Brian Noyes isn’t afraid to name-drop. The Red Truck Bakery Cookbook begins with the type of brush-with-fame story, like a statistic, that can be shaped to give specific meaning. Here, a teenage Noyes returns pictures (used for a story at the California paper where he worked as an art director) to John Wayne’s house. The star invites him in for a tuna sandwich packed with potato chips. Noyes’ extrapolation: “There are no rules.”
Noyes uses that inspiration, often changing ingredients to better suit tastes, like adding tart apricots to Mrs. Beaver’s (the late, long-time Fauquier resident) famed caramel cake, or to play up regionality, using Southern sorghum instead of maple syrup in a riff on Pennsylvania Dutch shoofly pie.
With Red Truck Bakeries in Warrenton and Marshall, there are plenty of local mentions: foraging for pawpaws for a chess pie with chef Tarver King of The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm (Lovettsville), picking apples from Stribling Orchard (Markham) for an apple cake with maple frosting and using Mt. Defiance Distillery’s (Middleburg) amaretto in an almond cake.
The book, like the bakery, stays mostly sweet, with Mid-Atlantic, Appalachian and Southern recipes of biscuits, pies, cookies, bread and its famous granola. Noyes advertises bold-name praise from Jane and Michael Stern of Roadfood and Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods, who said it’s the best granola in North America. Noyes claims many fans, including former President Barack Obama, Senator Tim Kaine, Robert Duvall and Jacques Pepin. One time, Noyes brought French madeleines to the legendary French chef
before he took the stage at a Smithsonian event. Noyes writes: “I was elated when Jacques pronounced them ‘terrific!’” Sometimes, the star’s message is clear. (Clarkson Potter, October 2018)