Potica or kolache, sarma or braciole, lutefisk or baccala, fattigman or lefse—Minnesota’s Iron Range has a culinary language all its own. The pursuit of rich iron ore in the early twentieth century drew workers who hailed from Finland, Sweden, Slovenia, Italy, and many other places, and as the men went to work in the mines, their families adjusted together to this new land. The immigrants’ children, that first generation, grew up in multiethnic communities where grandmothers shared the bounty of their gardens and the products of their kitchens—and everyone savored a new mix of food traditions. Come, You Taste celebrates the cuisine of these numerous groups and features fond memories of neighborhoods now gone, of flavors and scents that mingled on a single block, of local entrepreneurs who lifted up old-world dishes like porketta and pasties and potica. Second-generation Iron Ranger B. J. Carpenter has collected stories and treasured recipes that will inspire modern cooks to explore this brand of Minnesota cuisine in their own kitchens. Whatever the name of the dish, whatever the ethnic connection, these breads and pastries, hearty mains, and tempting sides all fit the bill of “very good food.”
Born and raised in Hibbing, B. J. Carpenter is a culinary educator and writer living in the Twin Cities. She is the author, with Shelley N. C. Hall, of The Minnesota Table: Recipes for Savoring Local Food Throughout the Year.