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Big Sky Cooking: Cooking for Family and Friends in the Heart of Montana [Hardcover]

Meredith Auld Brokaw , Ellen Wright , Tom Brokaw

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Book Description

May 1 2006
The West has a permanent pull on the American psyche. It's the place where the prairie meets the mountains, the mountains meet the sky, and the sky goes on forever. It's the home of our legends, our heroes and outlaws, our romanticized past.

Meredith and Tom Brokaw could feel the attraction all the way from their home in New York City. Native South Dakotans, they had settled into a frenetic Manhattan lifestyle, tempered by frequent visits to Montana, until Tom could no longer resist. He convinced Meredith to join him in buying a ranch north of Yellowstone. Meredith, in turn, convinced her friend, passionate cook Ellen Wright, to come and discover for herself the bounty of the region—its trout, bison, and elk; locally raised poultry; native fruits and vegetables. The result is Big Sky Cooking, a personal story of this Montana experience told through delicious recipes and menus, charming reflections, and glorious color photographs.

Nearly one hundred recipes, from new dishes to family standbys to reinterpreted classics, are organized into twenty menus that let you dip into the western lifestyle for any occasion: from a sunrise breakfast with eggs straight from the chicken coop to a picnic on the fly, from a rodeo dinner to a moonlight supper under the stars. The food is straightforward, unpretentious fare, as honest as Montanans and guaranteed to make every hour of the day an opportunity to enjoy the good life.

Along the way you'll be introduced to the region's charms: its slow rhythms, its work ethic, the influences of the ancient people and European settlers who formed the present-day state, the "neighbors" who live two hours away, the glow at dusk that's so extraordinary it has its own name.


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Montanan cuisine finally makes it onto America's culinary map thanks to the efforts of Brokaw and Wright. The cooking of America's western plains reflects the habits of the ranchers who populate these wide-open expanses on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Since a hearty breakfast is vital to generating the physical stamina needed for a day of horse riding and cattle herding, the authors offer recipes for baked eggs, rich cinnamon rolls, and sage-chive biscuits. A picnic lunch on the range features bison burgers. Bison also appears in a distinctive version of osso buco. Despite Montana's northern clime, Mexican-inspired foods dominate: margaritas, chilis rellenos, and guacamole. Recipes call for plenty of exotic ingredients, such as Meyer lemons and Roquefort cheese. Essays on the joys of ranch life offer insight into the rhythms of Montana life, and full-page color photographs give a good sense of this wide-open territory. Brokaw's husband Tom contributes a foreword recounting his early infatuation with the West that led him to buy a Montana ranch. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"Recipes for gussied-up frontier fare. Gorgeous photos of cowboy country included."
 —People

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Winning Edition by Ellen Wright March 10 2006
By Ellen Wright fan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Ellen Wright has done it again. This time, with Meredith Brokaw. And the two have combined to put together a wonderful array of recipes that are easy to follow and wonderful to serve to guests. Often at my dinner parties I refer to Ellen Wright's previous books. But now Big Sky opens a new door to cooking and presents inviting and simple recipes that will have your guests in awe of your skills. Even for simple family meals, you will find yourself referring to Big Sky time and time again... I don't know what I did before Big Sky was published. This is a five-star cookbook that everyone should have in their home.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful cookbook, but faulty editing Aug. 5 2012
By lanabanana - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I love the cookbook. Unfortunately, it is ruined by faulty editing of too many of the receipts. For example, ONE CUP of minced garlic in 3.5 cups of chimicurri sauce? FOUR POUNDS of beets for a soup this supposed to serve 6-8? 3.5 TEASPOONS of baking soda for parmesan pan biscuits that makes 12 biscuits.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Setting the table by the lakeside cabin this summer March 10 2006
By William G. Armstrong Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Those who have followed Ellen Wright's colorful advice about entertaining back East should surely be eager to gobble up her third hardcover offering ... this one co-authored with Tom Brokaw's wife Meredith ... about how to really do it right out West.

Given her eye for great photography and scenery that sets the mood for serious as well as whimsical meals, Ellen's "Big Sky Cooking" has already earned a place on my kitchen bookshelf as a combination coffee table travelogue and special occasion reference book.

I'm looking forward to using it during lakeside entertainment at our cabin this summer.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine blend of full-page color photos, recipes, and dishes Oct. 14 2006
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The authors experienced a frantic Manhattan lifestyle tempered by visits to Montana until they bought a ranch and become involved in the food traditions of the area. When passionate cook Ellen Wright discovered the area's blend of fresh game and ingredients, she joined them and BIG SKY COOKING WITH REFLECTIONS features a fine blend of full-page color photos, recipes, and dishes steeped in Montana ingredients. Sesame-Soy Venison Chops, Elk Pepper Steaks, and Bison Osso Busco aren't dishes you'll find many other places, either.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful reading May 18 2006
By Carol - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The recipes are great but the text articles about life in Paradise Valley make this book truly wonderful! My only criticism (and I'm also writing the publisher) is that the editing needs work. Several typos keep this from being a 5 star book.

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