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Kentucky Cookin’

Former personal chef Maggie Green talks about testing recipes for The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook and cooking with bourbon (in the food, of course).

When did you start cooking? I grew up in a big family in Lexington. My father was an engineer and we frequently drove around the state. We would often stop to eat so I was exposed to local Kentucky cuisine and my mother and grandmother’s cooking at home.

Why the urge to write a cookbook? I developed an interest in cooking for myself and became very interested in food writing, almost to the expense of other things. I kept track of everything that I cooked for supper. After two years of note-taking I noticed a seasonal trend.

In two years of cooking there’s bound to be some trial and error. Sometimes things go wrong. When you write a cookbook, the recipes have to be tested. Usually a cookbook author has friends and family test their recipe to see if it works in another kitchen.

I assume some of those recipes include bourbon. Kentucky is known for its high-quality bourbon. There’s like 36 different identified flavors in bourbon—it can bring out flavors in certain dishes. One of my favorites is deep-dish bourbon brown sugar apple pie.

Green’s book is available at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Kentucky Haus, and her website,

Originally published in the December 2011 issue.