On the farm with five younger siblings. She was the oldest of ten children.

Ready for the South St. Louis County fair!

Beatrice Ojakangas grew up on a small farm in Floodwood, Minnesota, where her mother taught her how to bake bread on their wood stove before she was old enough to read.

During her youth, she participated in 4-H club, inspired by a desire to win a trip each year to the Minnesota State Fair as a county grand champion, which had to be in a different food category every year. This persistence ultimately led her to two national grand champion 4-H titles.

She graduated from the University of Minnesota, Duluth with a degree in home economics, and was introduced to gourmet food while working a summer job as a private cook. She won the Second Grand Prize at the 1967 Pillsbury Bake-Off, and worked in recipe development for Jeno Paulucci, for whom she invented pizza rolls.

Winning Second Grand Prize at the Pillsbury Bake-Off in 1967.

Sunset Magazine was the start of her magazine writing career, and she later published articles in Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Woman’s Day, Family Circle, Better Homes and Gardens, Midwest Living, Cooking Light, and numerous newspapers. She is the author of 31 cookbooks and was inducted in 2005 into the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame. She received an honorary doctorate from the University of Minnesota in 2007.

Beatrice lives in Duluth, Minnesota with her husband, Richard. She is working on her 32nd book.