an early age, Kristin Olson revealed a love for cooking.
She remembers sitting on the counter by her grandma Anna Marie,
mixing up cookies and punching down bread doughjust the beginning
of her culinary calling.
That calling has provided "Bison: My Way!"a cookbook
filled with unique bison recipes.
It contains 25 recipes featuring bison as the main protein
in entrees, salads, soups and stews.
Recipes for side dishes and Olson's famous berry sauces are
also included. The cookbook provides easy-to-reproduce meals for
cooks with skills ranging from beginner to expert.
"Open the pages of the cookbook and discover Kristin's
creativity with nutritional know-how as she shows how to enhance
the value of the true American food," said Padmanaban Krishnan,
professor for the department of health and nutritional sciences,
and project mentor for the cookbook.
The cookbook was a project partly funded by Olson"s Griffith Honors
Scholarship. Don Lake and Jim Stone from the Intertribal Bison Council
donated bison meat.
had a couple goals when putting her cookbook together: incorporate
healthy vegetables and spices within the bison recipes, and make
the recipes kid- and family-friendly.
"It's so important to teach cooking in the family,"
"If parents teach the basic cooking skills when children
are young, there's more room for creativity in the kitchen in the
Olson said bison intimidates many home cooks only because they
are unfamiliar with it as a recipe ingredient. She prefers cooking
with bison because it is leaner than beef, but still has all the
Both Olson and Krishnan agreed that the most critical tip for
beginner bison cooks is preparing the meat with patience and care.
Her cookbook stands apart from a handful of other bison cookbooks
on the market in that it lists the nutrition information for every
dishcalories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates,
fiber and protein. Each page features a brief personal connection
to the dish, or suggests tasty pairings.
All of the recipes in Olson"s cookbook went through a taste
test, where students and faculty judged the appearance, flavor,
texture, aroma and overall acceptability.
Bucco" requires the most patience to cook, while bison burgers and
tacos are the simplest, according to Olson.
Olson"s "Bison Tenderloin" almost always wins taste-tests because
of its mild flavor and moist texture.
"I cook it on higher heat for a shorter amount of time," said
Olson. "I use an internal thermometer and bake it to 138 degrees
Fahrenheit. Oftentimes people overcook the tenderloin because of
how lean it is."
She recommends accompanying the tenderloin with her blueberry
barbecue sauce for added flavor and nutrition. "You will be eager
to prepare the unique sauces and accompaniments Kristin created
for synergy of taste and flavor," said Krishnan.
Olson buys bison at the local grocery store, but said finding
it in most small-town grocery stores isn"t common. "I know Hy-Vee
keeps ground bison and patties on hand in the freezer section, but
I pre-order certain cuts, like the tenderloin," Olson said. "It
usually takes about a week to get in the special order."
costs more than beef, averaging around $7 to $8 a pound for 93 percent
meat, 7 percent fat.
Olson said, for her, it"s worth the extra money.
Making a profit is not a priority with "Bison: My Way!"
"This cookbook will hopefully sell itself," said Krishnan.
"We want people to gain interest in cooking with bison because of
its health benefits."
Olson grew up in Rapid City, and after graduating high school
she sharpened her cooking skills while serving in the U.S. Army
as a food service specialist. After military service, Olson graduated
from the Texas Culinary Academy in Austin, Texas, and went on to
work as a personal chef.
Her desire to learn more about food nutrition led her to SDSU,
where she is pursing a Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics.
She expects to graduate in May.
Olson said furthering her education has been worthwhile, and
she plans to continue her education after earning her undergrad
She applied to graduate school at SDSU and will work with dietetics
professor Kendra Kattelmann as part of a dietetics internship.
After grad school, Olson hopes to combine her culinary and
dietetics knowledge and work as a registered dietician. She wants
to help others find the confidence to cook healthy meals for themselves
and their families.
So far, no plans are in the works for another cookbook, but
Olson said it"s not entirely out of the equation. "I may try to
continue on with a larger cookbook or in some way incorporate the
recipe and research into a larger project as a graduate student,"
Buy the cookbook
"Bison: My Way!" can be purchased for $5 by contacting Krishnan
or Olson via email or by calling 605-688-4040.