MSP Magazine: Will Steger cares deeply about pie and family, which are at the forefront of a new cookbook

Personal and simple, earthy and warm—recipes and stories from the Steger Wilderness Center in Minnesota’s north woodsMinnesotans have lived with the unbreakable spirit of Will Steger for many years. We’ve witnessed his journey from teen climber of Andean peaks to America’s best-known polar explorer, Arctic Ocean explorer, Trans-Antarctic explorer, 10,000-mile kayaker, dogsledder extraordinaire, all-around strong man, climate hero, and, generally speaking, towering cultural giant.

But have we talked about his favorite pie?

Well, wait no longer. That interesting new fact is brought forth by The Steger Homestead Kitchen, a new cookbook by local maestro Beth Dooley. The book includes the recipes Will Steger, 77, and his niece Rita Mae Steger, 27, cook at the Homestead, Steger’s up-north rural retreat and science center dedicated to raising climate awareness. (Profits from this collection go to support the Homestead.) But that’s not all you’ll find in this cookbook. It’s also a compelling read for several reasons. There’s Steger’s mammoth place in the outdoor exploration and conservation culture, of course, but the book also reveals heretofore obscured bits about local family and home culture as well. What do Minnesotans eat when ingredients must be grown, canoed and portaged in, or carried in by dogsled? How is family life different when you’re the only warm house for miles and the land is brittle and snow-covered, the night lasts for 16 hours, and the wolves are howling? What exactly was the Minnesota childhood that created a superpower like Steger? And who is Will Steger when he’s not being a superhero?