But if a national road trip isn’t on your to-do list, Taste of Home’s Recipes Across America provides the next best thing: A way to experience local flavors from every state right in your own kitchen.
While that does mean some home cooking, it’s a nice way to spice up the routine and provide a new answer to eternal question, “What’s for dinner?” Culinary specialist Jamie Dunn, who is based in Owasso helped curate the book, which accounts for a whopping 735 of the best reader recipes from around the country.
Those were selected from more than 12,000 recipes submitted — 6,000 were tested by the specialists, and about 2,000 of those were selected for publication.
Dunn learned to cook in eighth grade and earned a home economics degree from Oklahoma State University.
Her father liked to experiment with new recipes, and that helped foster her love for cooking, too, she said.
Nine Oklahoma recipes made it into the cookbook in the Southwest section, including Zesty Tacos by Susie Bonham in Fairview, Chicken Tamales from Cindy Pruitt in Grove and Barbecued Beef Brisket from Bettye Miller in Oklahoma City.
For your sweet tooth, check out the State Fair-winning chocolate cake recipe from Tulsa.
For an appetizer, try Bacon- Wrapped Cajun Jalapeños, submitted by Linda Foreman from Locust Grove.
She said in the book, “These peppers are so addictive that if I want any for myself, I either need to make a double batch or hide some.”
She adds that after the peppers are baked, they aren’t as spicy but have a “wonderful flavor.”
Dunn explained that the selection criteria isn’t based on taste alone but that the recipe must include everyday ingredients cooks can easily find. Each must “have a correct balance in the recipe so it’s flavorful and looks good.”
What does it take to be a good home cook?
“It’s a learned skill. Some have more of a propensity for it because they have an interest and stay with it,” Dunn said. “Take a great recipe, follow it and develop your skills as you go.
That’s what Taste of Home is all about. Tried, true, tested.”
The also shares a narrative around each food.
“The book can be read as a regular book with fun facts and folklore about each area where the recipe originated, too,” Dunn said.
Recipes are divided by region and include a general index by type as well as an alphabetical index.
A quick scan reveals 22 recipes with bacon, 23 alcoholic beverages — including the classic Long Island Iced Tea — as well as new-to-us Texas Tea.
The tradition of eating black-eyed peas for good luck on New Year’s Day doesn’t have to be bland, with seven ways to prepare the lucky beans.