I've always been a foodie. When I was growing up in rural New York state I never knew how lucky I was to be surrounded by luscious produce that didn't travel more than a mile to get to my plate. My Sicilian-American family raised me with a steady supply of pasta, meatballs, minestrone soup, my Nonna's homemade biscotti and cannoli, and my mom's most excellent manicotti. My father — the only surgeon for miles and miles — often traded medical care with the local Amish in exchange for chickens, bread and cheese.
At my favorite neighborhood farmstand. Photo: Megan Peterson
I left home at the age of 17 to move to the big city — Denver and the Rocky Mountains were calling me —followed by Brooklyn and a long stint in Chicago to attend medical school and train in Obstetrics and Gynecology. All the while, I had my sights on moving back to the mountains.
Now I live at the foot of the Teton Mountains in Jackson, Wyoming with one very tall husband, two ravenously hungry teenage boys, and a few semi-obedient hunting dogs. I practiced medicine here for twenty years, much of it as a solo practitioner. Over the years I’ve delivered nearly a thousand babies, taken care of multiple generations of women, and specialized in menopausal health care. I wrote a column for the local newspaper on women’s health topics that ran for over twelve years.
I write about food and life in my small yet sophisticated mountain town. I write about the perils of gardening at 6500 feet, how to eat well while exploring the mountains, and what to cook when a dozen friends drop in for dinner after skiing. I write about foraging for wild mushrooms in the spring and fall, wild huckleberries in the summer, and our tradition of hunting for antelope, bison, deer, elk, moose, and wild birds. Through my writing I have gotten to know the talented people who are part of the vibrant food culture of Jackson Hole — the farmers, ranchers, chefs, bakers, distillers, cheesemongers, brewers and winemakers.
This is a place where everyone cares about where their food comes from. There's an unlimited amount of food writing material right here in my own backyard. And my backyard is pretty nice.
Jacksonholefoodie is a place to find the stories behind the food culture that makes Jackson Hole unique. It's about cooking, growing and foraging for food in a small mountain town. It's the place for home cooks to turn to for inspiration when faced with cooking for yourself, your family or a large group of friends. Recipes are original, seasonal and packed with the best local ingredients from both sides of the Tetons.
Jacksonholefoodie is also a doctor's perspective on how to eat well for enhanced health and longevity without excluding major categories of food or — God forbid — dieting. By highlighting seasonal foods produced close to home, eaten in abundance and with a sense of community, the jacksonholefoodie way of eating is inherently healthy — for you, your family, and your community.
Cooking is an act of generosity. The recipes you'll find here are meant to make you and those you love very, very happy.
The Taste Testers
My kids have always been my most brutally honest taste testers. If a recipe doesn't pass the gauntlet of the family dinner table, it doesn't make it onto jacksonholefoodie. Determined as I am to raise children who know how to cook, my boys have acquired a list of specialty dishes that they can make all on their own: pasta carbonara, meatballs, breakfast fried rice, pumpkin bread and chocolate chip cookies. At least it's a start.
Nick and Jack love playing soccer even more than they love eating.
That's my husband, also known as Mountain Man, with our newest pup Orzo who's still learning how to be a good fishing dog.
We love our mountain town of Jackson and the vast wild spaces of Wyoming. The mountains provide an unlimited playground for working up an appetite: fly-fishing, hiking, cycling, skiing, climbing, trail running, paddling, and floating the rivers and lakes. Then sitting down to a good meal with friends and family. Ah, heaven.
From time to time, I give cooking classes through Central Wyoming College, teach private classes, food writing classes through the Teton County Public Library, and host special events. Check out my Events page for what's coming up in the foodie world of Jackson Hole, and be sure to say hello when you see me out and about.
Cooking Classes to Prevent Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease
For the past year, most of my cooking classes have been devoted to teaching how to cook and eat to prevent dementia. Through a program called Brain Works created by Dr. Martha Stearn of the Cognitive Health Department of St. John's Medical Center here in Jackson, I have created a series of cooking classes using the latest scientific research on the foods that have been proven to prevent dementia and Alzheimer's disease. These hands-on cooking classes are part of multi-disciplinary 8-week course designed to prevent dementia in our community. You can read more about my Brain Works classes here in the Jackson Hole News and Guide. I've taken my Brain Works cooking classes on the road and have taught students in Chicago and will soon be the visiting chef at Rancho la Puerta spa in Tecate, Mexico.
For more information about the Jackson Hole Brain Works program, contact the Cognitive Health Program here. My local Brain Works classes will be resuming in early 2017. Check back periodically on Jacksonholefoodie for upcoming dates.