Sam BeallNestled in the blue mists of Tennessee's Smoky Mountains, the 10,000-acre bucolic refuge of Blackberry Farm houses a top-rated small inn with one of the premier farm-to-table restaurants in the country. This sumptuous cookbook offers a collection of recipes that are as inspired by the traditional rustic cooking of the mountainous south as they are by a fresh, contemporary, artistic sensibility. Some of the dishes are robust, others are astonishingly light, all are full of heart and surprise and flavor -- and all are well within the reach of the home cook.
California has the French Laundry, Virginia has the Inn at Little Washington, and Tennessee has Blackberry Farm, where the indulgences of a luxury inn are woven together with odes to nature -- fly-fishing, hiking, foraging, bird watching, and heirloom gardening -- to create a new way of looking at the world, a way in which anything seems possible.
This is particularly true at the Inn's table and in its award-winning wine cellar. To the farm's master gardeners, food artisans and chefs, meals are an opportunity to express not only the earth and the culture of this remote spot, but also its spirit. On a spring day this might mean Rye Whiskey-Cured Trout with Fresh and Pickled Fennel, and the summer garden might inspire a Chilled Corn Soup with Garlic Custard, a papardelle of baby carrots, or a tomato terrine. In the cooler weather, game and traditionally preserved food -- cider-basted venison, a shell-bean and gamebird cassoulet, a dried apple stack cake or Bourbon Apple Fried Pies -- keep conversation in front of the fire lively. For all its artfulness, however, Blackberry Farm's garden-to-table cooking tends to be an ode to a well-loved cast iron skillet, a backyard smoker or a wood-fired grill.
In the foothills, you don't eat to eat, you eat to talk, to remember and to imagine what you will eat tomorrow. In this book, the stories of the people who practice the traditional mountain food arts -- the bacon man, the heirloom gardener, the cheese maker and sausage man -- are woven together with the recipes, lore and regional history to reflect the spirit of the cooking at Blackberry Farm. Breathtaking photographs capture the magical world that surrounds the table -- the hills and rushing creeks, the lights and shadows of the forest, the moods and moments of the garden.
About the Author
A member of Relais & Chateaux, Blackberry Farm has won dozens of major awards for food, wine, service, and general excellence from Zagat, Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, and Southern Living, and is frequently ranked the #1 small hotel in the United States. Proprietor SAM BEALL grew up on Blackberry Farm, which was founded by his parents, Kreis and Sandy Beall. After attending the California Culinary Academy, Sam Beall apprenticed at the French Laundry, the Ritz-Carlton, Cowgirl Creamery, and Chateau Potelle. He oversees the entire farmstead, from its restaurants to its heirloom gardens to its honey house.
One of the most recognized and respected food writers today, MOLLY O'NEILL, long the food columnist for the New York Times, is the author of three cookbooks, including the best-selling New York Cookbook, A Well-Seasoned Appetite, and The Pleasure of Your Company, as well as a memoir, Mostly True: Food, Family and Baseball. She hosted the PBS series Great Food and is the editor of the critically-acclaimed American Food Writing. Twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, she has won the Julia Child/IACP Award for cookbooks and was awarded three James Beard citations for books, journalism and television as well as the society's Lifetime Achievement Award.