As far back as human memory can go, parents around the world have asked themselves at least a few times a week: what should we make for dinner?
And Jean Petersen, was no different…
“There’s only so much deer spaghetti I can make…”
… That is, until she met Barrie.
After meeting through a mutual friend and working on a series of projects with each other, Jean realized Barrie wasn’t just a chef. She was a chef with a story to tell, and expertise to share.
“I would pick Barrie’s brain all the time about how do I do this, how would I do that… she just had some great tricks to her trade,” says Petersen.
The idea for the “Big Sky Bounty Cookbook” was born, and the pair got to work, with Barrie sharing her recipes and knowledge, and Jean finessing the final product for publication.
Over the course of five years, the project morphed from just a cookbook into a written legacy of Montana traditions.
“We got turned down several times, which as a blessing in disguise because our publishing company is fantastic and they’re a history press, so we got to add in the historical component not only with Barrie’s recipes and her family’s history, but also taking the natural resources we were using and how they back up into the history of Montana.”
In fact, the co-authors say many readers describe the book as more of a coffee-table read than a traditional cookbook… weaving together the historical significance of game hunting in Montana, utilizing the resources around you, and keeping family legacy, in this case, Barrie’s family from eastern Montana, alive.
“At first I was like yeah! But then it was really personal to me, and it was kind of like my living history and just opening it up for everyone to have. But I got over it,” says Barrie.
The book was finally published this past July. The pair says they hope the book will translate into new traditions for future generations, teaching the value of knowing your food, from field to table.
“For them to sit down and see that this is where this came from and you’re eating what you just picked out of your garden or what you hunted for and you can sit down and have this whole meal. For kids I think, its pride, and it gives you a vested interest in your meal,” says Barrie.
The “Big Sky Bounty Cookbook” can be purchased wherever books are sold.