Friday, May 31, 2013

Kitchen Stories from the Iron Lake Fishing Club Book Review

Recipes from the Old Shoebox and ... Kitchen Stories from the Iron Lake Fishing Club Book Review.

"There's nothing quite so sad as an empty skillet." ~Bob's Grandpa
That's the way this book begins as Bob's grandpa arrives in the kitchen from a good night's rest and takes notice that although the coffee is brewed, the skillet is cold and empty. Didn't take long from there for the other fellas to catch on and get the bacon and eggs going and it is a telling introduction for all the goings on in the kitchen and at "The Camp."

Update! Congratulations to Barbara H. (Anonymous) who said...

"Shout out from the south! I would love this cookbook, as it might inspire my"geezer" to get into the kitchen. Sounds like it would have simple recipes to go along with the funny stories." ~Barbara H

Visje who said...
"I love cookbooks and I am a Yooper!!! So I am the real north call!!!"

Please contact me at to claim your books before midnight on Friday, June 7th, 2013. Include you name and mailing address and also, Keith will be happy to personalize them if you like, so just be sure to let me know the name you would like them signed to! Congratulations and I hope that you enjoy this fine book!
Part storybook, part cookbook, Kitchen Stories from the Iron Lake Fishing Club, by Keith A. Davis, is a collection of tales and recipes from a group of men who find their way, like many do, to a camp nestled on the quiet end of a spring-fed lake in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. There's fishing, camaraderie, and the things that guys do when there ain't no women folk around, along with some eating and cooking, both by and for the "geezers and geezers-in-training," as Davis affectionately calls the group.

Keith Davis is one of our family members at the Deep South Dish and Best Southern Recipes Facebook pages. Mostly a quiet lurker, he one day wrote to me and asked if he could share a copy of Kitchen Stories with me. I had a few other projects backed up ahead of him so I've only recently been able to sit down with his book and what a treasure it is.

Davis was born in Wisconsin and lived and worked up there, then New York State, Ohio, Indiana and finally the woods of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, before he and his wife moved to Southeast Louisiana in 2004. What started out as letters and random emails to friends to keep up with news from around the lake, soon became a monthly serial in a local magazine and the first book in the series, The Iron Lake Fishing Club. A book made up of camp recipes and stories was the natural follow-up in this second book, Kitchen Stories from the Iron Lake Fishing Club.

While winter snow and boiled potatoes for dinner seemed normal in those places Davis came from, it didn't take long before he learned to appreciate the sunny warmth of the Deep South, as well as fresh shrimp, local peaches and our lovely bread pudding, doused with plenty of bourbon sauce - of course.

A fun and funny read, I knew as soon as I sat down to thumb through his book, I was gonna need more time. There's nothing fancy about this collection of essays and recipes. There are no pictures. The recipes aren't in any particular order, other than "the way Ernie pulled them out of the shoebox." There's no table of contents. There isn't even an index. It's actually more like a storybook, with recipes tossed in and often recipes that intertwine with a tale.

In Kitchen Stories, you'll find these quips and some good food, like this:

Crusty Chicken Pot Pie
"Some of the best food is served the second time around as leftovers."

Say Your Prayers Bacon Log
"When I made this for the Rendezvous in Louisiana, the guys promised not to have fist fights for the last slice. I hope it works out that well for you too."

Beer Biscuits
"When we don't have drinking water to use in the cooking, beer works for lots of things."

Floating Fudge Cake
"If you think kids run on sweets then you haven't been to camp with a bunch of geezers, just in off the ice."

Deep Fried Olives
"Everybody knows that healthy eating includes green vegetables. Deep fried green olives must be healthy then."

Yooper Camp Fire Casserole
"Couple of the guys went green when Dana told us what the name of the dish was, and started mentally ticking off who was missing. Yooper he explained, as in made by and for Yoopers, not with Yoopers." A Yooper is a name used for folks from the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) of Michigan.

Beef Brisket
"You can't find a good brisket in the grocery stores in the far north. One more reason for moving south."

Gershom's Multi-Meat Gumbo
"From a guy who used to think grilled cheese sandwiches were a fancy dinner."

Dutch Oven Chicken
"The easiest, absolutely best, river-camp dinner you can have and you'll be a hero, even if you spill somebody's tackle box in the boat."

Gooey Biscuits (Monkey Bread)
"Up North we use Pillsbury refrigerated buttermilk biscuits. Down South they use 'wham-biscuits.' Same thing, just a different name."

Sunday Night Pancake Pie
"We try not to waste much of anything at camp except time."

Paul's Breakfast Ring
"The recipe calls for nuts and Lord knows we have an abundance of them here."

... and there quite a few more. Ernie says, these are “things that a man can cook with what’s in the cupboard and put a hot meal on the table when it’s too dark to fish.”
In the North they chill their beer in the lake and in Louisiana you can fry a Grilled Cheese Sandwich on the hood of your truck.
Keith says his book was "written for fun, for people who might cook with mud on their boots and a beer on the countertop. Fishermen, and in fact most folks, from the far, far North and the deep, Deep South have a lot in common ... like sense of fair play, a love of the outdoors and most importantly, a fine sense of humor, which is the pivot point around which we must rotate to keep everything else balanced."

So, pull up a chair and sit a spell, join 'The Club,' grab a copy of Kitchen Stories from the Iron Lake Fishing Club (click here to purchase one online from Amazon) and browse through the pages of this lighthearted look at life. I promise you will smile and probably laugh out loud, and truly, in this world today, who doesn't need that? Plus you'll find some down to earth food to enjoy at your own "camp" wherever that may be. Be sure to go like 'The Club' on Facebook too and tell them Mary from Deep South Dish sent ya!

Oh, and by the way, Keith is also a luthier. That's a violin maker to you and me. Just in case you should ever have a need, give him a call.

To honor this North meets South, Keith has generously offered to host a giveaway of two books - one for The North and one for The South. To enter for a chance to win one, you must lay claim to either one or the other!

The author has agreed to provide TWO additional copies of Kitchen Stories from the Iron Lake Fishing Club for me to give to TWO lucky Deep South Dish reader - completely free!

To enter, leave a comment on this post (--Please comment only once!--), tell me why you'd love this book and then shout out either "The North" or "The South" along with your comment! This isn't meant to be divisive - I just happen to know that some of you live in one or the other area of the country, but your heart really lives in the other.

If you post anonymously, please leave a first name and last initial to identify yourself. This giveaway closes on Monday, June 3rd, 2013 at midnight CST. Two winners will be selected at random from the comments - one from The North and one from The South - and both names will be announced as soon as possible after the close of the giveaway here on the site at this post. Winners will have 48 hours to respond to claim the books. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only please.

Thanks for reading and good luck!

Posted by on May 31, 2013
Disclosure: I received one complimentary copy of Kitchen Stories from the Iron Lake Fishing Club, to review and two to offer as a giveaway.

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