Rochester Post Bulletin: A kitchen in the wilderness

Will Steger and his niece Rita Mae Steger have collaborated with longtime food journalist Beth Dooley on what can best be described as a cookbook/memoir.

Personal and simple, earthy and warm—recipes and stories from the Steger Wilderness Center in Minnesota’s north woodsWhat will draw readers in along with the recipes and stunning photographs (taken by John Ratzloff ) are Steger's reflections of his experiences, his interactions with nature and the people he has encountered. That is the core of who he is. He is one who walks his talk. People from around the world make their way to his compound, known as the Homestead, the home he built, which includes the Steger Wilderness Center, Lodge, workshop, sleeping cabins, root cellar and icehouse, not too far from Ely but still far enough that it's isolated. For years there was no road in and those coming had either to hike, snowshoe or ski to get there. From an initial purchase of 30 acres in 1968, the Homestead now covers over 200 acres.

As Steger writes, the heart of this compound has always been the Lodge, a perfect meeting place, and the kitchen. That is not surprising, since he grew up in a family of 10 brothers and sisters. It was a given that they all gathered for dinner "God help you if you were late to the table. ... We didn't live lavishly but good food was abundant and served with generosity and  care."

Meals at the Homestead are cooked and served in that same spirit often  followed by lengthy discussions of whatever topics, some serious, others not so much. A spirit of joie de vivre rules.

Full article at the Rochester Post-Bulletin.