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Local family releases book highlighting region, cuisine

Karl Zinsmeister, center, stands with his children Kate Harvey and Noah Zinsmeister. The trio recently released their new book “Finger Lakes Feast,” a collection of recipes and essays inspired by the food culture of the Finger Lakes region.

Karl Zinsmeister, center, stands with his children Kate Harvey and Noah Zinsmeister. The trio recently released their new book “Finger Lakes Feast,” a collection of recipes and essays inspired by the food culture of the Finger Lakes region.

— Cazenovia local Karl Zinsmeister and his children, Kate Harvey and Noah Zinsmeister, recently saw the publishing of a new storytelling cookbook they compiled, titled “Finger Lakes Feast.”

The book, which features culinary delights and regional narratives, boasts 110 recipes, 28 essays highlighting quirks of the Finger Lakes food culture and 126 color photos of both the gastronomic combinations and the bucolic region which produced them.

Karl, a fifth-generation resident of the Finger Lakes area who has mixed a career in journalism (magazines, books and films) and politics (including time as a Senate aide and a senior advisor in the White House) conceived the book as a love letter to his home region.

The short discourses scattered throughout the book — ranging from how the last Ice Age created today’s Central New York flavors to why Penn Yan is the buckwheat capital of the world — are his work.

In the course of his research, he reached out to 30 of the finest chefs working in the region, stretching from Buffalo to Oneida, all of whom agreed to contribute treasured recipes to the book.

These, along with traditional regional and ethnic favorites, family recipes and contributions from local farmers, serve as the backbone of the cookbook.

Cue the cook. Kate, burgeoning chef and recent recipient of a master’s degree in piano performance, donned many an apron during the past two years to test and adapt for comfortable home creation the array of dishes found in “Finger Lakes Feast.”

She called upon deep cooking savvy and her natural gifts of description to perfect each dish, then described foolproof ways to re-create it. Her clear, useful tips make the cooking simple.

Simultaneously, Noah, an avid photographer and student at Columbia University, documented all of Karl and Kate’s exploits with corresponding photographs of food and foliage.

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