Pie Place Cookbook exudes love

Better late than never, right? That's how we felt when we ran across Kathy Rice's "The Pie Place Cafe Cookbook" (Lake Superior Port Cities Inc., $19.95), published this past summer. Rice runs the family-owned restaurant in Grand Marais, Minn., where the menu may include everything from wild blueberry thyme Marsala sorbet to beef stout pie. What sets this apart from the usual cookbook realm, however, are the stories — stories of how recipes came to be, who catches the fish, why food needs to be prepared with love, and more. Rice is a writer with an ear for language, an eye for a scene and the deliberation of a historian. Oh, and the palate of someone who enjoys food. To order online, visit www.lakesuperiormagazine.com/cat/pieplace.html.

Cutting-edge info here

Good cooks know that slicing and dicing are a lot more important than the tasks sound. Plus, there are some really cool things you can do with the proper knife technique. This Saturday and Sunday, Kitchen Window in Calhoun Square in Minneapolis is hosting Knife Fest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Featured are 16 seminars teaching knife skills for meat, vegetables, poultry, herbs and tomatoes, fruit and more. There's also info for maintaining your knives and matching the blade to the job. Registration for each seminar is $10, which is refunded as a gift card. There may be some walk-in spots. To register and for details, visit www.kitchenwindow.com.

Six grams of smart

Well, this is helpful — and brave, given how we'd never dream how many fat grams are in some dishes. In any case, Epicurious.com, the huge, and hugely successful recipe database, now is providing nutritional information for the close to 400,000 recipes on its site. The info includes calories, fat (including saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat breakdowns), carbs, protein, sodium, cholesterol and fiber for recipes that previously did not feature this information. The information is displayed below the ingredients and preparation steps. It's kind of heartening that the site reported that nutritional information was one of its most-requested features, evidence that more and more consumers may be trying to make wise choices — which is why nutrition information is offered in the Taste section, as well.

Ranked-choice gloating?

Do you have a favorite restaurant or food truck menu item that deserves a prize? The 2013 Charlie Awards for the food industry wants you to vote for your favorites, with the winners being honored at the awards event Nov. 17. Almost 150 restaurants and food trucks have nominated a menu item that is most representative of their business. To vote, visit www.charliesexceptionale.com before Oct. 23 at midnight to vote. The restaurants are grouped in the following neighborhoods: Minneapolis, St. Paul, North Metro, East Metro, South Metro and West Metro. The top finalists will go before a panel of experts who will taste-test each to decide the winners, which ultimately becomes the Twin Cities' outstanding food item.