Star Tribune: Duluth cookbook queen Beatrice Ojakangas whips up 'Homemade' memoir

In a new memoir, Duluth cookbook author Beatrice Ojakangas tells how recipes – and the skills behind them – led to her career in food.

Ojakangas_Homemade coverIt was the early ’70s and I was seated at Somebody’s House restaurant in Duluth, up the road from the University of Minnesota.

Should I splurge on a burger? At 85 cents to $1.50 each, it would make a dent in my meager college finances.

One look at the menu — 36 burgers — and I didn’t need convincing. These were exotic for the time, open-face sandwiches with whimsical names and wild descriptions.

There was the Duluth Blizzardburger, “The hamburger sheltered beneath a ‘drift’ of sour cream as only Duluth would, or could, have it; the garnish, of course, is a kosher pickle and a Scandinavian style pickled beet. Var sa got!”

And there was the HHH burger (that would be named after Minnesota’s Hubert Horatio Humphrey, vice president of the nation from 1965-69). The Cannibalburger (which was not to be confused with the Toplessburger): “Be daring! The hamburger just singed on the grill — really it’s raw!”

Also on the menu: the Beatlesburger (with a wig of coleslaw), the Russianburger (served with caviar) and more sandwiches than I could afford to try.

Not until decades later did I discover that the creative mind — and dry sense of humor — behind this venture was none other than Beatrice Ojakangas, the prolific cookbook author from Duluth, with her Finnish heritage and baking prowess.

She was ahead of her time. Way ahead.

Read the full article.

Published in: Star Tribune
By: Lee Svitak Dean