Cookbooks gain recognition

Congratulations to the authors of two cookbooks that gained finalist status for the 27th annual Minnesota Book Awards, which will name its winners on April 18. "New Scenic Cafe: The Cookbook," by Scott Graden with Arlene Anderson (New Scenic Cafe Inc.), highlights more than 130 recipes from this gem on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Graden is the chef/owner, and Anderson is a teacher, writer and business leader based in Duluth. "Minnesota Farmers Market Cookbook: A Guide to Selecting and Preparing the Best Local Produce With Seasonal Recipes From Local Chefs and Farmers," by Tricia Cornell (Voyageur Press), navigates the more than 150 farmers markets in Minnesota. Cornell, author of a number of books on food and travel, also includes more than 80 recipes for an array of produce, meat, fish and more.

Ball jars now in amethyst

Jarden Home Brands, the company that makes those iconic Ball brand canning jars, has announced the third and final jar in its Heritage Collection series, which notes the 100th anniversary of the Ball Brothers' "improved" Mason jar. After pale blue in 2013 and spring green in 2014, Jarden is concluding with jewel-toned amethyst jars. It suggests that using the purple jars might complement foods such as beets and blueberries. The jars are called "Limited Edition," but the first two colors still are available for ordering online at Still, nothing lasts forever. Least of all glass jars.

A big happy birthday!

In celebration of its 100th birthday, the Minneapolis Foundation is holding a culinary fundraiser called Graze 4 Good, to be held March 22 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Solar Arts by Chowgirls, 711 15th Av. NE. Chefs include Mike Brown of Travail Kitchen and Amusements, Steven Brown of Tilia, Doug Flicker of Piccolo, Jerry Fodness of Chowgirls and Jorge Guzeman of Surly. The event also includes a birthday cake competition among Katy Gerdes of Angel Food Bakery, John Kraus of Patisserie 46 and Katie Elsing from the Dakota. VIP tickets are $100 per person (begins at 5:30 p.m.); general tickets are $50 (begins at 6:30 p.m.). Tickets are available at Proceeds go to the foundation's Fourth Generation Fund.

New ideas for Spam

Speaking of winners, the grand-prize-winning recipe in the Great American Spam Championship is Reuben Spam Rollups, combining diced Spam, Thousand Island dressing, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese, all baked inside slices of rye bread that have been rolled flat. Credit goes to Beverly Zehntner of Montana, who won a trip to Hawaii. (Not Minnesota? Go figure.) For this and other finalists, including a Minnesota entry for Spam-o-Liki Tom-a-Tiki Soup made with leeks, tomatillos and white wine, visit