Illustrations, 175 Recipes, Index
  • 8 x 9.5 inches
  • ISBN: 9780873519977

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