The Taste of the Kansas Outdoors Cookbook, by Michael Pearce

Another guest post, this time from Melissa Neff, offering up an excellent review of a recently acquired work of art we managed to beg, borrow, or steal from our opening day duck blind guest, Michael Pearce from the Wichita Eagle

Ok, I will fully admit I might be one of the weird ones out there. But I absolutely love it when cookbooks have a story woven throughout the pages. There is something beautiful about how certain meals invoke certain memories and – honestly – how much more rewarding is it when you find a new recipe that has a story attached to it?

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I recently had the distinct pleasure of meeting Michael Pearce of the Wichita Eagle when he made a trip to this neck of the woods to test out the opening weekend of duck season with the hubby and some of the other Outdoorsman. With very few birds in the area, the talk led to cooking, and just how “gourmet” the meals can sometimes be in the blind.

From the discussion of blind food, the conversation turned to Michael’s latest collaboration, “The Taste of the Kansas Outdoors Cookbook”. And wow, is this a cookbook to behold. Beautiful pictures, creative and amazing recipes, and special stories woven throughout the book made each turn of a page bring new “oohs” and “aahs.”

This cookbook highlights every possible type of wild game you can find – or have even been rumored to find – here in Kansas. I say rumored, as I have never seen any elk or wild pigs. But, let’s be honest, in the ten years of marriage to an Outdoorsman the poor hubby can count on one hand how many times I have joined him in the field.

This cookbook is broken into different types of animals, ranging from big game to fish to native plants that can be found in different parts of the state. Throughout the book, Michael takes the reader on an adventure of exploring Kansas and the many wonders and beauties that so few of us have had the opportunity to experience. After exploring the pages, I was seriously ready to pack the pups up in the truck with our tent and venture out in search of some of these views.

When it comes to the actual recipes, they ranged from simple to complex. There are great pictures of step-by-step procedures on how to handle the different meats to how to prepare the meals. There is truly a recipe for everyone in this cookbook.

But my favorite part of the book has to be the stories. The stories about how the outdoors can become such an integral part of small town Kansas community. About the bond that is forever formed between a hunter and his trusty hunting dog. The stories of life long friendships made in a duck or deer blind. Those stories that make the cold blustery mornings all worth it.

“Taste of the Kansas Outdoors Cookbook,” is a must have for any Outdoorsman to expand their own recipe repertoire. It’s a great cookbook for anyone who appreciates the outdoors and all that Midwest has to offer. I am excited for the boys to have a successful hunting season. And if I am lucky, maybe the hubby will test out a few of these recipes sooner than later.

Here is link to the cook book if you have interesting looking at it. http://www.kansas.com/sports/outdoors/article2999919.html

~ Melissa Neff

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