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She’s been called a “rockstar of a scribe” and “food goddess” but, really, Ronni Lundy is just a Kentucky girl who likes to wander with a fork in one hand and a pen in the other.
The cornerstone of Ronni’s life was a simple round oak table. It had leaves to stretch it long enough to accommodate any friends and kin who might show up to share in the bounty of her mother Jerry’s delicious food and her father Pap’s fine storytelling.
“It was around that table that I learned the lessons of my life,” she wrote in an essay called “The Tao of Cornbread.” Those were the stories that “told me who I was and where I came from, the stories that led me to imagine where I might go… I took those stories in greedily, hungrily, and was nourished on them like they were a glass of cold sweet milk and a wedge of my mother’s golden steaming fresh cornbread.”
It’s no surprise, then, that telling her own stories and sharing the recipes from that inherited table and beyond became the cornerstone of her writing life. Ronni is now the award-winning author of six cookbooks, including Butter Beans to Blackberries: Recipes from the Southern Garden, nominated for the IACP’s Best American Cookbook Award in 1999; Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes and Honest Fried Chicken, named one of the six essential books about Southern cooking by Gourmet magazine in 1994; and her latest, Sorghum’s Savor, published March 2015.
Currently the editor-in-chief of TheZenchilada.com, the smartest, funnest, newest culinary magazine online, Ronni has also written about food and pop music for newspapers and magazines around the country, including Gourmet, Esquire, Sunset, Cooking Light, and Bon Appétit. A founding member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, Ronni received the organization’s Craig Clairborne Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.
Ronni has also written The Monroe Elegies, a book about bluegrass music legend Bill Monroe, published by the University Press of Kentucky in 2013, in addition to an update on the flourishing southern Appalachian food scene, The Sustainable Skillet.
Born in Corbin, Kentucky, and raised in Louisville, she now makes her home in Nashville, Tennessee and New Mexico. And the table? It’s in her daughter’s kitchen in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.