COOKBOOK REVIEW – from my kitchen to yours

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Hi there,

I try to walk in the morning as often as possible. One of the things I do when walking is to listen to a podcast. One of my favorite podcasts is The Splendid Table. Francis Lam’s interviews are always entertaining and informative. On this particular morning he was interviewing Ronni Lundy. She is the author of the James Beard Award winning recipe book titled Victuals.

Victuals, just say Vittles

You can hear Ronni Lundy’s love for this region by her way of telling stories and making observations on her home region, the Mountain South. I think the Southern Appalachian region has been misunderstood, and marginalized for some time. Having visited this luminous region, I know first hand that it is a world of breathtaking blue peaks and emerald valleys, streams and hollers, trees and twisty roads. The meals I had when visiting the Southern Appalachians used very original ingredients and were memorably delicious.

Victuals is a cookbook that is full of reflections, history, stories, eloquence, and insights. The recipes are for the most part simple dishes that celebrate this overlooked cuisine, its culture, and its agriculture.

Dom loves all things nutmeg, so when I came across this recipe for Nutmeg and Buttermilk Cookies (page 126), I immediately knew that this would be my test recipe.


  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup of packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup of buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of finely ground cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soad
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • Preheat the oven to 350 deegrees
  • Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper
  • Cream the butter and brown sugar together
  • blend in the egg and buttermilk
  • whisk together the flour, cornmeal, nutmeg, baking soda and salt
  • Add dry ingredients in three increments to the butter mixture
  • drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets
  • Bake for 13 to 15 minutes
  • This makes approximately 18 cookies

COOKS NOTE: Ronni says in her note that this is a plain cookie that can be made with anything that is handy. When I went to prepare this recipe I realized I didn’t have buttermilk. So emboldened by her note, I used 1/3 cup of clotted cream, the zest of 1 lemon and the juice from 1/2 lemon. The cookies disappeared immediately.

My slightly modified cookies. “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.”
Scott Adams

This is a magnificent cookbook filled with heartfelt stories, magical pictures and delicious recipes. If you make room on your cookbook shelf, you won’t regret it.

This post is dedicated to my friend, Martha, who first opened my eyes to the beauty of the Southern Appalachian region.

24 responses to “COOKBOOK REVIEW – from my kitchen to yours”

  1. the Painted Apron – Life is all about creativity for me, as long as I'm creating something I am happy! I hope I will inspire your daily life and give you ideas for your own wonderful creations!
    Jenna says:

    Such a lovely bite, the cookbook sounds wonderful…the best ones are always based on local love~

  2. Victuals sounds more than just a cookbook and very inspiring! Your nutmeg cookies look wonderful.

  3. Hold on, you didn’t have buttermilk but you DID have clotted cream?! You’re awesome! 🙂
    Your cookies turned out beautiful, just like the picture in the cookbook. I love the idea of brown sugar in these. It’s such a warm flavor and keeps cookies nice and soft. Thank you for sharing, and I look forward to what you make next from this southern cookbook.

