Win Book ($38): Portland: A Food Biography Launches This Week | Perfect Holiday / Christmas Gift for Foodies & History Buffs

We are giving away a copy of Portland: A Food Biography. To win, comment on this post what YOU think should be Portland’s Signature Dish. Winner will be drawn and emailed Monday, December 8.

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From our sponsors:
Portland: A Food BiographyPortland: A Food Biography
Hardback $38
More info:

In the decades before the old growth trees were scraped from the landscape, Portland’s wood was a verdant breadbasket, overflowing with huckleberries, chanterelles, venison. Today, Portland is seen as a quaint village populated by trust fund wunderkinds who run food carts, each serving something more precious than the last. But Portland’s culinary history tells a different story: the tales of salmon-people, pioneers and immigrants, each struggling to make this inviting land between the Pacific and the Cascades feel like home.

The foods that many people associate with Portland are derived from and defined by its history: salmon, berries, hazelnuts, beer. Portland is an eater’s paradise, and a cook’s playground. Full of wry humor and captivating anecdotes, Portland: A Food Biography chronicles the Rose City’s rise from a muddy Wild West village to a progressive, bustling town of merchants, brewers and oyster parlors, to the critical darling of the national food scene. Heather Arndt Anderson brings to life in lively prose the culinary landscape of Portland, then and now.

“A twisty culinary path from wapato wonderland, via boiled wheat mush and crab Louis salad, to Portland’s prominence as a land of lush local liquoring and foodcarts galore. Portland: A Food Biography is a fast and colorful run down that path, and at the end you may be panting for more—more food, more beverages, more time-tinged tales of eating in a bountiful place.”
—Richard H. Engeman, historian and author of Eating It Up in Eden: The Oregon Century Farm & Ranch Cookbook


  • Peppered with anecdotes and artifacts of the people who forged Portland’s culinary landscape
  • Relates historic and social life in Portland to a broader, national scale
  • Offers a glimpse into the dietary habits of early eccentrics who began keeping Portland weird
  • Recipes from pioneers and early restaurateurs that have had a lasting impact on the way Portlanders eat

Heather Arndt Anderson is a Portland, Oregon–based food writer. She is the author of Breakfast: A History (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013), a contributing writer to The Portland Mercury and the magazines Narratively, The Farmer General and Remedy Quarterly.

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68 Responses to Win Book ($38): Portland: A Food Biography Launches This Week | Perfect Holiday / Christmas Gift for Foodies & History Buffs

  1. Cassandra November 25, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    i would love to win this book for my friend!

  2. Albert November 25, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    I love food.

  3. Sian November 25, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

    I got my favorite person in the Xmas lottery for family gift buying. If I won this book it would also entice him to visit. We love Portland but our most favorite person hasn’t visited us yet. Once he does he’ll keep coming back for the food and everything else that Portland is so delicious for.

  4. Tim November 25, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

    I can only come up with a side dish: jojos. Never heard of them anywhere else.

  5. Joe November 25, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

    Portland’s signature dish :
    Microbrewed draft root beer float with Salt & Straw vanilla ice cream.

  6. Anna November 26, 2014 at 11:38 am #

    I spend every weekend prying into Portland’s history chest and digging in its gardens. I would love a comprehensive book on Portland’s food history that could weave a narrative path for me to follow

  7. Justine November 26, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

    Not totally sure what dish but perhaps a hazelnut encrusted salmon fillet of some sort. Would love to win this book. Thanks.

  8. William Stewart November 26, 2014 at 7:21 pm #

    Sounds delicious :-)

  9. Jimbobber November 26, 2014 at 7:32 pm #

    I’ve got a winner with a savory Duck & Beaver Pie!

  10. Melissa Kent November 26, 2014 at 7:38 pm #

    I am the history buff, the fiancé is the foodie. We would share this book and isn’t sharing what life is all about? Huh?

  11. J November 26, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

    A signature Portland dish? Love the shakshuka at Tasty ‘n Sons, possibly accompanied by a Bloody Mary with jerky. Hey, it’s got house-pickled vegetables and smoked meat. Can’t get more local than that!

  12. Leonard November 26, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

    Portland Food!!!

  13. Anna November 26, 2014 at 8:51 pm #

    dirty fries at Lardo!

