Sara Bir

Sara Bir

Sara Bir is a chef and a writer living in Marietta, Ohio. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, she left Ohio as a young adult to get lost, and returned years later to find herself. Sara has worked as a chocolate factory tour guide, sausage cart lackey, website editor, recipe tester, restaurant critic, and librarian. In her spare time, Sara enjoys walking in the woods and looking for fruit—a passion that inspired her to write The Fruit Forager's Companion, a foraging how-to with recipes. Her writing has been featured in Saveur, Modern Farmer, Edible Ohio Valley, and Best Food Writing 2014.


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Speaking Engagements

Sara Bir conducts cooking demonstrations and workshops as well as programs on career building, cookbook writing, and food styling. Please visit this link for more about Sara BIr's speaking.


Sara Bir's Books

Tasting Ohio

TASTING OHIO: FAVORITE RECIPES FROM THE BUCKEYE STATE (2018): Dig into Ohio's culinary past, present, and future with 100 recipes from the Buckeye State's best chefs and food producers. Contributors include Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, Cap City Fine Diner, Sokolowski's, The Culinary Vegetable Institute, Michael Anthony's at the Inn, Salazar, and Mecklenburg Gardens. This is a gorgeous book with a full-color photo of every recipe, and it's perfect for both current and displaced Ohioans in your life.

Buckeye Book Fair Review:

Chef Sara Bir traveled the state seeking out and writing up the best, and most-loved, dishes and recipes she could find, and the result is her new cookbook, "Tasting Ohio: Favorite Recipes from the Buckeye State" (Farcountry Press, 2018).

Most of the recipes are provided by head chefs and innkeepers who have honed their signature dishes to perfection. This helps give us the confidence that the recipe we're trying will not just come together, but will be crowd-stoppingly delicious as well—and I can personally vouch for this!

My first bookmarked recipe to try was the Lemon Crumb Muffins from Wooster's own The Granary at Pine Tree Barn. These muffins are the reason I know "Tasting Ohio" is full of real recipes that restaurants actually use.

I've had enough muffin recipe failures over the years to know that a "keeper" muffin recipe is a rare thing indeed. So I was ready to test this one out, and I made them exactly according to the recipe, and they turned out amazing!

It's a unique recipe, with a thicker batter than I’m used to, which made the results even more delightful. It occurred to me that many of the recipes in this cookbook may not be just tried-and-true restaurant favorites, but may be old family recipes, the kind which are a treasure to find.

Since the recipes come from a wide variety of contributors, you will find much to explore here—including classic recipes that have been around for generations (cabbage rolls, meatloaf, old fashion cream pie) as well as new takes on old favorites (grilled cheese, but with pierogi; cinnamon toast, but on a croissant). There are unique recipes using local wild foods like pawpaws and wild ramps. Even the secret fire-roasting method of the legendary pork loin from the Ohio State Fair is included.

"Tasting Ohio" also provides a flavorful tour of Ohio's regional cultures with recipes for delicious Eastern European staples like Hungarian Paprikash from The Amber Rose in Dayton and Pierogi from Sokolowski's in Cleveland.

For those of you who don't get down to Cincinnati often enough to fill up on Skyline chili or goetta (the breakfast sausage made with oats), well, now you can make them at home! I also tried the Cincinnati Chili recipe, which Bir developed herself, and it was easy and flavorful and an incredible likeness to the famous brand.

"Tasting Ohio" not only gives you keeper recipes that you can make again and again, it also gives you recipes that will expand your cooking skills. If you're up for it, Sara Bir will walk you through making your own homemade sausage, Jeni's Popped Corn Ice Cream, or Brewfontaine's Signature Pretzels.

Each recipe is an experience in itself—from getting to know the source in the brief restaurant intro, to the easy-to-follow instructions walking you through all the techniques, and finishing with a delicious result. Bir's talent is for translating the recipes into what works in a home kitchen all while maintaining the techniques—and tips—she and the restaurants' chefs have learned from years of professional experience.


Fruit Forager's Companion

THE FRUIT FORAGER'S COMPANION (2018): A foraging how-to with nearly 100 recipes for the secret bounty just outside our front doors, from familiar apples and oranges to lesser-known pawpaws and mayhaws. Learn foraging basics, gathering and preservation techniques, and strategies for utilizing harvests from tiny to teeming. Go forth and forage!

31st Annual
Buckeye Book Fair
November 3, 2018
9:30 to 4:00
Fisher Auditorium Wooster, Ohio
$2 Admission
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