We Did It!

Quest to Preserve America's Food Heritage is Complete . . .
Best of the Best State Cookbook Series
Now Covers the Entire United States!

(Brandon, MS)
In 1982, when
Gwen McKee and Barbara Moseley published their first cookbook of the best recipes from Mississippi's best cookbooks (Best of the Best from Mississippi), publishing a cookbook for every state in America seemed only a dream. But now they can finally say, "We did it!"
The Best of the Best State Cookbook Series now covers all fifty states (some books include more than one state). The Series contains more than 17,000 recipes hand-picked from the hundreds of thousands of recipes they discovered. In the process, Gwen and Barbara visited every single state, selling over 2 million cookbooks, and making lifetime friends along the way.

What Gwen and Barbara found in their travels wasn't only the best banana pudding recipe, but the charming woman in Alabama who invited them into her home to sit down and have a taste. It was the clerk in the local bookstore in Oregon who so proudly s
howed them the great cookbooks from the Northwest. It was the helpful people at the visitors bureaus across the country who dug through the archives for photographs and interesting facts that truly depicted their hometowns. It was America at its finest that Gwen and Barbara found, and theirs is an American history that is told through the treasured art of cooking. "Once we had published a few books, our goal for the Best of the Best State Cookbook Series was not just to define the flavor and diversity of each region, but also to record American culinary traditions for future generations," says Gwen, "in fact, Preserving America's Food Heritage has become our motto and our mission."To accomplish this, Gwen, Barbara, and the Quail Ridge Press staff poured through more than 10,000 cookbooks to find recipes worthy of being included and preserved for future generations.

Finding these cookbooks was no easy feat. In the days before the Internet, the two would spend hours sitting on a bookstore floor pouring through cookbooks, making pages and pages of copious notes--not to mention the thousands of phone calls they made and the miles they traveled from town to town, sometimes literally knocking on doors asking about local cookbooks. "We choose each recipe based foremost on taste, but each recipe must also be easy enough for the everyday cook to prepare, using ingredients that are easy to find," Barbara says. Contributing cookbooks to the Series include a sampling of community and church cookbooks that rarely gain recognition beyond their own communities, as well as contributions by popular junior league cookbooks, renowned chefs, and four-star restaurants. Each cookbook in the series contains a special section that provides a description and ordering information for the contributing cookbooks.

Since many of these cookbooks go out of print, recording their best recipes before they are lost forever takes on even more meaning.Seeking out the best of America's food and cooking has been a learning experience. "We found with few exceptions, food preferences don't stop at state lines, so largely, dishes are regional," Gwen said.For example, Louisiana has its Cajun flavors, New Mexico its spicy chiles, and New England its regional cuisine of maple-flavored treats and clam chowders. Additionally, certain dishes originate in specific places, and become part of the overall state cuisine. Try Burgoo, Derby Pie, and Mint Juleps which are decidedly from Kentucky; Maryland features crab cakes; Cincinnati Chili; Kansas City Barbecue; Mississippi Mud Pie; Georgia Peach Cobbler; California Cobb Salad; Michigan Cherry Pie; Louisiana Pralines? and the list goes on and on!

For more informa
tion, to request a review copy, or to schedule an interview with the editors, contact 1.800.343.1583 or info@quailridge.com