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Wisconsin cookbook author to visit Baraboo Civic Center

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Despite the chili weather, the Baraboo Civic Center is warming up for a visit from Wisconsin cookbook author Jennifer Rude Klett.

Rude Klett’s Nov. 1 appearance, a free event sponsored by the Carnegie-Schadde Memorial Public Library, follows the release of her second cookbook, “Home Cooking Comfort: More Neighborly Advice & Recipes from the Farm Kitchen of a Midwestern Food Journalist.”

Beyond the recent release, Klett will also be discussing her first cookbook, “Home Cooking Comfort” as well as general Wisconsin food and cooking for the upcoming holidays. She will also be holding a Q&A as well as signing books.

As far as content goes, both books have one thing in common: Their inspiration.

“Both cookbooks are definitely Wisconsin cookbooks,” said Klett. “They have a lot of midwestern common sense and feature food raised, grown, or produced in Wisconsin.”

The midwestern common sense Klett references is prevalent in the “neighborly advice” sections leading each of her cookbooks, and also sprinkled in throughout the remaining nine chapters. This was a priority of hers, she said, setting her books apart from merely listing ingredients and bake times.

“I didn’t want to just throw a bunch of recipes at people,” she said. “I wanted to really educate people and inspire people about the great foods we have in Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin’s foods, she added, vary with the seasons, and she recommends following the natural calendar of cooking set forth by local farmers, eating in-season produce. Fall, for instance, brings cranberries, pumpkins, and apples. Spring lends itself to asparagus, rhubarb. Eating in-season, she says, elevates many of her “relaxed yet refined” recipes.

“One of the things that I recommend is people embrace the natural rhythm of seasonal cooking,” she said. “When you eat local food in-season it provides you the best possible outcomes in home cooking.”

Beyond elevating dishes, Klett says using seasonal ingredients in cooking also benefits the farmers who grow the corn, sugar snap peas, and strawberries being used in various dishes.

“We’re literally shaping the landscape of Wisconsin and helping our local farmers at the same time,” she said.

Her decades-long work as a reporter, she said, led her to writing about food. An award-winning journalist, Klett says her past was filled with stories regarding municipal government and sanitary sewers. Now, though, she’s shifted her focus.

“You kind of reach a point in your life where you just want to write about what interests you,” she said. “Food interests me.”

This interest, she added, developed after she wrote a story about how World War I changed peoples’ diets, which she expanded on in her 2014 book, “Alamo Doughboy: Marching into the Heart of Kaiser’s Germany During World War I.”

At the Baraboo Civic Center event, signed copies of “Home Cooking Comfort and Home Cooking Comeback” will be available in paperback for $26.99 and hardcover for $34.99, with cash or checks accepted.

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