2017 One Book SD Combines Food, Family

Rise of the 'Foodie' Culture

Food and family intertwine in the 2017 One Book South Dakota selection, Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal. From Lutheran church bake-offs to chili-pepper eating contests, this book captures the zeitgeist of the Midwest, the rise of foodie culture, and the ways food creates community and influences identity.

Kitchens of the Great Midwest centers on Eva Thorvald, born into a food-obsessed family and blessed with a uniquely sensitive palate. By turns quirky, hilarious and vividly sensory, this book tells an unexpected mother-daughter story about the bittersweet nature of life – its missed opportunities and its joyful surprises. 

"All Midwesterners will find something to relate to in this book, whether it's baking bars from old family recipes or hunting for game for the next meal," said Jennifer Widman, director of the South Dakota Center for the Book. "Stradal also provides some very timely and often humorous commentary on current food trends and the disconnect between rural and urban cultures."

Book Club Kit

As South Dakotans read and discuss this novel throughout 2017, they may also be inspired to try some of the recipes included in certain chapters. Those who wish to enhance their gatherings even further can take advantage of a Book Club Kit, prepared by Penguin Random House with the author’s input, suggesting just the right snacks, drinks, and music to create a party atmosphere. 

Click the image below to check out the Book Club Kit. 

Author J. Ryan Stradal offers a Book Club Kit with his book, Kitchens of the Great Midwest.

See Stradal at Festival, Dinner Events

Stradal will appear at four special dinner events throughout South Dakota – three this summer and one immediately prior to the 2017 Festival of Books in Deadwood (Sept. 21-24), where he will deliver a keynote address. Watch sdhumanities.org for schedule details!

A native of Hastings, Minnesota, Stradal edits the fiction section of The Nervous Breakdown and works as an editor-at-large at Unnamed Press. His shorter writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Rumpus, The Los Angeles Review of Books and McSweeney’s: The Goods, among other places. He now lives in Los Angeles and has worked as a TV producer, notably for the History Channel’s Ice Road Truckers and Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch

He likes books, sports, wine, rhubarb, root beer and peas.