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Sweet Nature: A Cook's Guide to Using Honey and Maple Syrup

Just yesterday, Beth Dooley and Mette Nielsen launched their new book, Sweet Nature: A Cook’s Guide to Using Honey and Maple Syrup, published by the University of MN Press. Sweet Nature is a cookbook based largely on local foods and incorporating two of Minnesota’s natural sweeteners, maple syrup and honey.

In our interview with Beth Dooley (below), she talks about her longtime interest in local and indigenous foods, the history of these sweets, some of their flavors, pairings, and things to watch out for when substituting honey and maple syrup in recipes.

Sweet Nature contains beautiful, mouth-watering color photos by Mette Nielsen. “We try and come up with recipes that somebody really can make at home,” said Beth. “I mean, we’re not using tweezers or ‘fakey things’ or sprays and gels to make the food look good. The food really does look like it appears in the photos...To be honest, the recipes are so quick and easy to make that we didn’t really have to do anything more than once.”

Beth gave us some backstories about a few of her recipes on the KAXE/KBXE Morning Show, including:

  • Maple Lime Scallops with Cucumber Salad
  • Fermented Hot Chili Sauce
  • Bees Knees Cocktail
  • Dark and Stormy 3-Ginger Gingerbread
  • Wild Rice Cranberry Pilaf

In 2017 Beth Dooley co-authored The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen with Sean Sherman, which received the James Beard Award for Best American Cookbook, and wrote Savory Sweet: Simple Preserves from a Northern Kitchen, with co-author Mette Nielsen.

Maggie is a rural public radio guru; someone who can get you through both minor jams and near catastrophes and still come out ahead of the game. She pens our grants, reports to the Board of Directors and helps guide our station into the dawn of a new era. Maggie is a locavore to the max (as evidenced on Wednesday mornings), brings in months’ worth of kale each fall, has heat on in her office 12 months a year, and drinks coffee out of a plastic 1987 KAXE mug every day. Doting parents and grandparents, she and her husband Dennis live in the asphalt jungle of East Nary.