On the day Bernard Clayton and his wife, Marje, decided to take to the road in search of North America's best cooks, he posted this brief note on the wall above his typewriter:
This will be more than a book or recipes. I am as interested in the cook as a person as I am in the thorough step-by-step presentation of the recipe. I believe these together have been the principal reasons readers have found pleasure in reading and cooking with my books.
For three years, this sentiment defined their days. Driving a GMC van, they set out on the odyssey of a lifetime--what Clayton, a veteran news reporter and foreign correspondent author, often called a "dream assignment." In the beginning, Clayton thought the search would be difficult, but he found that every community is as proud of its good cooks as it is of the town band or the high school basketball team. They met a Louisiana counter cook, a many-starred chef in Santa Fe, and a Miss Indian America in Butte; a Jackson Hole dude-ranch cook, a cooking-school teacher in San Francisco, and the mistress of a bed-and-breakfast in the California desert; a baker in upstate New York, a Pillsbury Bake-Off finalist in Salt Lake City, and a Mississippi steamboat chef. And food was just as diverse as the personalities: Pueblo Chili Fritters, Dewberry Cobbler, and Chicken Jerusalem; Shrimp and Feta Greek-style Pizza, Spoon Bread Souffle, and Ice Cream Muffins; Apple-Walnut Pancakes, Mushroom Strudel, and Semolina and Ale Bread.
|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster|