• Foreword Book of the Year: Best Anthology
  • Foreword Book Finalist: Essays
  • Pushcart Press 2014 Nominee


“That very American impulse to claim ownership — and to define our separate experiences through food — is on full display in Peggy Wolff’s FRIED WALLEYE AND CHERRY PIE…Heartland natives will embrace the recipes, if not the remembrances of State Fair corn dogs and Lake Michigan fish boils, German kuchen and tamales eaten on Chicago’s Maxwell Street, a.k.a. 'the Ellis Island of the Midwest.'”

--Jenny Rosenstrach,The New York Times, Sunday Book Review [full review]

"Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie reads like a feast and roundtrip combined, taking in Iowa... and skirting the "tan landscape" of the "Corn Belt". The book ends in a selection of desserts, allowing Peggy Wolff to reminisce about pie, stuffed with the fruits of Wisconsin... plucked from the tops of the sunbathed trees."

--The Times Literary Supplement (London)

“'Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie' skips sugary sentimentality for matter-of-fact portraits of the region and its people. [Wolff’s] contributors' thoughts fall not on modernist wonders... but on memories, sweet, bitter and odd. …thoughtful, addicting…”

--Christopher Borrelli, Chicago Tribune, 'Good Eating' section [full review]

"Midwestern writers pay tasteful tribute to an ever-changing region and its fluid bill of fare...A grand culinary--and cultural--stew. Check, Please, Indeed!"

--Martha Bayne, The Printers Row Journal, Chicago Tribune Sunday book section [full review]

"With 30 essays in all, the book provides a thoughtful, often unexpected guide to our impossible-to-categorize culinary heritage."

--Des Moines Register [full review]

"Wolff’s a creative genius…orchestrates one of the most memorable and praise-worthy anthologies of stories in quite some time as her new book, 'Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie,' begins its rapid ascension as a fantastic 'must read.' This has got to be on your Christmas wish list. So many Forrest Gump moments with a box of chocolates. A bountiful harvest of an idea."

--John Busbee, The Culture Buzz, Iowa radio [Streaming globally through]

"A brilliant collection of Heartland food stories.."

--Publisher's Weekly [full review]

"This anthology of essays on the Midwest's best and most unpretentious foods should go a long way toward regaining the respect the heartland's cuisine ought to enjoy."

--Mark Knoblauch, Booklist

"A delectable read, sprinkled with...generous helpings of fun and plenty of food for thought."

--Library Journal

"...filled with delicious and surprising flavors..the book is held together by the overall quality of the writing."

--Rob Kline, The Gazette, Iowa City [full review]

"Nostalgia, regional pride, taste buds imprinted in childhood: for whatever reason, Midwesterners have a passion for their victuals. From the my-corn-is-sweeter-than-your corn boast to reverent musings on family Thanksgivings, the 30 essays by writers from the heartland will spark memories among readers across the country."

--Starred review in Shelf Awareness newsletter, written by Cheryl Krocker McKeon, Book Passage, San Francisco [full review]

“Fried biscuits, Creole-style spaghetti, carrot shavings in the Jell-O, and perfect peach cobbler -- this is the food that haunts midwesterners throughout their lives, and it's inspired a collection of evocative essays by some of the region's most appealing writers.”

--Laura Shapiro, author of Something from the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America.

Fried Walleye & Cherry Pie—what an eyeful! I so enjoyed reading these personal accounts of Midwestern foods and the stories they tell, which is food plus people, place and history. As Peggy Wolff says at the start, food is not just food, but it's the experience that counts—where you are and whom you are with. And that is just what these stories are about, the bigger picture of food that makes its memory poignant and worth telling.”

--Deborah Madison, author of Vegetable Literacy

“The book’s prize ingredient is the range of perspectives of the writers.”

--Doug Moe, Wisconsin State Journal [full review]

More praise:

  • Los Angeles Times
  • Baltimore Sun [link]
  • The Island Packet, Hilton Head SC [link]
  • Bellingham Herald, Bellingham WA
  • Green Bay Press Gazette, Green Bay WI
  • Herald-Reader, Lexington KY
  • News Observer, Raleigh, NC [link]
  •, Waukegan IL
  • The State, South Carolina
  • The Tribune, San Luis Obispo CA
  • Tri-City Herald, central Washington state
  • Sacramento Bee, CA
  • Toledo Blade, OH [link]
  • The News Tribune, Tacoma WA
  • Idaho Statesman, Boise ID
  •, Belleville IL
  • Courier Times, Newcastle, Henry County, Indiana
  • The Gazette, Kalamazoo, MI [link]
  • Edible Door County, Door County, MI [link]
  • Edible Madison, Madison WI
  • Edible Chicago, Chicago IL
  • Make It Better magazine [link]
  • Realize Magazine [link]
  • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [link]
  • Beth Fish Reads [link]
  • Modern Luxury North Shore [link]


  • Isthmus, Madison, WI [link]
  • All Voices, Ann Arbor MI
  • North Shore Weekend, Chicago’s north suburbs
  • Chicago Magazine, online
  • Des Moines Register [link]
  • Minneapolis StarTribune
  • The Burr Oak Blog, Iowa City IA [link]
  • Omaha World Herald [link]
  • MLive, Kalamazoo, MI [link]
  • WKAR Public Media, Michigan State U. [link]
  • The Morning Call, Lehigh Valley, Penn-NJ
  • Chicago Sun Times, Chicago, IL [link]