If you’re craving fresh knowledge of the outdoors, stories about nature or inspiration for the summer menu, look for these books from regional authors and publishers:
“The Campfire Foodie Cookbook” by Julie Rutland (Adventure Publications) offers tips for making fires, packing a cooler and using a Dutch oven, and breaks a variety of recipes into at-home prep and campsite cooking. Some recipes, such as sweet-and-spicy beef jerky and granola, can be made head and packed up for backpacking, but most recipes, such as skillet flatbread, espresso-cocoa flank steak, campfire meatloaf, creamy corn-bacon dip, require a cooler for fresh ingredients.
“Lake Fish: Modern Cooking with Freshwater Fish” by Keane Amdahl (Minnesota Historical Society Press) inspires anglers to go beyond the usual pan-fried fresh catch and shore lunch and branch into global flavors. Examples include bass spring rolls, crispy bass and basil stir fry, catfish and bacon Benedict, and crappie Rachel sandwiches.
“Thousand-Miler: Adventures Hiking the Ice Age Trail” by Melanie Radzicki McManus weaves together practical advice, hiker profiles and cultural tales the author collected while setting a record for completing the more than 1,000-mile Ice Age National Scenic Trail across Wisconsin in 36 days. The most touching chapter features veterans and the emotional need to “walk off the war” before transitioning back into home life (Wisconsin Historical Society Press).
“Creekfinding,” an illustrated children’s book by Jacqueline Briggs Martin uses Claudia McGehee’s woodcut art to tell a true story of a creek reclaimed from drained farmland near Decorah, Iowa (University of Minnesota Press). “The Big Marsh: The Story of a Lost Landscape,” by Cheri Register, hits a similar topic, but is a nonfiction book that recalls an 18,000-acre wetland that once teamed with life between Albert Lea and Austin in southern Minnesota’s Freeborn County until it was drained for farming (Minnesota Historical Society Press).
“Border Country: The Northwoods Canoe Journals of Howard Greene” (University of Minnesota Press) gives wilderness fans an intimate glimpse into life along the St. Croix, Wisconsin, Presque Isle and Chippewa lakes and rivers through first-person stories and photographs from 1906-1916.
“Our Love of Moose” and “Our Love of Hummingbirds” (Adventure Publications) package photos and stories from Minnesota naturalist and photographer Stan Tekiela in a compact hardcover just right for cabin coffee tables or sunporch reading.
“Minnesota Book of Skills” by the DNR’s Chris Niskanen serves a potluck of handy things to know: backing up a trailer at a boat launch, harvesting wild rice, layering outerwear for warmth, carving a duck decoy, maple syruping and chain-saw safety (Minnesota Historical Society Press).
“Sadie Braves the Wilderness,” a children’s book by Yvonne Pearson and illustrator Karen Ritz follows a family on a trip inspired by the BWCA, while “Storm’s Coming” by Margi Preus and illustrator David Geister follows Sophie, a girl who pays attention to nature’s cues to warn her family a storm is coming and helps prepare Split Rock Lighthouse (both books from Minnesota Historical Society Press).
“Backyard Bugs: An Identification Guide to Common Insects, Spiders, and More” from Jaret C. Daniels offers curious observers photos and information on creatures found on flowers, the ground and leaves. Covered are everything from sow bugs, stink bugs, swallowtail butterflies and hummingbird moths to wolf spiders and walking sticks (Adventures Publications).
LISA MEYERS McCLINTICK