Victuals by Ronni Lundy is less of a cookbook and more of a beautifully photographed history of Appalachian food culture. Although the book contains eighty recipes, I loved reading the introspective essays.
The book is sectioned into “Roots and Seeds,” “Salt of the Earth,” “Corn,” “Beans,” “Apple-achia,” “Preserving”, “Husbandry” and “Appalachian Spring.” Although each section give interesting background and history, my favorite section had to be “Preserving.” How could I not love this section with the inclusion of Kentucky Kimchi (page 224) and Pickled Baloney with Peppers (page 228).
Along with heritage and heirloom recipes are cutting edge techniques from chefs like Karl Worley (owner of Nashville’s Biscuit Love), Ian Boden (from The Shack), Chef Shelly Cooper, William Dissen (of The Market Place in Asheville), Chef Travis Milton, et al.
Each recipe is introduced as to the dish’s origins and history. Toward the end of the book, I happened upon “Busy Day Cobbler.” The recipe’s origin was traced back to Household Searchlight Recipe Book, a popular go-to book from the first half of the 20th century.
How many times had I called mom for a family recipe and she simply stated, “It’s in the Searchlight.” I am lucky enough to have my grandmother’s ratty and dog-eared copy.
As Lundy states, the Searchlight recipe for this cobbler was more of a guide and that many families have adapted it “with the spirit of the mountains” to what was on hand and in season. Keeping that in mind, I adapted it a bit here by halving the recipe (found on page 309 in Victuals), and using what I had on hand and what I dug out of our freezer.
Busy Day Cobbler
adapted from Victuals by Ronni Lundy
2 c. berries (I used a mix of blackberries and blueberries.)
2/3 c. sugar, divided
1/4 t. fresh lime juice
1/4 t. salt
3 T. butter
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/4 t. baking powder
6 T. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large bowl, toss fruit with 1/8 c. sugar, lime juice and salt. Set aside.
Place the butter in a 9 x 9-inch pan and put the pan in the preheating oven to melt the butter. (Lundy cautions, “Don’t forget about it!”)
In another bowl, mix the flour with the remaining sugar and baking powder. Quickly add the milk and stir to make a thick batter.
Remove the baking pan with the melted butter from the oven and tip the pan to swirl the butter and coat the pan. Then, pour the butter into the batter. Stir quickly to just incorporate. Pour the batter right back into the pan, spreading it evenly to the edges.
Turn the fruit out on top of the batter, distributing it evenly and leaving 1/2 inch uncovered around the sides.
Bake for 35-50 minutes, until golden brown on top and crisp around the edges.
Lundy declares that “The cobbler can be served warm or at room temperature. Hey, it’s a busy day. Whatever works best.”
We declare that this is best warm with a scoop of vanilla bean on top!
While I am fully aware that almond milk is a stretch in a heirloom recipe, it worked out quite well (and I didn’t have to run to the store because it was a busy day!).
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions, exclamations, gushing and rants are my own.