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Kids Can 'Taste' History in New Cookbook

Engraving by Seth Eastman, published as plate 68 in "The Indian Tribes of the United States," Volume 1, edited by Francis S. Drake
WHI 9023

Wild rice is a traditional food of Wisconsin's Native people. In fact one tribe, the Menominee took its name from the Indian word for wild rice, manomin (pronounced mah-no-min). The large, dark-brown rice native to Wisconsin marshes is just one of the ingredients spooned into the recipes shared in the Wisconsin Historical Society Press history cookbook, 'The Flavor of Wisconsin for Kids: A Feast of History, with Stories and Recipes Celebrating the Land and People of Our State' by Terese Allen and Bobbie Malone.

Sampling Recipes and History

Recipes offer creative mdash; and yummy ways mdash; for kids to sample history and overcome the boredom of the winter's snowed-in days. Along the way, the authors share the origins of and how each Wisconsin ingredient has changed and developed through generations. For example, the authors explain how Indians used to harvest wild rice by the canoe-full, using long poles and then dried it in the sun before "dancing the rice" (tramping on it) to loosen the husks and winnowing the grain from the husk.

By the 1960s farmers began growing and harvesting wild rice in large paddies, though it is still mostly gathered and processed by hand. The authors then invite kids and their parents to cook with this Wisconsin ingredient by creating a warm winter breakfast in these few simple steps.

Wild Rice Pudding with Dried Cherries

1 tablespoon butter (softened)
3 large eggs
1 cup half-and-half
1/3 cup real maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup dried cherries (or use a different Wisconsin favorite — dried cranberries)
3 cups cooked and cooled wild rice
Vanilla yogurt, if desired
You will also need a 8-by-12-inch baking dish, large bowl, measuring cups, mixing spoon and whisk.


  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Use a paper towel to butter the baking dish with softened butter.
  • Crack eggs into large bowl. Add half-and-half, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Whisk until smooth.
  • Stir in dried cherries and wild rice. Spoon mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  • Bake 35–40 minutes, until the liquid is gone and the pudding looks only a little moist. Let stand for 10–15 minutes before serving.
  • If desired, add a dollop of vanilla yogurt to each serving.

Traditional Techniques Written for Modern Kitchens

The recipes are written for modern kitchens but use many traditional ingredients and techniques. The level of difficulty is clearly noted, and the book is richly illustrated with both historical and contemporary photos. The book is divided into chapters that represent different types of food in Wisconsin:

  • "Flavors from Forests" such as maple sugar and mushrooms
  • "Flavors from Waters and Wetlands" such as cranberries and wild rice
  • "Flavors from Fields and Orchards" such as apples and honey
  • "Flavors from Meat and Dairy Farms" such as milk and cheese
  • "Flavors from Backyards and Gardens" such as pumpkins and pickles
  • "Flavors from Families and Communities" such as sweet potato pie and Cornish pasties

About the Authors

Terese Allen has written many books and articles about Wisconsin's food traditions and culinary culture, including "The Flavor of Wisconsin: An Informal History of Food and Eating in the Badger State," which she co-authored with the late Harva Hachten; the "2012 Wisconsin Local Foods Journal"; and "Cafe Wisconsin Cookbook." She is food editor for Organic Valley and a columnist for "Edible Madison" magazine. Terese serves as president of the Culinary History Enthusiasts of Wisconsin (CHEW).

As former director of the Society's Office of School Services, Bobbie Malone wrote and edited many books for classrooms, including the fourth-grade textbook, "Wisconsin: Our State, Our Story"; the New Badger History series; and the Badger Biographies series. Now she consults with school districts and museums and is busily working on a biography of author-illustrator Lois Lenski.

:: Posted January 14, 2013

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