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.
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.
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.