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21 Days of Cookbooks – Tupelo Honey Cafe: New Southern Flavors from the Blue Ridge Mountains

Hello. My name is Kim and I am a cookbook-aholic. I’ve flagged more cookbook recipes than would be humanly possible to make in a single lifetime. Yet my obsession with acquiring new and old cookbooks persists unabated. This month I share my compulsive tendencies via the “21 Days” series, featuring some of my favorite cookbooks from local authors and publishers. Please feel free to join me in finding new cookbooks to feed our passion at any of my favorite Triangle indie book sellers: The Regulator Bookshop in Durham, Chapel Hill’s Flyleaf BooksQuail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh or McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro’s Fearrington Village.


Earlier this year Asheville-based Tupelo Honey Cafe announced plans to open a restaurant in Raleigh’s Cameron Village, about the same time they released their second cookbook, “Tupelo Honey Cafe – New Southern Flavors from the Blue Ridge Mountains”.

Chef Brian Sonoskus and writer Elizabeth Sims put together a new batch of 125 comfort food recipes in the book, along with many beautiful scenic pictures from the Blue Ridge Mountains that will make you want to hop in your car and head west. These aren’t your average comfort food recipes however. You’ll find as you look through the book a Tupelo Honey Cafe “twist” has been added. For example, would you expect tofu to be listed as an ingredient to make fried green tomatoes? I sure didn’t.

The book’s distinct personality is reflected in the chapter and recipe titles as well as side bars and head notes. The first chapter, entitled “Moonshine, ‘Thunder Road’ and Mountain Elixirs”, as you can guess covers various cocktails. One of my favorite recipes is called “Ode to Muddy Pond” and it starts with a basil-molasses muddle topped with Maker’s Mark and ginger ale. Further chapters invite the reader to take a journey. Go “Road-Tripping and Picknicking” through “Neighborly Hollers, Valleys and Ridgetops”, from the “Mountain to the Sea”. Along the way you can “Get your Daily Grind”, show your “Porcine Love” and enjoy “The Sweetness of Mountain Soil”. Get the picture? This cookbook’s taking us on a culinary voyage through our mountain communities. 

As a farm-to-table restaurant, Tupelo Honey Cafe understands that seasonal, locally available ingredients are often the best to use in simple dishes. A Summertime Tomato Salad requires nothing more than ripe heirloom tomatoes, a little red onion, fresh cucumbers and a vinaigrette of fresh herbs and garlic. I like to make that dish a meal with a side of biscuits (and you can find their biscuit recipe on page 100). 

Some restaurant favorites can be found in this cookbook. There are no less than four recipes for variations on pimento cheese. Plus there’s a Southern Pretzels with Pimento Cheese Fondue recipe – wouldn’t that be perfect for football season?! So while we’re waiting for the Raleigh location to open later this year, we can tide ourselves over with some of the cafe’s flavors found between the book’s pages.



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