An interview with Beatrice Ojakangas

Beatrice Ojakangas memoirBefore Beatrice Ojakangas, there was no cookbook for Finnish cuisine. Today her first book, The Finnish Cookbook, is in its 38th printing. The Minnesota author has published several cookbooks since that 1964 volume, including The Great Scandinavian Baking Book, a Member favorite that has been inducted into the James Beard Foundation Cookbook Hall of Fame. Ojakangas has just released a memoir entitled Homemade: Finnish Rye, Feed Sack Fashion, and Other Simple Ingredients from My Life in Food. Epicurious talked with Ojakangas about the book ,and her long career in food writing

Ojakangas got into baking and food writing through a series of serendipitous events. Shortly after her marriage to an Air Force member in , she learned about The Pillsbury Bakeoff from someone on the Air Force base in England. On a whim, she entered a recipe that she had made only once. The initial attempt at the dish, a cheese-filled bread, was a disaster. So she tweaked the recipe and sent it in without making it again. Okajangas had all but forgotten about the entry until she received a telephone call announcing that she was among the 100 finalists. The recipe ended up winning the second grand prize of $5,000. 

Epicurious also asked Ojakangas about her other culinary accomplishments, which include inventing Totino's Pizza Rolls, cooking with Julia Child, and of course researching and writing a cookbook. She wrote her first cookbook while simultaneously raising two children and holding down a full time job. "You can do that when you're young," she explained wryly. Read the full article on the Epicurious website » 

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