I love my Tillamook Cheese Cookbook and I began to wonder how these well-worn pages came together. So I sat down with our very own Kathy Holstad to learn more about her experiences creating the Tillamook Cheese Cookbook.
Q: How did you first taste Tillamook?
A: My grandparents were Tillamook dairy farmers, as were my great-grandparents. So, Tillamook Cheese was, of course, always in their fridge. It is what I grew up on – in our house and in theirs. My Grandpa lived to be 94 years old and he claimed that a hunk of Tillamook Cheese, a bowl of hot oatmeal, and hard work every day is the reason why he lived such a long and healthy life!
Q: What inspired you to create the Tillamook Cookbook?
A: When I started working at Tillamook in 1997 there were no formally tested recipes or food photography. My goal was to someday have a collection of recipes that could be put into a beautiful cookbook because it had never been done before. The 100th Anniversary of the Tillamook County Creamery Association seemed like the perfect time to make it a reality.
Q: How long did it take?
A: We created, tested, and photographed all the recipes over about 12 years, and then it took 1 year to put the actual cookbook together with our publisher.
Q: What was the hardest thing about writing a cookbook?
A: Picking which recipes will go into the book – they’re all so good!
Q: What was the most fun part about writing a cookbook?
A: Hands down working with the generational family farms for all the photos. They were so honored to be a part of it (and some were so shy!).
Q: What was one surprising thing you learned through the process?
A: The amount of creative people it takes to create a really great cookbook.
Q: What is your favorite seasonal ingredient used in the cookbook?
A: Crab, squash, or apples.
Q: What’s your favorite recipe overall?
A: That’s a hard question as there are so many! The Scalloped Potatoes (page 63) are very simple, but the addition of the different kinds of delicious Tillamook Cheese make it very special.
Q: What’s your favorite recipe for a quick weekday dinner?
A: The Everyday Macaroni and Cheese (page 98) is a great base, but I add other ingredients to make it different every time. I may add shrimp and Cajun seasoning one time, or chicken and nutmeg the next time, and always play with the cheese combinations. Have fun with a basic recipe! Instead of all Medium Cheddar, make it with half Pepper Jack and half medium, or a blend of medium, Vintage White Extra Sharp and Monterey Jack…mix it up!
Q: Which recipe sounds the hardest, but is the most worth it?
A: The Mega-Cheesy Mac & Cheese (page 114) with crab. It has a lot of ingredients, but it is so worth it!
Q: What’s your favorite part about working for Tillamook?
A: The farmers, the family atmosphere, and the fact that everyone works so hard to make amazing Tillamook products to share with our consumers.