12 Cookbooks by North Carolina Writers

Get inspired for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with new recipes from culinary experts.

By Mamie Potter and Sarah Goddin, Staff at Quail Ridge Books

Our state has a wealth of influential and innovative chefs and food writers with great recipes to share. From classic Southern recipes to regional cuisine to meals inspired by what their parents made, here are 12 new cookbooks to check out — plus classics from favorite authors.

Carolina Catch: Cooking North Carolina Fish and Shellfish from Mountains to Coast by Debbie Moose (2018)

Did you know that cookbook authors test the recipes they feature? It’s true! We wish we had been a part of Debbie Moose’s process on this book because it is full of mouth-watering dishes featuring the edible water creatures of our state.

Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food, edited by Randall Kenan (2016)

When Randall Kenan died last year, we lost more than just his beautiful fiction and nonfiction. We lost a man with a deep love of food and writing about food. Lucky for us he left us this awesome collection of essays by NC writers talking about what they love to eat and cook. Includes favorite authors such as Lenard Moore, Wayne Caldwell, Jill McCorkle, and Bridgette Lacy.’’

Foster’s Market Favorites by Sara Foster (2015)

Sara Foster’s love of cooking started in a Tennessee kitchen, but she’s been baking, simmering, and stewing in the Triangle 30+ years now. Anyone who has visited Foster’s Market in Durham knows the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere belies the high standards where tradition meets innovation with addictive results.

Holy Smoke by John Shelton Reed (2016)

Holy Smoke is the definitive guide to help us navigate the delicate topic of what constitutes real North Carolina barbecue. John Shelton Reed combines history, recipes, and a little bit of myth to inspire both newbies and old-timers dabbling in the tradition of cooking on a pit.

It’s Always Freezer Season: How to Freeze Like a Chef with 100 Make-Ahead Recipes, by Ashley Christensen and Kaitlyn Goalen (2021)

Known for restaurants Poole’s, Death & Taxes and Beasley’s in Raleigh, Ashley Christensen and her partner Kaitlyn Goalen put together this book that converts your freezer into your pantry, full of make-ahead staples that lend themselves toward delicious, complex dishes.

Mama Dip’s Family Cookbook by Mildred Council (1999)

In the mid 70’s, when Mildred Council opened Mama Dip’s on Rosemary Street in Chapel Hill, it was one of the first restaurants to raise the profile of down-home Southern cooking. Four-plus decades later, people still flock to the restaurant, and the recipes are revered Southern classics.

The Month of Their Ripening: North Carolina Heritage Foods through the Year by Georgann Eubanks (2018)

Georgann Eubanks gives us a food-a-month guide to eating in this amazing state of ours, beginning with snow cream in January and ending with oysters in the “R” month of December. Have you ever heard of serviceberries? It’s the topic of the June chapter—check it out!

The New Southern-Latino Table: Recipes That Bring Together the Bold and Beloved Flavors of Latin America & the American South by Sandra Gutierrez (2011)

Sandra Gutierrez offers an extensive and loving collection of the cuisines of 20 Latin American countries combined with traditional fare of the American South. Her description of Fresh Corn Tamales is pure poetry that will have you smelling, tasting, craving, and ready to start making them.

Outer Banks Cookbook: Recipes & Traditions from North Carolina’s Barrier Islands by Elizabeth Wiegand (2013)

Raleigh’s Elizabeth Wiegand gives us a cultural and culinary history of the Outer Banks she fell in love with many years ago. Included are over 150 mouthwatering recipes, including traditional ones from local families and specialties from many of the coast’s restaurants, both humble and fancy.

Saltbox Seafood Joint Cookbook by Ricky Moore (2019)

This book by Chef Ricky Moore of Durham’s Saltbox Seafood Joint has it all: recipes that reflect our state’s best seafood traditions, sophisticated updates, tips for buying and seasoning, all with emphasis on his insistence that our consumption be local and sustainable. Great food choices for any occasion from the formal dinner party to the backyard potluck.

Seasoned in the South: Recipes from Crook’s Corner and from Home by Bill Smith (2006)

Crook’s Corner, which recently closed this June, was a Chapel Hill landmark for nearly 40 years. Bill Smith took over from Bill Neal and made his own mark with recipes from fried bluefish to honeysuckle sorbet. His accompanying stories, told with a wry humor, make it hard to stop reading and start cooking.

This Will Make it Taste Good, by Vivian Howard (2020)

A mix of personal essays and recipes, Vivian Howard of Chef and the Farmer rounds up some of her favorite food hacks in this quirky book. It’s anchored by a dozen sauces that can be batch-made and used for a number of different meals — perfect for jazzing up dinner after a year of home cookin’.