Includes stories from Iron Range

SIDE LAKE — Mona Meittunen Abel isn’t holding anything back in her newly published cookbook, “Let’s Party! Recipes Stories & Silliness.”

The latest publication from Abel, referred to on the cover of the cookbook as, “Minnesota’s Iron Range Recipe Diva and former go-go dancer,” is her third and supposedly final cookbook.

“I’m not planning on going anywhere soon, but it’s my last cookbook,” Abel insisted in a recent interview with the Tribune Press. “I put every story I know in my book.”

When Abel’s friends heard she was planning on writing her final cookbook, they offered up some advice.

“They said, ‘just let it rip Mona— just tell it like it is,”’ she recalled.

Along with recipes for hors d’oeuvres, beverages, Abel has included “day after” recipes to be served at a brunch or breakfast. Treasured recipes, including porketta, potica and from her first two cookbooks, “To Mom With Love” and “To Dad With Love,” are included as well. “These are some basic recipes that we need to preserve,” she said. Her personality shines through her cookbook. “There’s a lot of silliness and silly stories,” she continued. “A lot of pictures — colored pictures.”

Abel’s stories contain life experiences from various things she’s been involved in and people she’s met on the Iron Range. There are some stories from the time she spent at the former Ironworld, now known as Minnesota Discovery Center, and experiences she’s had at Side Lake.

Mixed in with the “silliness” are stories of people made a lasting impression on Abel.

Life stories of a serious nature are also included in this latest compilation, including the story of Abel’s parents loss of their first child.

“It’s a story that needed to be told,” Abel said.

A trend setter in the 1970s, Abel said she has a photo of herself wearing hot pants and white go-go boots. But was she really a go-go dancer? “I’m sorry, I can’t talk about it,” she said, laughing. It was the same answer she gave to a broadcaster years ago on the subject. “We can’t take life too seriously — if we can’t laugh, we may as well give it up.”

To launch her new book, Abel is planning book signings at the following dates and times: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, at Riverside Inn, Side Lake; 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at Valentini’s Supper Club in Chisholm; 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 16, at Sunrise Bakery in Hibbing; 4 - 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21 at Mike’s Pub in Hibbing, and from 4 to 6 p.m., Friday, Aug. 30 at the Side Lake Lounge.

A dollar from the $25 cost of each cookbook sold is being put toward a scholarship for a single woman attending Hibbing Community College.

More information is available via email at mona@monascookboks.com.

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