With a respectful nod to M.F.K. Fisher's seminal "How to Cook a Wolf," Kate Christensen's "How to Cook a Moose" pays homage to the food culture of Maine by a "year rounder" (not to be confused with a native Mainer) who has adopted the state as her own. Reaching far beyond clam shacks and blueberry pie, Christensen compares the creativity of local chefs and farmers "as exciting as the cuisines of other regions with a similar approach to cooking, like California, Italy, or France."
Ever conscious of her status as a newcomer to the state, Christensen leaves no stone unturned. She explores the region's farms and its fishing towns, as well as its better known bounties of lobster, blueberries, maple syrup, and yes, moose, and includes a wide variety of recipes for home cooks. She also meets many of the younger farmers, chefs and artists who have either returned to their home state of Maine or moved there in pursuit of a simpler way of life, much like their counterparts over the past two centuries have done.
At its core, "How to Cook a Moose" is a love story. It is Christensen's tale of embracing joy at midlife — with her younger husband, with a state — and her gratitude for a locally produced, home-cooked feast shared with those you love.
Meganne Fabrega is a book critic in New Hampshire.