One of the perks of being a newspaper editor is that you sometimes receive complimentary copies of books to review.
I jumped all over the chance to get a copy of "Kentucky Back Road Restaurant Recipes: A Cookbook and Restaurant Guide," because it features several things I'm pretty enthusiastic about: my home state, off the beaten path mom and pop restaurants, and plenty of tempting recipes.
The book is part travel guide, part cookbook.
It features a recipe from one of Irvine's own long-time favorite establishments, the little walk-up restaurant that we call "The Twin."
The book explains what each restaurant, cafe, deli, etc., serves, then it tells how to make for yourself one of that restaurant's specialties.
The recipe shared from The Twin was the cake they use in their hot fudge cakes.
There are other intriguing recipes. One is for a simple chili that calls for a can of cream of mushroom soup. I wouldn't expect that in chili at all, but it probably adds some flavor and creaminess.
There are recipes for country favorites, like old-timey green beans and chicken and dumplings made with eggs and lard.
There's a variation of a hot brown made on a hoecake instead of white bread, and there's peanut butter fudge cake (?!), and tomato bisque from scratch.
The book features lots of color photographs taken in and of eateries from across the state, but there are other non-food related attractions included too.
So, with this handy-dandy book in your possession, you can make some of the tried and true recipes yourself, or you can look up the places that made them famous and eat there.
Sounds like a good time either way.
Or a good Christmas present for someone on your list?