  14. Cathy November 26, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

    Salmon from the Columbia River

  15. panda November 26, 2014 at 9:02 pm #

    something with donuts

  16. April November 26, 2014 at 9:08 pm #


  17. ASmartt1 November 26, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

    Nong’s Khao Man Gai

  18. steadysig November 26, 2014 at 9:28 pm #

    really difficult question to answer. no single restaurant past or present embodies all that Portland represents. let alone a single dish. also issues of historic portland vs. portland in the context of portlandia-type hipster identification.

    i think i need to read this book and report back. thanks for the chance.

  19. annie November 26, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

    mmm. whole bowl.

  20. marla schroeder November 26, 2014 at 10:24 pm #

    For Portland: A Food Biography……………………………………….
    From my grandma’s huckleberry pancake…………
    To the smell of salmon on every Portlanders plate………
    Such a hard question for me to ponder…………
    Makes me think from here to yonder………..….
    Those who still survive?……..Or unusual creative jive?….…
    Which food to represent my hometown pride………..…..
    Hot Cake house…or VooDoo,…. both have their place…
    But Both From the past……………..Or from the present…………….
    I think the one that’s iridescent!!!…
    Wild caught salmon,…. better states our case……….
    With loving rub,… and grilled perfection………
    This I believe,… might be the right direction…
    Thank you………………..Portland: A Food Biography…………….
    For your time and foodography!!!

  21. Lauren November 27, 2014 at 1:22 am #

    Portland’s signature dish is the food cart turned brick and mortar, paired with a powerful microbrew!
    But what lucky friend would get the book…

  22. Wendy November 27, 2014 at 3:01 am #

    It would have to be salmon.

  23. Scott November 27, 2014 at 5:12 am #

    Interesting book

  24. Claire November 27, 2014 at 9:42 am #

    Portland’s signature dish would be a vegan sandwich with a side of pork belly (because pork is vegan, right?) and a gluten free beer.

  25. Brandy Border Rodriguez November 27, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

    Port ands signature dish would have to be something that incorporates either fresh Salmon or Steel head in it and maybe also Oregon hazelnuts and marionberries or possibly pan fried razor clams & fish chowder lol! Idk that’s hard to pick especially if you know a lot of vegan foodies! Lol

  26. Lani November 27, 2014 at 11:28 pm #

    Yes please I want to make everything in this book

  27. Ron T November 28, 2014 at 12:22 am #

    I’d love to win a copy of this book. Living here in Ptld, now for 8 years, I love the history and meet regularly to play Scrabble, converse and eat w/ friends. Please pick me.

  28. david November 28, 2014 at 1:10 am #

    Jesus had this book in mind when he created Christmas.

  29. Linda L November 28, 2014 at 9:51 am #

    I am a food book collector, and can use another in my collection! Chinook Salmon cooked any way is Portland’s signature food.

  30. Tam Lieb November 28, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

    Count me in!!!

  31. Margit November 28, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    Mccarthy Whiskey paired with Moonstruck Chocolate.

  32. Mary November 29, 2014 at 10:55 am #

    Pok Pok wings- delish and screams “Portland!”

  33. Cory November 30, 2014 at 8:25 am #

    Books make me smart!!!!!!

  34. Robert Hutcheson November 30, 2014 at 9:13 am #

    Great book! I would have to vote for my Smoked Steelhead Pasta – filled with fresh asparagus and grape tomatoes!

  35. Steve December 1, 2014 at 10:38 am #

    I’m a foodie who is always looking for new recipes to create. I’d love this book.

  36. Sarah Berger December 1, 2014 at 11:57 am #

    I think Portland’s signature dish should be beer braised pork belly with locally harvested mushrooms! Gotta love porklandia.

  37. Yume December 1, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

    This looks AMAZING. I want a copy!

  38. Elyse December 1, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    Portland’s signature dish is spicy Asian chicken wings with bacon-wrapped brussel sprouts

  39. Danielle December 2, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    I would really enjoy this book since I am passionate about both food and history.

    Signature dish… I’m really not sure but I do know that it would have locally sourced, organically grown, and sustainable ingredients plus atleast one ingredient you’ve never even heard of before.

  40. Stacy December 2, 2014 at 7:15 pm #


  41. Sarah December 3, 2014 at 11:22 am #

    Portland’s Signature Meal: Local beer with a slice of vegan (or non) pizza, finished off with a scoop or two from Salt & Straw’s seasonal menu. This book looks like a great read!!

  42. Steve burnett December 4, 2014 at 6:35 am #

    Some kind of bad ass sandwich, Lardo style.

  43. Ali December 4, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

    So hard to pick a single “signature dish” but I would consider anything delicious from a food truck as Portland’s signature!

