Whatchagot Stew: A Memoir of an Idaho Childhood, with Recipes and Commentaries

Patrick McNamus, Author, Patricia M. Gass, Author, Patricia McManus, With Henry Holt & Company $16.95 (270p) ISBN 978-0-8050-0922-4
Much like his friend Rae, who donates a recipe for tomato-soup cake to this book, bestselling humorist McManus ( The Night the Bear Ate Goom baw) here combines unexpected ingredients to come up with delicious fun. In a fond, frequently hilarious recollection of his Depression-era childhood, the author introduces a cast of characters whose recipes are found in the volume's second half. His tough-as-nails mother (``just scrape off the burnt part''), his sister (and coauthor, referred to as The Troll) and childhood friend Vern Schulz, among others, get a chance to shine. An avid outdoorsman and hunter, McManus has gathered plenty of ideas for cooking up grouse, wild turkey, pheasant and freshly caught fish; there are eight recipes for elk, a couple for bear and 16 for venison, including salami and sausage. A chapter on breads includes interesting sourdough variations, while the vegetable section goes heavy on cabbage (fried, creamed or stuffed) and canned beans. Oddities include kippered cherries, huckleberry liqueur and corncob jelly. Preparation of food is, blessedly, subject to neither humor nor confusion. Line drawings by the author's daughter. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
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