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Hot Food & Warm Memories: Snug Hollow B&B Between Covers

Snug Hollow B&B's Fine New Cookbook

Barbara Napier, Innkeeper at the wondrous Snug Hollow Farm Bed & Breakfast in Estill County, Kentucky, may stop surprising me one of these days, but not yet. I profiled Barbara's path-breaking green ways for Nougat Magazine as an Earth Day 2008 tribute. Barbara's stewardship of her singularly lovely inn, on 300 gorgeous acres, had just earned Snug Hollow recognition as a "green" destination, while Barbara herself had been recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year for Southeastern Kentucky.

It is hard to describe Snug Hollow accurately, because it is its own place. Yes, there are logs and quilts and gentle hills. No, it is not rugged or crude. Yes, the food is Appalachian. No, there's not a ham hock or overcooked green bean on the inventive vegetarian tables Barbara sets.

Snug Hollow Farm B&B, and Hot Food & Warm Memories, are both bright, warm, lovely both inside and out, and filled with the verve, peace, and purpose that shine through Barbara onto the interior spaces and the exquisite land around her. Barbara radiates a light that shows the abiding beauty of Kentucky's bounty and hospitality.

I felt the heart and smarts and commitments of Barbara Napier when I held her new cookbook, Hot Food & Warm Memories from Kentucky's Unique and Authentically Appalachian Bed & Breakfast, available online from her website. This wire-and-hard-board-bound book, which local printer Bob Dundon of Dundons Press in Irvine lovingly crafted, looks and feels like the singular place Snug Hollow is. The pages tell stories. The book is styled but not stylish in any usual sense. Instead, it has integrity and spunk, just like it creator.

The photographs -- all  full-color and many of them full-page, glow as if backlit. I asked Bob Dundon how can this be, with the whites so white, and the greens green, when the book's text is printed on heavy, slick-but-matte, pleasingly speckled "whole grain" pages the color of cooked brown rice. Mr. Dundon did not tell me his photo-printing secret when I asked, but I'm sure it has to do with not cutting corners. And perhaps a man experienced in making middle schoolers look good in yearbook photos had no trouble making Snug Hollow's exquisite food glow. In any case, the book has the feel of Snug Hollow, which means that it combines beauty, comfort, hospitality, surprise, lack of pretension, and an open heart.

Recommended sustenance while you read Barbara's cookbook straight through: Homemade Hot Chocolate, with or without the homemade marshmallows.

Full disclosure: Barbara Napier included a full-text version of my Nougat story about her in Hot Food & Warm Memories.

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