Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie—Midwest Writers on Food

University of Nebraska Press
An Anthology of Essays about Food
Peggy Wolff, Editor

fried walleye and cherry pieWith corn by the acre and beef on the hoof, with Quaker Oats and Kraft Mac n’ Cheese, the Midwest eats pretty well and feeds the nation on the side. But there’s more to the Midwestern kitchen and palate than farm food and those sizable portions our region is best known for.

 

Thirty of us Midwestern writers—but not necessarily food writers – essayed our way in, around and through the gustatory pleasures and peculiarities of Middle America. Contributors include National Book Award finalists, Pulitzer nominees, New York Times bestselling novelists, four-star pastry chefs and Guggenheim fellows. We share an interest in food as a “source of pleasure, sustenance, metaphor, portraiture or adventure,” says Editor Peggy Wolff, who has written on food and food culture.

 

The book’s menu is mobile: from opening a restaurant when one has no clue how to cook to operating a food cart in a Big Ten town, from nibbling through the Minnesota State Fair to working the boxed cereal line in an industrialized plant. And since you’re visiting my Website, I will shamelessly plug my Thanksgiving Dinner essay, cited by the Chicago Tribune (right).

 

Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie was nominated for the ForeWord IndieFab Book of the Year in both the Essay and Anthology categories, and took first in Anthology competition. The book also was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

 

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Chicago Tribune columnist Christopher Borrelli writes: (Editor) Wolff had the good sense to approach not necessarily just good food writers, but good writers… Even better, her contributors’ thoughts fall not on modernist wonders of a perfectly described bratwurst, but on memories, sweet, bitter and odd. “Diabetes finally trumped in 1952, mere days before the doctor was scheduled to amputate Grandpa Henry’s second leg,” begins Mary Kay Shanley’s recollection of an Iowa Thanksgiving dinner, a story that concludes with Grandpa Geishecker’s great-granddaughter, bringing home “a California boy who doesn’t own a single drop of Caucasian blood.” Tradition and change: These are the poles of Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie.