“Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes”

A historian the who seasons her pot with moving photographs and mouthwatering plates of food, Ronni Lundy’s opening words in her beautiful story of the "Mountain South" encapsulate the heart and soul of her Appalachia and make her book the perfect choice for this Thanksgiving season.

“Victuals. Say it the way my people have for centuries: vidls. … It turns out my people, the people of the southern Appalachian Mountains, have been right about victuals all along. Right about the way you say them, the way you raise them, the way you cook them, keep them, and share them. About saving seeds, and working the land, and simmering pole beans, and making real cornbread. About the connection between earth and the table, and between the table and the people seated around it.”

Clarkson Potter/Publishers, $32.50.

Reach Marion Sullivan at mbscooks@gmail.com.

Roasted Root Vegetable Salad With Bacon & Orange Sorghum Vinegar

Adapted from “Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes”

Serves 4


3 medium yellow beets, trimmed and scrubbed

3 medium red beets, trimmed and scrubbed

2 large carrots, cut into 1½-inch pieces

1 teaspoon olive oil

Kosher salt

4 red radishes, thinly sliced

½ small red onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings

4 slices bacon, cooked

Orange Sorghum Vinegar, to taste

Drizzle of bacon grease, to taste


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Wrap up the yellow beets in a large piece of aluminum foil. Do the same with the red beets, and place both packets on a baking sheet. Roast until the beets are tender at the center when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, on a separate baking sheet, toss the carrot pieces with the olive oil. Season with a sprinkle of salt. Roast the carrots for about 25 minutes, until tender and caramelized.

When the beets come out of the oven, carefully open the packets to release the steam, and let the beets cool. Once the beets have cooled, gently rub the skins off (this works well with a towel, but they will stain the fabric) and cut the beets into wedges.

To assemble the salad, lay the red beet wedges on the bottom of a large shallow serving bowl. Lay the roasted carrots on top, and then the yellow beet wedges. Throw in the sliced radishes and red onion. Break up the bacon slices and scatter the pieces on top. Season with salt and drizzle with the orange sorghum vinegar. Toss ever so gently. Give it a taste and determine if a drizzle of bacon grease is needed. Serve.

Orange Sorghum Vinegar

Makes ¾ cup

½ cup white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sorghum syrup

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Pour the vinegar into a small glass jar with a lid. Add the sorghum and shake or stir until dissolved. Add the orange juice and shake or stir to combine. Use as directed in recipes, and store any that’s left over, covered, in the refrigerator.