Angela and Paul Knipple were still working on their first book, World in a Skillet: A Food Lover's Tour of the New American South, when the idea for a second book fell into their laps.
"We were discussing with the [University of North Carolina Press] marketing department the ways that World in a Skillet would be marketed, and they showed us an example of a postcard they would send out. The book on the example was Farm Fresh North Carolina," Paul says. "We said, 'We should do that for Tennessee!'"
The couple then spent the next year traveling throughout the state to document all the farms, dairies, farm stands, U-picks, farmers markets, festivals, breweries, and distilleries they could find. Starting in West Tennessee and working eastward, the Knipples explored more than 360 farms and farm-related activities — from an exotic animal zoo in Alamo to the nation's southernmost native cranberry bog in Shady Valley.
Farm Fresh Tennessee documents their journey, laying out a clear and concise road map for any agritourist to swoon over. The tour comes complete with farm-fresh recipes, stories of local farmers, and handy info boxes on myriad agricultural topics, from century farms to hydroponics.
The book is available at the Booksellers at Laurelwood, online at Amazon, or at uncpress.unc.edu.
In 40 Days to Better Living Cookbook, Carolyn Nichols has collected 200 recipes from her 10 years serving as nutrition education coordinator for the Church Health Center. Divided into breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, each recipe is healthy, portion-controlled, and readily accessible to untested culinary newcomers.
"These are all original Church Health Center recipes," Nichols says. "It's a way to live and eat a little healthier. We're trying to get people back into the kitchen. All the recipes are user-friendly. We went to a regular grocery store, not a health-food store, for the ingredients. We wanted to include recipes that are easily accessible, made from pantry items. We thought, What are recipes that people are actually going to go home and make? Not many people are going to make tofu tacos and jicama slaw."
Each recipe comes with a nutritional analysis and a guideline for serving sizes. Most of the recipes are familiar favorites, made with recognizable ingredients, some of which — butter, cheese, chocolate — breach the conventional dieter's taboos.
"What we teach in the kitchen is all things in moderation," she says. "As long as you're exercising and eating the right portion sizes, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, it's okay to have a cookie every now and then."
40 Days to Better Living Cookbook is available at the Booksellers at Laurelwood and online at churchhealthcenter.org.
What's so different about a single girl's style of cooking that it deserves its own cookbook?
"I'm teaching them how to cook for one, save money, and also have food available for the next day," says Ragan Oglesby, author of The Single Girl's Guide to Great Cooking: The Cosmopolitan Cook. "A lot of times women don't want to cook meals, because they're single and don't want to cook for one person."
Oglesby's book is a roundup of simple recipes for traditional American cuisine (chili, chicken pot pie), but she throws in some challenges for her newbie chefs as well, including saffron risotto and pecan-crusted lamb. The idea is to take single ladies from kitchen-phobes to confident queens of the kitchen.
The Single Girl's Guide to Great Cooking will be on sale at Oglesby's book-release party on April 20th at 7:30 p.m. at 300 South Main, where guests will enjoy cocktails and samples of select items from the book. After April 20th, you can purchase the book at Barnes & Noble, on Amazon, or at theragancompany.com.