The great thing is that every time I complete one of my books I realize how much I’ve learned about each state. The West Virginia Hometown Cookbook is my fourteenth book and the seventh in the Hometown Cookbook Series. Sheila Simmons, of Great American Publishing, and I co-author the Hometown series and so far it includes Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina and now West Virginia. We learn something new with each book.
Working on the West Virginia Hometown Cookbook was once again a learning experience. I love being able to combine recipes from my own kitchen with those from West Virginia kitchens. I also include recipes from producers, growers, chefs, and even food related agencies and associations. I see my cookbooks as culinary history books.
Men and women moved along the table side-by-side, some introducing themselves to each other for the first time, and some reconnecting while filling their plates and sharing stories of their Appalachian roots. This was exactly the purpose of the summit. As Ronni Lundy repeated throughout the day, “We’re here to break bread and talk about what are we doing, not where are we?” The gathering wasn’t pretending to provide answers. It was listening to what Appalachia has to say for itself about its people, food, and place without those who bend its stories into stereotypical narratives stemming from a fear of poverty and the unknown.
Ringing out the old, ringing in the new. Everyone’s doing it tomorrow night. One New Year tradition in Appalachia is the New Year baby. The custom of using a baby to signify the New Year originated in ancient Greece, the baby symbolizing in this case not birth, but re-birth. The Germans added the twist of […]
“Well, we used to go to the neighbors and play cards, various different kind of games, and we popped corn. No pizzas, but we popped corn and made popcorn balls. And we made those with sorghum molasses. We didn’t waste any sugar. And we made our own sorghum molasses. I never cared all that much […]
“In my younger days, during the 1920s, work was very good, and I would see men at the commissary company store, flipping gold and silver coins in the air and catching them as they fell. Shopping at the company store was an event. We all had our favorite clerk and would stand in line to […]