  4. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen – I'm a writer, cook, gardener, photographer, poet, quilter, and accomplished daydreamer. I'm also a wife, mother, grandmother, sister. cousin, aunt, and friend, no particular order on any given day. I've been a writer all my life, newspaper reporter and columnist, radio news writer, and magazine contributor, and poet and short-story writer as the spirit moves. Now, I turn my attention to my cookbook, the blog, and a cooking column "Memorable Meals," which runs in our county newspaper. Besides my family, I love dogs, cats, good coffee, chocolate, and my never-dwindling pile of books I intend to read. Our family ran a small Vermont Inn for 18 years, with our focus on local, organic ingredients. I cook from scratch, and try not to use anything that has ingredients I cannot pronounce! After many years of daily serving up local delicacies, cooking classes, and catering, we are now only open for special events, and the odd cooking class. We also host musicians and artists, having helped produce a musical festival and other musical events for nearly 20 years. Many incredible artists have found a place at our table. Wonderful experiences, we will treasure always. My family and friends are my practice subjects. With a family that includes nut, peanut, tree fruit, and vegetable allergies, gluten intolerance, dairy intolerance, vegetarians, vegans, heart conscious, and a couple of picky eaters, there has to be a few quick tricks in the book to keep everyone fed and happy! Personally, I do not eat red meat or most full-fat dairy (usually) for health reasons, making the occasional exception at Thanksgiving and Christmas or our anniversary if the duck is locally raised. I do eat fish and seafood, so I try to come up with alternatives and substitutions when available. I serve local organic eggs and cheeses to my family who can tolerate dairy (My husband recently had a heart attack, and I need to watch my own cholesterol so I am careful, but have been known to let a little piece of really good cheese accidentally fall on my plate!). I believe strongly that eating in a way that is good for our planet is also good for our bodies, and I try to educated myself about our food sources! I cook by the seasons and draw on inspiration from the strong and talented women in my family who came before me, as well as the youth in the family who look at the world with fresh eyes. Food links us all, whether sharing a meal, cooking it together, or writing about it for others to enjoy. I love taking an old recipe and giving it a modern spin, especially if I can make it a littler healthier and use foods that are kinder to the Earth and to our bodies. I believe strongly in sustainable, delicious eating of whole foods, and the wonderful flavors we have at our fingertips! And finally, I love conversing with all the talented cooks and chefs out there who dot the globe! It's a wonderful, world full of culinary pen pals, and I cherish them all! XXXOOO Dorothy
    Dorothy’s New Vintage Kitchen says:

    Sounds like a lovely cookbook!

  5. The combination of cornmeal and nutmeg sounds like a combo made in Heaven! Bern, thanks for introducing us to different cuisines and regional US cooking. Love it.

  6. HI Bernadette, thanks for introducing this cookbook. These biscuits sound and look delicious.

  7. I do love a good cookbook review, so thanks for introducing this one to us – and for linking up.

  8. CarolCooks2 – Udon Thani – Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them. I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling. Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing. This is now taking me into other areas like deforestation, chemicals and preservatives in the food chain. Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!
    CarolCooks2 says:

    Nutmeg and clotted cream.. I’m in… I did have to google “holler”… Lol.. It dounds like my kind of cooking I’m tweaking a recipe depending on the ingredients I have to hand.. Delightful recipe… 😀

  9. Denyse Whelan's Words And Pics. – Australia – Denyse Whelan B.Ed M.Ed is a retired K-6 Principal from NSW Australia. She retired from blogging after 11+ years. Now Denyse is sharing her words and pics via other media. Her Facebook Page shares her Instagram and Substack Posts. Do ask for a follow for IG and please sign up as a free subscriber on Substack.
    Denyse Whelan Blogs says:

    I admit I looked at these cookies and went yum…I am also a creative cook if I don’t have the full list of ingredients, I can wing it!

  10. Debbie – Tumbarumba, NSW, Australia – Travelling is in my family's blood and since being forced into an early retirement (due to a redundancy) I'm making the most of my 'spare time'. Along with travel, Rotary, running, cycling, reading, photography and social media, I love to blog. The community network, continually learning new skills, and sharing ideas is a source of great joy. Other things that make me happy are my husband, our three grown up daughters and family. I now have two new granddaughters, and two grandsons. Taking pleasure in the everyday beauty around us is essential to a happy life – take time to smell the roses! It costs nothing to smile 🙂
    Debbie says:

    Thanks for joining us, I love the biscuits and recipe!

  11. Retirement Reflections – Vancouver Island, BC – Prior to retirement, I lived and worked in Beijing China for fourteen years (Middle School Principal/Deputy Director at The Western Academy of Beijing). Leaving international life behind, my husband and I retired to Vancouver Island in June 2015. To document both this transition and our new adventures, ‘Retirement Reflections’ was born. I hope that you enjoy reading these reflections, and will be willing to share your own.
    Retirement Reflections says:

    Hi, Bernie – Thank you so much for joining us at What’s On Your Bookshelf. Nutmeg and Buttermilk Cookies (or Nutmeg and Clotted Cream Cookies) sound and look absolutely divine! Cookbooks that include reflections, history, stories, eloquence, and other insights are always my favourite.

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