I've long understood that the most popular guy at any party is the guy who brings the beer. So when Kim Anderson at the Montana Center for the Book asked me for a recipe to include in a new cookbook, I went for beer. The result: at last Saturday's unveiling of "Eat Our Words: The Montana Writers' Cookbook," I was the guy who brought the beer. Literally: we distributed a case of my homebrew to the assorted crowd.
I've been home-brewing for about ten years now, and one of the earliest recipes I tried was for Ginger Porter. I've always brewed dark beers, on the theory that if my brew didn't turn out well, at least it would be different. And I've always loved the sharp strong taste of ginger, so the two seemed an obvious combination. With the spread of microbreweries even to some parts of rural Montana, some homebrewers have slacked off in production. But until somebody mass-produces a ginger porter, I'll probably keep on with my hobby.
One of the delights of Saturday's unveiling was discovering the quality of the cookbook. It's beautifully designed and laid out. Each writer contributed an excerpt as well as a recipe, so it's a great way to sample the flavors of all sorts of writers, from the famous to the not-yet-famous. I'll admit, I can't think of a guarantee that somebody who can put words together can also put ingredients together. And I haven't yet tried any of the other recipes myself. But my advice: if you start with the homebrew section of the cookbook, you'll for sure get one good recipe out of it... and you won't even be too concerned about how the others taste.
By the way, as with most books they had trouble with the title. They knew they wanted "Montana Writers' Cookbook" as the subtitle, but what would go atop it? My suggestions included Oro Y Plates, From Baker to Hungry Horse, From Little Belts to Big Belts, and From Bitter Root to Tongue.
I'm always interested in feedback, via info at johnclaytonbooks...