If you’re a fan of Southern mountain cooking or a hopeful author looking for inspiration, you need to hear the story behind “Victuals,” Ronni Lundy’s deep-dive cookbook on the food culture of the Appalachian mountains.
Even though she had written several successful cookbooks, including “Butter Beans to Blackberries: Recipes from the Southern Garden” in 1999, Lundy had gotten away from cookbooks for a few years when she decided she wanted to write about the cooking of Appalachia. Between her life growing up in Kentucky and her current life living north of Asheville, she was a deep believer in the importance of keeping Southern mountain culture alive.
Try telling that to a publisher: She spent six years trying to get an editor interested in the story. Lundy and I were together at a book event at the O.Henry Hotel in Greensboro in 2014 and she told me of her frustration. She was about to give up and find a younger author to hand the project to, she said. She was sure she’d never live long enough to see the story find a home.
Jump forward just three years: At the very last minute, the talented editor Francis Lamm stepped in and brought Lundy’s book to Random House. She wrote it – and this year it went on to win pretty much every cookbook award there is, including Book of the Year at the James Beard Awards in New York in late April.
Trust me when I tell you: You want to hear her tell this story, and her tales of what she learned while writing this book. Lundy is one of those speakers who can hold a room in the palm of her hand just reading a grocery list, so her story of this book and these recipes is an evening you won’t forget.
Lundy will come to the Museum of York County in Rock Hill at 2 p.m Sept. 17, for an afternoon event including a silent auction, food and a book signing. Tickets are $30 ($25 for museum members). Get them at www.chmuseums.org or by calling 803-981-9182.