“Tennessee Back Road Restaurant Recipes” is the latest title by Great American Publishers. The book features mom and pop restaurants in each of the Grand Divisions in the Volunteer State. In the Middle Tennessee division, for example, information on four Bedford County eateries are included: Bell Buckle Cafe, The Coffee Break on the Square, Mike’s All American Diner and Taco Plus. Mike’s receives a lengthy shout out in the editor’s preface as well.
Restaurants throughout the region are mentioned as well, including in Murfreesboro, Manchester, Lebanon, Lynchburg and Columbia.
As with many of the publisher’s cookbooks, there are more than just recipes cooking inside the covers.
Great American Publishers, a family-owned Christian company, offers several state-themed cookbooks. The new Tennessee book is the third in a Back Road Restaurant series featuring mom and pop establishments and their recipes, the book’s editor, Anita Musgrove, said. The previous books focused on Alabama and Kentucky eateries, while the next title will take readers on a culinary journey through Texas.
“We’re continuing our travels through the Great United States,” she said.
Each state series of cookbooks highlights unique features of each state, such as popular food festivals or tourist attractions (in the Back Road Restaurant series), meaning they can serve as road-trip tour guides.
Although Great American Publishers is based in Mississippi, Musgrove said she is very familiar with Tennessee. The Back Road series is intentionally based on Musgrove’s passions of local restaurants and traveling. Musgrove said she and her late husband Leonard traveled for 46 years and never ate at chain restaurants on their trips.
“I’ve been to Tennessee many, many times in the past,” she said. “I love Tennessee. We just bought a timeshare near Dollywood to take the kids and the grandkids. You cannot beat Tennessee food. We only eat at locally owned places.”
2 Pounds pork
1 Yellow onion, quartered
1 Whole garlic bulb, halved
Salt and pepper
In a large stockpot, add pork, onion quarters and garlic bulb. Add water to cover and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer 2 hours. Add additional water as it cooks down to keep broth at the same amount.
5 Dried guajillo chiles
5 Dried ancho chiles
1 Yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic
While broth is cooking, make chile sauce. Cut open Dried chiles and remove all seeds and stems. To soften, soak the chiles in water to cover at least 30 minutes. When chiles are soft, place them in a blender (or food processor) with chopped onion, 6 garlic cloves, and about 1/2 cup chile water (from soaking). (Reserve remaining chile water in case needed to reach desired consistency.) Blend everything together until it is all pureed, adding more water if needed.
2 – 19 oz. Cans hominy, rinsed and drained
Tortilla chips or tostadas
1 to 2 limes quartered for spritzing, optional
When broth is done and pork is cooked through, remove pork to cutting board and shred or cut into bite-size pieces. Strain broth; discard onion and garlic.
Add chile sauce to pork broth; mix well. Add hominy and cubed pork, stir. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Bring soup to a gentle simmer and continue to simmer 30 minutes. When done, ladle soup into bowls and top with sliced cabbage, sliced radishes and tortilla chips/tostadas. Finish with a little lime, if desired.