April 7, 2014 at 1:00 am

Maureen Tisdale

Let's Talk Food (& maybe win a cookbook): 'The New Midwestern Table'

Doesn't the book cover alone seem relaxing? )

Something about “The New Midwestern Table” by Amy Thielen made me hold onto it until spring.

It’s not that I’ve been leafing through it regularly or anything, it’s more like the cover, with the sunlight seeming to stream in through the window in the background, just made me feel better this dreary winter.

I received the book not long after Food Network began airing commercials for Thielen’s new show “Heartland Table.” The commercial, like the book cover, gave me that peaceful feeling I like best about most cooking shows and food writing. It’s not that I don’t like some of the competitive shows — shout out to my favorite, “Chopped” — but to really relax, I like the shows that are just plain old cooking. It’s the same reason I was glad to become Kate Lawson’s editor; long before I worked with her, her column was something that consistently gave me the sense of kicking back and putting my feet up, and don’t we all need a little more of that?

Anyway, when I think of 200 Heartland Recipes (which the book touts), I think a lot of my husband’s family. Thielen grew up in rural Minnesota, and my mother-in-law’s family is from there, while my father-in-law’s family is from Wisconsin. Both sides seem big on simple, delicious food from the heart — cheesy potatoes and slow-cooker dishes and old-fashioned cakes and the like.

I think Thielen goes a little fancier than that in her book; you won’t find “cheesy” under potatoes in the index, unless you count au Gratin with Dried Beef or Skins with Smoked Cheddar and Bacon (and mmm – I might). But she does talk bread made moist with boiled potatoes and Rhubarb-Lime Icebox Pie with Sweet Shortbread Crust, among tons of options, and she won a James Beard Journalism Award in 2011. This seems like a book worthy of some lucky reader.

If you’re interested in “The New Midwestern Table”, send an email to Eats&Drinks@detroitnews.com with “Cookbook/Midwestern” in the subject line. Include your name and mailing address in the body. Enter only once by midnight April 14. A winner will be chosen at random from among entries. (If it’s April 15, 2014, or later when you read this, the giveaway will be over — but thanks for stopping by.)

Good luck! And p.s., if you have a favorite Midwestern dish, please do share in the comments below. I’ll be back from some time with my husband’s Midwesterners in a few days and check in on what you had to say.

You can also follow Detroit News Food Editor Maureen Tisdale on Twitter @reentiz.