BY ANTONY KUIPERS
Jamie Callison, executive chef of the School of Hospitality Business Management, said the idea for his book, “The Crimson Spoon: Plating Regional Cuisine on the Palouse,” originated from an event in the spring of 2012 when he cooked dinner for the WSU Board of Governors. He said the dinner party was “excited” when he told them the recipes featured ingredients from the WSU campus and around the area. They suggested he write a cookbook.
Callison liked the idea, and a year-and-a-half later his 224-page photo-illustrated book will be available for online purchase on Oct. 7. The vision for the “The Crimson Spoon,” he said, was to showcase not just regional food, but the culinary work being done by WSU students and researchers.
“The main goal was to tell the story of WSU and what we’re doing here on campus — not just cooking, but producing the food and the research,” he said.
A lentil and cheese salad recipe calls for Cougar Gold cheese from the WSU creamery, as does the heirloom tomato salad. The recipe for Rainier cherry clafoutis, a French-style dessert, recommends cherries picked from the WSU Agricultural Research and Extension Center. Others suggest items like WSU-brand beef, vegetables from the university’s organic farm or Ferdinand’s ice cream.
Of course, lentils and garbanzo beans, two ingredients he called “underused” in the culinary world, are included. Everything else, Callison said, can be bought at local stores or farmers markets.
“If I could not get it here on the Palouse … I didn’t put it in the cookbook,” he said.
Callison, 46, said production on the book started last fall and took nine months to complete. He got in touch with Seattle resident Linda Burner Augustine, who specializes in recipe writing and development for food companies. They knew each other back when Callison used to work as executive chef in a Seattle-area private school. Augustine, a WSU alumnus, called the book “a wonderful opportunity.”
“WSU does not have a cookbook like this,” she said.
After Augustine agreed to coauthor the book, they went to work on the recipes. Callison said his recipes were originally designed for large groups and written for people with advanced culinary skill. So, with Augustine’s help, he “downsized” them to fit the needs of a family, and simplified them so they could easily be accomplished by anyone in their kitchen.
“This cookbook is designed not for chefs but for people at home,” he said.
They then tested each recipe up to10 times to make sure the flavors tasted just right, the proportions were appropriate and the ingredients came together. Callison, who teaches culinary courses, said his students were involved in the testing as well.
The production for his first cookbook was a long and difficult process, he admits, but the final product “surpassed” his expectations.
“It’s a really nice book that tells a great story of WSU and the Palouse,” he said.
According to a WSU news release, proceeds from the $38 book will help maintain and replace equipment and furnishings in the university’s Hospitality Teaching Center. To preorder the book, call WSU Press at (800) 354-7360 or (509) 335-7880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kuipers can be reached at (208) 883-4630, or by email to email@example.com.