When Pat Allen moved to Highlands 17 years ago and opened the Morning Star Inn, she always planned to do a cookbook.
Despite her passion for cooking, she took a circuitous route to get to the cookbook.
It took a writer from Victoria Magazine who happened to stay at the inn to convince her to lead a series of cooking classes. Subsequently, three women from the test kitchen of Southern Living Magazine came to take her classes for a two-day weekend.
“Talk about nervous,” says Pat. “We had a great time resulting in a two-page story in Southern Living!”
Pat has always had an appreciation for good food and great restaurants. She was a food critic for the Macon Telegraph in Macon, Georgia, for three years and readers looked forward to her suggestions.
In her last month of culinary school Pat, did an apprenticeship with Chef Tell Earhardt in the Cayman Islands.
“I learned to appreciate fresh salsa on fish with mango or whatever was on hand that day. It opened my eyes to how creative you can be with food and flavors”, says Pat.
Pat’s first book, “Whisk Upon a Star,” was published in 1998 and sold out quickly. The book’s success was built upon Pat’s recipes, favorite dishes from local restaurants, and cherished recipes shared by guests at the Morning Star Inn.
Her latest book, “Mouth of the South,” was finished in December and has already won a following.
When asked where the title comes from, Pat explains that all she has to do is speak and the Southern accent comes right out! She’s also won a reputation for giving her opinion, like it or not!
One of her best experiences was being in the kitchen with Paula Deen for 3 weeks at the Lady and Son’s Restaurant in Savannah, Georgia, before beginning her real estate career.
“Can you picture the two of us together with these accents?” asks Pat. “It was a hoot and a fun memory while researching for my cookbook. The pastry chef was out sick on my first day so I was ‘it’ and we served 1,000 people that day! That is a lot of banana pudding and peach cobbler.”
“Mouth of the South” features many of the oldies from “Whisk Upon a Star,” including Pat’s granola that won first place for the best granola of any bed and breakfast in the country by the National Baking Association. Other favorites are Southwestern Eggs, Yum Yum Cornbread, Black Olive Dip, the other Pat’s Hummus Recipe and Dr. Pat’s Bread Pudding with Whisky Sauce.
Local restaurant recipes include Madison’s Shrimp and Grits, Wolfgang’s Restaurant and Wine Bistro’s Stuffed Portobello Mushroom, …on the Veranda’s famous Crème Brulee, Wild Thyme’s Penne with Spinach and Prosciutto, Oak Street Café’s Signature Mushroom Bisque, Old Edwards Club’s Sweet Potato Tartar Sauce, SweeTreat’s Chicken Salad, Paoletti’s Calamari and Mountain Fresh’s Cous Cous – a family favorite from JT.
“Mouth of the South” is available at the Dry Sink and Mountain Fresh Grocery in Highlands, Chapter 2 Book Store in Cashiers, and GJ Ford’s Bookshop in St. Simons. Pat can be reached at (828) 200-9179 or at Pat Allen Realty Group at (828) 526-8784.