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Chef Barrie Boulds latest project traces her life in a cookbook. 

"I have kind of an interesting culinary history," she said in a phone interview this week. 

Boulds grew up on a reservation in eastern Montana, so "The Big Sky Bounty Cookbook: Local Ingredients and Rustic Recipes" includes recipes like "Native American Beef Tongue Tacos," "'Papa' Lakota Dried Meat Soup," "Wojabe (Chokecherry Soup)" and, of course, fry bread.

"I have like four different fry bread recipes from different Native Americans on the reservation," she said. "Everybody's auntie or cousin makes the best fry bread." 

In each of the book's 75 recipes, Boulds attempts to lead people along her culinary journey in a way that is accessible.

"Each recipe has a story behind it and I write a little about each story," Boulds said. 

The book is also peppered with historical tidbits from co-writer Jean Petersen.

Some recipes show Montana history: Irish pasties (though made with bison) and corned beef hash, or former Governor Marc Racicot's grandmother's crayfish.

Other recipes reflect Boulds' fine dining experience. The former chef and owner of Sydney's Mountain Bistro in West Yellowstone is now a private caterer based out of Red Lodge. Her new line of salad dressings, Sydney's Bistro Dressings, should be on shelves in specialty stores in September. 

Similar dressing recipes are included and restaurant favorite Elk Tenderloin with Huckleberry Demi-Glace makes an appearance in the cookbook.

"The Big Sky Bounty Cookbook" as a whole is a showcase for Montana ingredients. There are hunter favorites such as elk and deer and some more rare delicacies like rattlesnake or beaver. Boulds offers tips to keep some of the more unusual meats tender. There are huckleberries and chokecherries and morels to be foraged or garden staples like rhubarb. 

"People don't think of Montana as a foodie state," Boulds said. "But we have really great resources, an abundance of wildlife, thriving farmers markets. I don't know of anywhere else where you can go in your backyard and catch a trout."

While the recipe for pan-seared trout will appeal to those statewide, some ingredients are unique to certain areas, like Flathead cherries or Montana's kokanee or chinook salmon.

"I'm just hoping they can love Montana from the cookbook," she said. "In most of my catering jobs, I'm hired because people want the Montana experience."

Boulds said her favorite recipes in "The Big Sky Bounty Cookbook" are those that bring her back to her childhood. There's her grandmother's pan-seared chicken breast and fittingly for someone named Barrie, blueberries with cream. 

"I'm not afraid to just be simple and let the food speak for itself," Boulds said. 

Good food doesn't need to be complicated and recipes should be simple, Boulds said. Time is often better spent with those around us. She lives by the motto "live, love, cook with reckless abandon" and would rather socialize at events than be sweating alone in the kitchen. 

"I want everybody to just cook and enjoy themselves and have a good time," she said.

"The Big Sky Bounty Cookbook" is set for release from Arcadia Publishing on July 9. It will be available locally at Country Bookshelf and a reading and tasting is in the works for later this year, Boulds said. 

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Rachel Hergett can be reached at or at 406-582-2603. Hergett is on Twitter at @hergett.