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gfron1

Starting a high profile new restaurant (after closing another)

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1 hour ago, IowaDee said:

gfron1, curious to know if you have read the Foxfire book series.  Lots of interesting old time. into in them

Yes and the Ozark version Bittersweet

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I love Foxfire. I've been to the center where the books were based, in northeast Georgia. Between Dillard and Clayton, if memory serves. Love that part of the country. I go to a conference up there every year, and come home with the car loaded down with produce; one year, I brought home 3 30-pound boxes of tomatoes ($10 a box), a half-bushel of peaches as large as an infant's head, a half-bushel of Kentucky Wonder green beans, and a bushel of Silver Queen corn. Kept me busy for the better part of a week, putting it all up. Worth it.

 

Will have to look for Bittersweet.

 

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I am absolutely fascinated by this entire thread.  I was raised in NE Arkansas, attended college and law school in NW Arkansas and have lived and worked most of my life in the Ozarks.  My wife and I and are now retired and still live here.  When I was a young man, my father and I would have dinner (lunch) with my great aunt and uncle every Saturday.  Dad was fond of wilted lettuce which was hot bacon grease poured over lettuce.  We would often have squirrel and dumplings, roast duck, deer chili or summer sausage. As far as veggies, most were fresh from the garden or home canned, including greens, green beans, tomatoes, etc.  My favorite dessert was strawberry or blackberry cobbler.  We would occasionally kill a hog and butcher it.  This would usually last all day and was a good excuse for a family get together.  Another favorite which comes to mind is crackling (deep fried pig skin) cornbread  and chow chow (corn and tomato relish).  Good luck with Bulrush.  We hope to try it the next time in StL.

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11 hours ago, catservant said:

  Another favorite which comes to mind is crackling (deep fried pig skin) cornbread  and chow chow (corn and tomato relish).  Good luck with Bulrush.  We hope to try it the next time in StL.

 

Interesting. In my neck of the woods chow chow is a relish made from green tomatoes, which we get much more reliably than fully ripened ones. No corn, though.

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14 hours ago, catservant said:

I am absolutely fascinated by this entire thread.  I was raised in NE Arkansas, attended college and law school in NW Arkansas and have lived and worked most of my life in the Ozarks.  My wife and I and are now retired and still live here.  When I was a young man, my father and I would have dinner (lunch) with my great aunt and uncle every Saturday.  Dad was fond of wilted lettuce which was hot bacon grease poured over lettuce.  We would often have squirrel and dumplings, roast duck, deer chili or summer sausage. As far as veggies, most were fresh from the garden or home canned, including greens, green beans, tomatoes, etc.  My favorite dessert was strawberry or blackberry cobbler.  We would occasionally kill a hog and butcher it.  This would usually last all day and was a good excuse for a family get together.  Another favorite which comes to mind is crackling (deep fried pig skin) cornbread  and chow chow (corn and tomato relish).  Good luck with Bulrush.  We hope to try it the next time in StL.

@catservant These are the stories that I love hearing. I'm heading your way in a couple of weeks to source sorghum. I'll be starting the trip over in Bentonville for a High South dinner/discussion

3 hours ago, chromedome said:

Interesting. In my neck of the woods chow chow is a relish made from green tomatoes, which we get much more reliably than fully ripened ones. No corn, though.

And these are the distinctions that I"m trying to tease out. Every detail i find I ask myself again - What is Ozark cuisine? How is it distinct from Southern cuisine or Appalachian cuisine? And now I'm chewing on the implications of the modern term "High South Cuisine."

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Good luck on sourcing the sorghum.  It was always a bit intense for my taste, but I remember my grandfather would put some on a plate, combine it with butter and eat it with biscuits.

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2 hours ago, gfron1 said:

@catservant These are the stories that I love hearing. I'm heading your way in a couple of weeks to source sorghum. I'll be starting the trip over in Bentonville for a High South dinner/discussion

And these are the distinctions that I"m trying to tease out. Every detail i find I ask myself again - What is Ozark cuisine? How is it distinct from Southern cuisine or Appalachian cuisine? And now I'm chewing on the implications of the modern term "High South Cuisine."

Sourcing sorghum: Crooked Creek Apiaries (yes, they do honey as well), 10213 Hwy. 49 N., Brookland, AR, 72417, 9870-932-3004. That's in my 'hood, so if you need an on-the-ground presence, I'm happy to help.

