I've spent the last couple of months savoring and drooling over a new cookbook. Well, to be clear, this publication is part travelogue, part coffee-table style pictorial, and part cookbook. The short title is Victuals, which, in case you're like me and didn't know, is pronounced like vittles.
The full title is Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes – author being Ronni Lundy.
I recently moved to southern Appalachia, and was excited to get my hands on a copy for many of the same reasons written about in the Introduction:
…[T]he people of the southern Appalachian Mountains have been right about victuals all along. About the way you say them, the way you raise them, the way you cook them, keep them, and share them. About saving seeds, and working the land, and simmering pole beans, and making real cornbread. About the connections between earth and the table, and between the table and the people seated around it.
Chapters include: Roots and Seeds, Salt of the Earth, Corn, Beans, Apple-achia, Preserving, and Husbandry. States mentioned and/or profiled include Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina. The author travels to locations within these states to profile individuals, chefs, restaurants, and small farms and businesses who are keeping the history of southern Appalachia alive with their practices and products. With words, she weaves history, childhood memories, and present day reality together to paint images of the true story of the southern Appalachian Mountains and their people. The photographic images placed in between are breathtakingly beautiful, and they, too, tell the story.
Let me not forget the recipes! (I couldn't, if I tried.) Each chapter provides food preparation instructions that have been passed down for generations, and offers new twists on old – even forgotten – classics. This is not the type of cookbook that can be flipped through in one sitting. You will be salivating and wiping the drool from your mouth more than once -- maybe even every time you take a peek.
Recipes range from the simple to the elaborate, yet everything is doable. I'm going to share here a simple recipe from the book for homemade Pimento Cheese, which is part of the more elaborate recipe for Lisa Donovan's Pimento Cheese Nabs, described as a cracker snack "for every mountain pickup truck driver's glove compartment emergency ration."
All you have to do is mix all the ingredients together well. It's delicious on a sandwich right away, but if you could let it sit in the refrigerator for some hours or a day, you'd get an even better treat for your taste buds.
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 3 oz. finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 3 oz. finely shredded mild cheddar cheese
- 1 (2 oz.) jar pimentos, strained
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp finely grated yellow onion (grater I use)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
More about Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes via Amazon.
More about the author, Ronnie Lundy.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. The words and opinions here are all my own.
Shared at Coffee and Conversation, This is How We Roll, Happiness is Homemade, and The Homemaking Party.