By Michelle M. Sharp, Founder and Content Creator of Meet the Minnesota Makers

Celebrate the best food Minnesota has to offer with the new cookbook “Minnesota Roots” by Jennifer Switzer and Megan Stezka. This mother-daughter collaboration combines Jennifer’s food memories growing up on a farm in rural Minnesota with photographs by Megan (who was recently named one of Minneapolis’ top food photographers by Peerspace).

Megan has been a full-time food photographer since 2020. She launched her business, Stezka Photo, after a decade of photography work. “I mostly work
with small businesses and entrepreneurs. My background in advertising is what makes me different from most brand photographers,” explained Megan. “I keep marketing techniques top of mind during the planning process, but on a smaller scale. This makes it a more accessible investment to newer and upcoming businesses.”

The cookbook began as a family project to create a unique gift for Megan’s grandparents/Jennifer’s parents. Megan and Jennifer worked together to assemble directions for favorite recipes as well as family memories surrounding the dishes. Thanks to the enthusiastic response and requests for copies of the original version, Megan and Jennifer set out to compose a second version. “I can’t believe I’ve published a cookbook with all of my photography,” shared Megan. “I was surprised to see this little project turn into a big one!”

Jennifer, the Number Crunching Chef, wrote the cookbook while maintaining her career in finance. Having previously worked as a personal chef, Jennifer knows her way around a kitchen professionally, and still finds it a place for calm and restoration. “I have had a lifelong fascination with recipes and cookbooks, starting with my childhood growing up in rural Minnesota,” shared Jennifer. “I have always wanted to write and publish my own material and life finally provided me with the window to get that started during 2020.”

“We came up with the title ‘Minnesota Roots’ as we felt it reflected what we hoped to accomplish — having a little bit of a history book, a cookbook and an art book,” said Jennifer.  “A book that would touch people because it shares about these recipes while reflecting on our heritage and culinary roots.”

Jennifer learned to bake and cook growing up on her family’s farm in near Breckenridge, MN. This cookbook is an homage to her roots, to the experience that gave her a lifelong appreciation for the work of home cooks. “I do hope that it inspires people to look back at their own roots from a culinary perspective, a home cooking perspective, because I think it’s a little bit forgotten,” explained Jennifer. “We have so much more access to food than we have had before, but I think it’s easy to forget where we came from and how important that can be. I love to share this foundation with others and inspire them to cook more and explore their heritage through food, family, and their own culinary roots.”

The partnership provided mother and daughter a fun project to stay connected throughout the pandemic. Beside the beautiful end result, they enjoyed other rich benefits.“My favorite part of this project is watching my daughter thrive as a maker and growing in my home state,” noted Jennifer. “Megan has become a brilliant and talented home chef with a passion for foraging and cooking with local ingredients, including produce from their garden and eggs from the chicken coop. Her interest in learning more about our family’s kitchen heritage was the spark of inspiration for this collaborative collection of recipes, memories and photographs.”

Visit The Black Hat Press, a Minnesota publisher, to order your own copy:

Follow Megan on Instagram on Facebook for Megan’s enticing pictures featuring local restaurants and small business owners. Learn more about her photography at

Follow Jennifer on Instagram at @numbercrunchingchef for culinary inspiration! (How many number crunching chefs do you know?)

Jen, age 2, with her mom and sister

Follow @meettheminnesotamakers on Facebook and Instagram to discover more of the people who make Minnesota a

Megan in the pot!

tasty place to be!


Megan and her grandfather on the farm

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