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Lauri Desir

Lauri Desir

Author: Beatrice Ojakangas

Title: "Breakfast with Beatrice"

Whether your definition of breakfast is a muffin to be eaten as you drive or you make time for a leisurely brunch, this cookbook is sure to give some new and some tried-and-true recipe ideas. "Breakfast with Beatrice" is an excellent Christmas gift idea for the many North Dakotans of Scandinavian descent.

The author, Beatrice Ojakangas, has a Finnish background but her recipe book covers foods from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and other countries. The simple folk art on the book cover is reminiscent of a cookbook you may have seen at your grandmother’s house. As a matter of fact, the author herself is similar to who you’d find having coffee and scones at your grandmother’s house.

Also similar to what our grandmothers always told us, the author states that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In the book introduction, Ojakangas repeats an old nutritional adage: “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.”

The author stresses the importance of starting the day with protein, carbohydrate and fruit to give quick and also sustained energy. If you agree with that goal but are not sure how to get there, this book of more than 250 recipes is a condensed and helpful way to find tasty recipes.

As I carefully looked through the cookbook and tried a few of the recipes, I was impressed that many of the ingredients requested were common items I already have in the pantry. Thankfully, most of the recipes seem to include combinations of eggs, flour, milk, with savory additions as in the Swiss egg and cheese bake or sweet as in the pecan butter coffee cake. If you fall in the category of many North Dakotan Scandinavians, you would already have cardamom in your spice collection.

Several of the torte or quiche recipes started with a store-bought pie shell. Other than the pie crust, I did not find many convenience foods used for shortcuts since these recipes tend to be made from scratch yet simple.

The icing on the cake was to find the perfect recipe for puffy pancake. This beloved breakfast dish might be known to you as Dutch baby, pannukakku, or baked pancake. The secret step that I’ve been missing these years is to let the batter rest for 30 minutes before baking. This resulted in a semi-dense pancake with crisp puffy edges. The basic formula for this recipe is equal parts of flour, milk and eggs then adding a touch of sugar and salt. After mixing the ingredients, let sit, melt butter in the cast iron or whatever pan using, then bake. Var sa god! Enjoy!

Ojakangas is the author of 30 cookbooks, her first written in 1964 and this edition is actually excerpted from several of her previous cookbooks. Many of her recipes include short cultural snippets, so though classified as a cookbook, you may just as well enjoy reading this as a good book with a muffin and coffee.

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Lauri Desir, a Bismarck resident, loves to cook, eat, and read. She adores her Swedish-inspired Little Free Library.

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