It was love at first site. I mean how can you not be smitten by a cookbook entitled: Cider Beans, Wild Greens and Dandelion Jelly? This fine work, subtitled Recipes from Southern Appalachia, may take some liberties, I see a number of delicious looking Cajun influenced recipes sneaking in here, but it’s certainly a fun read.

The book features several beautiful pictures of this wonderful and still wild span of States, as well as a short but engaging history of the settlement of the region, but the meat of the book, no pun intended, is, of course, the set of classic recipes, sourced from some of the area's finest restaurants and inns.  There is also a great appendix resource in the book that not only lists all of those restaurants, (road trip anyone?) but also offers sources for some of the typical ingredients used in Appalachian cooking.

This is one of the great regions of America, a region that has retained its own distinct personality and culture to this day, partly because it remains off the beaten track. While being bypassed by time is a double-edged sword, there is something particularly comforting in the food of Southern Appalachia.  These are recipes drawn from states that are almost at my doorstep; yet seem able to transport me back to a time before fusion restaurants and molecular gastronomy! And you know what, I’m liking that trip!