The New Blue Ridge Cookbook: Written by Elizabeth Wiegand
History/Connection to Area:
The New Blue Ridge Cookbook is a fun read as well as a great place to learn about the history and culture of this area. One of the reasons that we are showcasing this cookbook is to shine a light on where we come from and how awesome it truly is.
The Farm to Table movement is thriving right now from North Carolina up to Central Virginia around Charlottesville. This enables restaurants to use locally grown food and prepare meals around what is in season. Thus adding to the variety and authenticity of what is being served on the menu. The farmers of the this region also practice “do the right thing” in which they let the animals free range and don’t use chemicals on their vegetable in order to grow better-for-you, better tasting produce and meats. Reducing their carbon footprint, renewing the soil, and conserve energy are all a part of their efforts to produce better tasting food.
This is a great read and full of wonderful stories and equally great food. However, some of the recipes in this cookbook would not be ideal for overland cooking as they require too many steps and too much preparation that could be more easily done in our own kitchens. That being said, there are adaptations and recipes that are simple enough, such as the Red Lentil and Vegetable Stew that I made in the first Back Country Cooking Episode, and the Sweet Potato Biscuits that I made in the second episode. I found both of these recipes to be tasty and they went well together too. You could make enough of the biscuits to have as a side for dinner and for breakfast too. That is important because if your like me and practice the cook once eat twice method of food preparation it saves time. I cooked the biscuits in a Dutch Oven and found that with some tending this worked out well, the stew could be cooked that way as well or on the camp stove just as easily! Would I recommend this cookbook as a staple on the trail, possibly not as it really was not meant for that purpose, however as with all recipes and cookbooks one can always improvise and use it as a guide and take away what you can use from it.
Day to Day Applications:
As far as the day to day applications of this cookbook I can see myself using it for years to come. There are recipes for every day as well as recipes that you can pull out for special occasions. I feel that this would be a welcome addition to anyone’s collection that was interested in having some great recipes from the Appalachian Region. There are great recipes like Mountain Trout with Seabeans and Garlic Aioli Butter, and Pear Glazed Chicken!! Don’t know about you but my mouth is watering now! You will find everything from meats and potatoes to vegetarian dishes alike in this wonderfully original cookbook. As you read through the cookbook you’ll see pictures and read stories all centered around the Blue Ridge way of life! Take the time to get a copy and you won’t regret it.
Overall the cookbook is a great addition to any kitchen, it is full of great recipes that you will enjoy for years to come. Some of the items will be hard to find in your local markets and you may need to substitute or order them online….but I feel that with a little ingenuity you can work it out. If I could only make one point in all of this it would be this; the purpose of any good meal it to bring together the people that you are with for the purpose of enjoying the moment! So in my opinion this cookbook and the meals inside would do just that, and if you can make them on the trail, or in your kitchen prior to heading out then so be it. Bottom line, I definitely recommend checking it out and for $18.95 it’s a deal, besides where else are you going to find Blue Ridge recipes like these.
Author Contact/Website: The New Blue Ridge Cookbook