I was born and raised in Huntington, WV near where Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia are divided by the Big Sandy River and the Ohio River. Before the later 1960's there was a large number of small Mom and Pop restaurants where we generally ate after
Church on Sunday. Often the Church sponsored a Dinner where the best of the congregation would cook a bountiful Sunday Dinner in the Church Kitchen and multi purpose room that was set as a dining room.
Covered dishes were often brought in and these were largely casseroles, jello salads, and deserts. Deviled Eggs always sound their way in in covered plates which had recesses in them to accommodate them for safe shipping. It was a source of many jokes.
Of the things I remember in these diners was the "White Half Runner Green Beans and Kennebec Potatoes pressure cooked
with strips of bacon. The gardeners of the Church always grew loads of these along with the kennebecs to bring in and sit the night before with the regulars who draped unfolded newspapers on their laps to remove the strings and snap them in spall pieces for tomorrows early morning cooking. This was always overcooked as if by tradition. Tomato Dumplings, Chicken Dumplings were always around too. Slices of Ham, Pork chops,Roast Beef, Cat Fish, Cornbread cooked in those iron molds that
make sticks that look like ears of corn, and so many things mentioned in above post were on the tables.
Deserts were often served with fresh churned Vanilla ice cream. I remember the Date Nut Pudding with Ice cream very well. There were many fruit trees growing wild where Apples, Cherries, Pears, Peaches, could be gathered for fruit coblers which again went well with the ice cream.
Away from the Churches which were some of the best food I remember were the old Dime Stores with their lunch counters that featured things like Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches with the mashed potatoes and brown beef gravy poured over it. Of course a toasted Pimento Cheese on whole wheat sandwich was a lunch time tradition too.
By the week ends the Open Pit BBQ's were firing up to deliver some of the finest Pit Master's skills. BBQ often had Apple Butter mixed in with it as a secret ingredient. Then there were the occasional Fish Fries that followed an all night fishing venture on the long weekends. I remember the Ox Roast that were held at the County Fair Grounds too. If you haven't tried Appalachian BBQ Smoked Ox, you should put that on your list. It is so tender, you can only use the sharpest of knife to cut it.
At home I remember string Pole Beans from the garden to string on needle and thread to make "leather britches". These dried
to a brown leathery array that looked like tree bark. It was an old way of drying and preserving the things. Butter Beans with
yellow buttermilk cornbread was a favorite with the older men in my family. I would often watch them pour Sorghum on their cornbread as a treat. But we were always out in the fall to purchase srorghum and apple butter if we didn't have apples enough to make our own apple butter.
One of the first things I learned to make as a little kid was "snow cream" which was made of snow. I always seemed to get a sore throat from it somehow. But it was some milk, sugar, vanilla, and snow stirred quickly to make a kids treat.
Then who can forget "Gubberment Cheese" and crackers ???
And speaking of Appalachia and the waterways here, this video may provide some entertainment and insights. into the fun and joys of the simple life we can have here. This shanty boat was built from reclaimed
materials from an old barn.
Edited by ChefPip, 03 September 2014 - 12:54 PM.