  44. Scott December 4, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

    I want one.

  45. Julie G December 4, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    Smoked Salmon and a big bowl of Tillamook ice cream

  46. lori December 4, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

    It would definitely have to be a brunch dish!

  47. michael December 4, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    MMMMMM This would be such an amazing gift for the holiday

  48. John Polchowski December 4, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

    Rather than a dish, I think food cart culture as a whole identify Portland best

  49. Sarah December 4, 2014 at 5:46 pm #

    What a great gift!

  50. Kourtney December 4, 2014 at 7:38 pm #

    Pdx foodies love for my sister!!

  51. Ari December 4, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

    A hazelnut crust marionberry pie for the holidays – probably gluten free and vegan to make sure everyone can eat it!

  52. Janet December 4, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    This book looks amazing…I want it and I want to send it to friends out of town!
    Signature dish….that’s really difficult!
    I think I would say Grilled Salmon with a blackberry ginger sauce.

  53. Austin December 4, 2014 at 9:14 pm #

    This book sounds amazing!

  54. Jessica December 4, 2014 at 10:16 pm #

    I live books and food!

  55. Oskar December 4, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

    I got this: Andy Ricker’s Pok Pok Fish Sauce Wings!

    1/2 cup Vietnamese fish sauce
    1/2 cup superfine sugar (or just regular white sugar)
    4 garlic cloves, 2 crushed and 2 minced (we used about 4 heads of garlic, divided
    3 pounds chicken wings split at the drumettes (We used drummets and wings and find it’s easier to fry.)
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying
    1 cup cornstarch
    1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
    1 tablespoon chopped mint

    In a bowl, whisk the fish sauce, sugar and crushed garlic. Add the wings and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 3 hours, tossing the wings occasionally.

    Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a small skillet. Add the minced garlic; cook over moderate heat until golden, 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

    In a large pot, heat 2 inches of oil to 350°. Pat the wings dry on paper towels; reserve the marinade. Put the cornstarch in a shallow bowl, add the wings and turn to coat lightly. Dust off any extra. Fry the wings in batches until golden and cooked through. Drain on cooling rack and transfer to a bowl.

    In a small saucepan, simmer the marinade over moderately high heat until syrupy (see photo above). Strain over the wings and toss. Top with the cilantro, mint and fried garlic and serve.

    • Oskar December 4, 2014 at 10:34 pm #

      Whoops, in my food frenzy I mistyped my email address. Here’s the correct one.

  56. Ron T December 5, 2014 at 12:32 am #

    YES. I’d appreciate winning this book. I love history, but, I love food too.
    Getting to know the old days and the old ways would offer a perfect gift to me.

  57. Adam December 5, 2014 at 2:02 am #

    Holy cow, I have been nose deep in the local food author scene this November, this would be the cherry on top of my culture cake! Thanks again for scoring such awesome swag pdx pipeline!

  58. lindy December 5, 2014 at 6:13 am #

    I would live to win this for my sister. She is a Portland native foodie who recently had to move to Chicago.

  59. Dawn December 5, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    Everyone I know is a foodie or food obsessed.

  60. Erin December 5, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    Just moved here one month ago from Indiana. I can’t help but think a Salmon dish would be representative of Portland…with some flare, of course.

  61. Anthony December 5, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

    Portland’s signature dish would be a place of Artisanal cheeses & meats with bacon-wrapped dates and pickled vegetables on the side.

  62. Maxene Graze December 7, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    Portland’s signature dish would probably be something like biscuits with a salmon gravy.

  63. Alexander Craghead December 8, 2014 at 11:12 am #

    Hands-down the official dish of Portland would be the Shrimp Louie. It was invented here, and was the signature dish of the Bohemian restaurant. It can now be found throughout the city, and very often across the nation. It is probably the dish that was created in Portland that has spread the furthest, and that the fewest know comes from the city.

  64. Julie December 11, 2014 at 11:15 pm #

    My in-laws would totally flip for this book! Help a girl out!

  65. James December 12, 2014 at 10:32 am #

    Food has always been one of my favorite performers in Portland, and I would love to read the biography of how he got to be such a big sensation (as well as the salacious personal drama that goes on behind the scenes ;) you kow?)

  66. kelli December 14, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    Portland signature dish…vegan sandwich with locally harvested produce and field roast, Kampuchea or an IPA

  67. Alan December 26, 2014 at 8:21 am #

    Deschutes sometimes has a fantastic vegetarian stew that satisfies even this meat lover.

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