It all started last summer during blueberry season. My friend Kathy, in passing, said, "You ought to come over and try this blueberry grunt."

"Hunh?"

"Blueberry grunt. It's made with blueberries, bread crumbs and blue cheese."

"Hunh?"

"Blueberries and blue cheese. It's delicious."

Despite the intrigue, I didn't get over to her house soon enough. The dish was finished by the time I arrived, and all I was left with was the teaser of a description and a name.

Time passed. Winter came and went. Blueberries lay dormant in memory until summer winds started to blow, and I saw the birdproof netting stretched once again over Kathy's blueberry bushes.

This time I asked to see the recipe.

Vermont Blueberry Grunt with Wisconsin Blue Cheese, it was called, in a thick, imaginative cookbook called "Feasts for All Seasons" by Roy Andries de Groot. Turns out the book is out of print, the author no longer alive. I loved the idea, I loved the flavor, and I loved the name of his Blueberry Grunt. I wanted to know more.

Even though my editor -- whose father-in-law grows blueberries in Maine -- said that Maine is the blueberry state, not Vermont, I started my sleuthing with calls to Vermont. Sue Spears, assistant to the president of the Vermont Country Store, a mail-order emporium of Vermont countryana, knew the recipe. It was printed in the booklet of a blueberry vendor whose name she was not able to divulge. She did let on that the vendor was in Maine, and she said she would send me the recipe.

Steve Justis, horticulturist for Vermont's Agricultural Marketing Division, had seen the recipe in a booklet printed by the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture. And yes, by the way, Vermont has a blueberry industry. The blueberry harvest will be celebrated in Putney on August 9 this year. But Vermont Blueberry farmers call the recipe "slump," not "grunt." Justis said he would send me the recipe.

By now I began to think blueberry grunt could only be found in Maine, the more traditional blueberry state. Starting with a list of blueberry growers provided by USDA, I found my way to Amr Ismail, executive vice president of the Maine Wild Blueberry Co., which markets canned wild blueberries under its own name and under the S&W label, and also sells wild blueberries to such biggies as Duncan Hines, Pepperidge Farm and Dunkin Donuts. The company processed more than 10 million pounds of wild blueberries last year.

Ismail (obviously he wasn't a native down-easter -- later he told me he was Egyptian) had heard of the recipe. They used it in their promotional brochure. He would send me a copy.

And you know, when the three copies came in the mail -- one from Vermont, one from Nova Scotia, one from Maine -- they were suspiciously close to being the same recipe. Traditional blueberry grunt, it turns out, is a stove-top dish made of sweetened blueberries cooked down in their juices, into which one drops and simmers dumplings. But except for the fact that in Vermont and Maine they make a beaten dumpling and in Nova Scotia they make a shortbread dumpling, the three recipes read exactly the same. To the word. What's more, they were all very different from de Groot's grunt, the grunt that sent me searching.

This investigation didn't come full circle; I'd say it spiraled off into unforeseen territory. But I do have something to show for it -- recipes for something new to do with blueberries, and possibilities for innovation. I imagine that a grunt could be done with other berries, too, and de Groot's recipe might benefit from a lovely che vre instead of blue cheese.

I still don't know where these colorful, albeit unappetizing, recipe names came from. Ruth Lundgren, publicist for the North American Blueberry Council, speculates that "You simmer it on the stove, and the whole business will start to grunt." But my grunt never got that loud.

But then, I started thinking midway through this fruit-filled search, what's a "cobbler," and who's "brown Betty" anyway?

DE GROOT'S BLUEBERRY GRUNT WITH BLUE CHEESE (4 servings)

An unusual and surprisingly good flavor combination.

1 pint blueberries

6 tablespoons sugar

Pinch salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon lemon

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs

1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese

Blend blueberries together with sugar, salt, cinnamon and lemon juice. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Toss together bread crumbs and crumbled cheese, then drizzle butter over the top and blend.

Butter a covered casserole. Spread alternate layers of blueberries and bread crumb mix, ending with a layer of bread crumbs. Bake, covered, for 20 minutes at 400 degrees, then uncover, dot with the remainder of the butter, and bake until the top browns -- 5 to 10 minutes more. Serve at room temperature with whipped cream. Flavors seem to blend and improve with sitting.

For Blueberry Gruntlets, use the same ingredients and instructions, but layer into 4 oven-proof custard cups. Bake only 10 minutes, then dab on remaining butter and bake another 5 minutes. Serve with cream.

Adapted from "Feasts for All Seasons" by Roy Andries de Groot (Alfred A. Knopf, 1966)

MAINE BLUEBERRY GRUNT (CAKE-STYLE) (4 to 6 servings)

Something like a stove-top blueberry upside-down cake.

1 pint blueberries

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

1 egg

1/4 cup milk

Rinse blueberries, then combine them in a skillet with water, 1/2 cup sugar, lemon juice, and spices. Heat until they start to bubble, then turn down to simmer and cook down.

Meanwhile, mix flour, baking powder, 1 tablespoon sugar and salt together. Toss lightly with a fork. Melt butter. Beat egg, then beat melted butter and milk into it. Blend liquid ingredients with dry ingredients thoroughly.

Drop spoonfuls of batter into simmering blueberries. Cover skillet and let it simmer for 15 minutes.

Best served hot. Spoon dumplings into bowl, then spoon hot blueberries and syrup over them. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

NOVA SCOTIA BLUEBERRY GRUNT (BISCUIT-STYLE) (4 to 6 servings)

Sort of a blueberry shortcake made in a skillet.

1 pint blueberries

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons milk

Rinse blueberries, then combine them in a skillet with water, 1/2 cup sugar, lemon juice and spices. Heat until they start to bubble, then turn down to simmer and cook down.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and 1 tablespoon sugar. Work butter in with fork or fingers. Add milk just until dough sticks together. Drop spoonfuls into simmering fruit. Cover and let simmer 15 minutes.

Best served hot. Spoon dumplings into a bowl, then spoon hot blueberries and syrup over them. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

BLUEBERRY OATMEAL GRUNT (4 to 6 servings)

A variation on the theme, moving toward Blueberry Brown Betty.

1 pint blueberries

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons buttermilk

Rinse blueberries, then combine them in a skillet with water, sugar, lemon juice and spices. Heat until they start to bubble, then turn down to simmer and cook down.

Mix flour, oats, baking powder and salt together. Cream butter and brown sugar, then blend in dry ingredients thoroughly. Slowly blend in buttermilk to make soft dough. Drop by spoonfuls into simmering fruit. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Best served hot. Spoon dumplings into bowl, then spoon hot blueberries and syrup over them. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.