MISSOULA – April 1 was a life-changing day for Missoula River Lodge Executive Chef Carrie Nowlen.

Carrie received word from lodge owner, Tammi Cummings, that she had been selected to be featured the “America the Great Cookbook”.

“Tammi called and she said, ‘Hey, guess what…I just got a call from this guy who wants to put together a cookbook, the editor of the Washington Post Food and Dining section,’ and I was like, ‘Ha-Ha April Fools.’” said Nowlen.

Joe Yonan was the man who made that call.  He is well known in the cooking world, and has been awarded the prestigious “James Beard Award for Newspaper Food Section.” Yonan was searching for talented cooks with unique local recipes for his soon to be released “America the Great Cookbook”.

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“He is working to curate a cookbook that showcases American food stories, and it features 100 top chefs, food heroes and home cooks from around the nation,” Nowlen said.

The Missoula River Lodge and Nowlen’s reputation for amazing and specialized recipes caught Yonan’s eye.  Nowlen has been the executive chef at the lodge for five years.  Nowlen cooks breakfast and dinners for guests, many of whom spend the day out on the river with the lodge’s fly-fishing guides.

Nowlen said she is honored to have her recipes featured among world-renowned chefs, Mario Batali and Ruth Reichl, “It’s tailored toward the home cook, and giving them the ingredients and skills and little tiny tips, so they can share these foods with the people that they love, so it was awesome to share that with the world.”

Nowlen shares two of her recipes in the America The Great Cookbook, a river turf tenderloin and Trout Spring Rolls, which Nowlen says uses almost exclusively local ingredients.

A portion of the proceeds from the book are given the National No Kid Hungry program, which Nowlen says is important to her.

“Their concept is that they want to make sure that the kids have proper nutrition so that they have the ability to focus on school and things that will give them the opportunity to rise above their current circumstances.”

She says she hopes her recipes inspire readers to share the food that she loves with those that they love.

The “America the Great Cookbook” is scheduled to be released on Halloween.

MTN’s Russ Thomas 

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