Ronni Lundy is author of Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes & Honest Fried Chicken and Butter Beans to Blackberries: Recipes from the Southern Garden. A Kentucky native, she lives now in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Her next book, Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes, is released this week.
My mother was an instinctive cook. Words and directions did not hold much for her. She was a keen observer. She learned to cook from watching her aunts; her grandmother, Maw; her own mother. She loved recipes. Clipped them from the newspaper, kept them crammed in cookbooks and stuffed in bowls around the kitchen. She read them like fiction, intrigued by the possibilities they suggested, but hardly foolish enough to take them as literal instructions for real life.