It took visionary cooks and chefs to shine a bright light on the wonders of Kentucky food. My mother, Ruth Roberts, was the first cook I knew, and the first who savored everything local. She and my father, Lisle Vickery Roberts, both Kentuckians themselves, grew most of what we ate for the 18 years I lived at home. Mother loved all kinds of food, but a few stand out in my memory as her particular favorites: Corn, blackberries, homemade fruit cake, Myrtie Elam's completely fresh chicken and dumplings, homemade hand-cranked ice cream.

Recently I am so happy to enjoy the benefits of beautiful people like Ouita Michel, chef at Holly Hill Inn in Midway, Kentucky, and John Foster, who has led and taught the value of local food and farming in central Kentucky for many years. Cooks like these see a world of possibilities in Kentucky's fabulous food products, and they help others see -- and taste -- them, too.