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Dane County Farmers’ Market 50th anniversary cookbook wants your market recipe – Isthmus

Dane County Farmers’ Market 50th anniversary cookbook wants your market recipe - Isthmus

The community recipe book is a time-honored tradition, with collections commonly coming from church groups and The Junior League, the recipes favorites from group members. A new cookbook to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Dane County Farmers’ Market is a community recipe collection with a twist.

The emphasis is going to be “shop local and cook global,” says the editorial coordinator for the project, Terese Allen, longtime area chef, food journalist, and promoter of local food. 

She started by soliciting recipes from the farmers and other market participants and is now accepting recipes from all home cooks and area restaurant chefs. The project ultimately will “acknowledge the larger community” surrounding the farmers’ market, “and how it’s grown,” says Allen in a phone interview.

This cookbook, unlike the typical club or church recipe collection, isn’t going to include every recipe submitted. Allen is curating the collection carefully. She is especially interested in recipes that highlight market ingredients and “showcase ethnic traditions from around the world.” She’s also not looking for complex recipes. Maybe someone comes home with a bunch of spinach and instead of simply sautéing the greens, starts playing around with a sauce inspired by one of the many Asian cuisines.

There’s a wide range of specialty ingredients, like curry leaves, available at the market, Allen observes, and recipes using those are welcome. But she’s also looking for recipes that focus on staples like apples and onions, spinach and potatoes, that highlight the fact that “you can actually do your shopping at the market.” 

The submission form also asks for the story behind the recipe — how the submitters came up with it or upon it, and what it means to them in a more emotional sense. “The story is really important,” says Allen. “The story creates a relationship to the market. And as a reader, you then have a greater relationship with the recipe.” Nonetheless, Allen doesn’t expect everyone submitting to have a “great story,” but as the editor she can then provide context for certain recipes by talking about an ingredient or farm, history or tradition. “That’s what I like to do, fill in missing pieces.”

The submission form also asks about the submitter’s connection to the market.

Recipes should be original or adapted somehow from the original source, and that source should be acknowledged.

Allen has a big task ahead. Not only is she collecting the recipes, but they’ll all be tested, the recipe format itself standardized, and the personal stories edited or augmented. “I’ve been at this for 35 years,” says Allen, whose first cookbook was the invaluable The Ovens of Brittany Cookbook, which saved those beloved recipes from oblivion as the area chain went out of business. “Taking other people’s recipes is like doing a jigsaw puzzle. It’s what I’m good at.”

Allen acknowledges her partners in the project, Ted and Joan Ballweg (owners of Savory Accents) — “I wouldn’t be doing it without them” — and Little Creek Press, which will be designing and printing the project.

Allen will be accepting submissions online through a Google form or, those interested can request the form be sent to them, by sending an email to [email protected] She’ll likely be collecting recipes through the beginning of July. She might continue to accept recipes if certain areas need beefing up. “If all that comes in is asparagus recipes, we’ll need more,” Allen says with a laugh. “I’m hoping for a decent cross-section.” The submissions, she emphasizes, “drive what the book will end up being.”

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