Maybe no area of our country is more misunderstood than Appalachia, a place whose people have long been thought of as poor, backward and unknowable. But Ronni Lundy has been writing on the food and culture of her home region for more than thirty years with warmth, wit, and intelligence. In Victuals, she brings the story of Appalachian food – past and present – to life and shows us that it’s a place not just of delicious Southern cooking, but a place where tradition and modernity live side by side, a place where a new generation of people in food are fighting the stereotypes, redefining what it means to be from the mountains. In Appalachia, contemporary ideals of seasonality and sustainability have always been the case. Young chefs, growers, and makers are all stringing up shuck beans and frying apple pies just like their parents and grandparents did, but with an eye toward the rest of the world. Discover the deep richness of this region through these stories and recipes as it finds itself being reborn at the dinner table.
My Thoughts: Cooking (and baking) is a bit of a hobby for me, so when I was offered the chance to check out this book by the publisher I immediately said yes. Since I’ve seen reruns of The Beverly Hillbillies I actually knew exactly what Victuals was, and even how to pronounce it. However for those of you that aren’t as cultured as I am it does have the pronunciation on the front cover as well as a little more historical information about Appalachian cooking.
Victuals is graced with not only beautiful photos of the food that there are recipes for but also, even more stunning photos of the people and scenery where this food comes from. You can see that the author and photographer have a real love for this mountain culture and they do a great job of helping the reader learn more about it (similar to how the Chinese All Under Heaven cookbook did). Of course though the best part is the recipes, of which there are many. There are fun typical recipes you might have heard of, like fried pies to things you probably hand heard of like Colcannon. The directions are easy to follow, and the personal introductions the author uses makes you want to try them all.
This book is for sure a winner, not only for yourself but also as a gift for anyone who likes cooking. The hardcover and binding are great, but the inside of the book puts them to shame. If you like Citrus the Sweet and Savory Cookbook you’ll for sure like Victuals.