 

Re: chowchow. We distinguished simply by saying "ripe tomato pickle" and "green tomato pickle." We tended to prefer the ripe, and I still make it and can it annually. Cannot eat purple hulled peas without it.

 

I would not hazard a guess regarding "high South cuisine." If it's "high South" in the same general genre as, say, "high church," I'd tend toward saying it would include Creole elements, as well as choice cuts of meat and "classier" vegetables such as asparagus and artichokes, as opposed to more plebian field peas, pinto beans, okra and fried potatoes with onions. God alone knows what they may think it is in Bentonville, where they tend to think they're a cut above most everyone else, anyway (she said, on the basis of having lived there for four years).

 

If you do get anywhere within shouting distance of Jonesboro, please let me know. Would love to take you to eat at one of our hidden gems in this part of the world. We do have a few.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, kayb said:

Sourcing sorghum: Crooked Creek Apiaries (yes, they do honey as well), 10213 Hwy. 49 N., Brookland, AR, 72417, 9870-932-3004. That's in my 'hood, so if you need an on-the-ground presence, I'm happy to help.

  

I would not hazard a guess regarding "high South cuisine." If it's "high South" in the same general genre as, say, "high church," I'd tend toward saying it would include Creole elements, as well as choice cuts of meat and "classier" vegetables such as asparagus and artichokes, as opposed to more plebian field peas, pinto beans, okra and fried potatoes with onions. God alone knows what they may think it is in Bentonville, where they tend to think they're a cut above most everyone else, anyway (she said, on the basis of having lived there for four years).

 

If you do get anywhere within shouting distance of Jonesboro, please let me know. Would love to take you to eat at one of our hidden gems in this part of the world. We do have a few.

I'll look up Crooked Creek. And @catservant, this again is one of those things where we can use modern knowledge with a classic ingredient to bring it to contemporary tastes. I'm already working on ways to tone it down or highlight flavors within. Stay tuned.

 

I think by High South they mean the northern edge of what is traditionally considered South. I think they want to secede from The Ozarks by joining The South, but I won't hear of it! The Ozarks are something to be celebrated, and if you dig deep enough you can find the uniquenesses that should lead the charge! 


And, I'm assuming I'll be going right through Jonesboro as I head from LR to I-55 to head back up. That would be on Friday the 18th.

 

ETA: This from Crooked Creek's facebook page: 

Quote

It is with great sadness that we inform our loyal customers, that Crooked Creek Bee Co. will no longer be producing or delivering our delicious honey. The wildflowers that our bees collect nectar and pollen from have been devastated by a herbicide called Dicamba. Our bees no longer are able to produce the honey that our customers love.

 


Edited by gfron1 (log)
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Really looking forward to see what you do with these ingredients.

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Posted (edited)
On 1/1/2019 at 5:57 PM, kayb said:

I love Foxfire.

 

My maternal grandmother's Foxfire books—back in the '70s—started my Appalachian obsession!

Most folks don't realize that life was/is, in many ways, similar, for some, here in northern Appalachia.

My paternal grandparents lived a very simple life—as did their ancestors.

It's still a thing.

I've been in hollows, fairly recently, here in the southern tier of New York state and northern tier of Pennsylvania that aren't much different than hollows in the south.

 


Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)
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3 hours ago, catservant said:

Good luck on sourcing the sorghum.  It was always a bit intense for my taste, but I remember my grandfather would put some on a plate, combine it with butter and eat it with biscuits.

Here in Atlantic Canada - especially Newfoundland - we do that with molasses. Though in my family we'd do it right on the biscuit/piece of bread, so as not to dirty a plate. :)

 

Or better yet, a touton (bread dough patted out flat, and fried in a cast-iron pan).

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10 minutes ago, chromedome said:

Here in Atlantic Canada - especially Newfoundland - we do that with molasses. Though in my family we'd do it right on the biscuit/piece of bread, so as not to dirty a plate. :)

 

Or better yet, a touton (bread dough patted out flat, and fried in a cast-iron pan).

 

Mmmmm, toutons!

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And just this morning I got my first pre-Civil War notes:

Quote

 

Pr1985a -- 41 – Widow Harris site in Ripley Co. occupied by Harris family from c. 1813-18 to c.1870. Abandoned after c. 1870.
42 – Residence was on SE side of Natchitoches Trace.
44 – Hog is by far most common mammal remain, followed far behind by squirrel, deer, cow, and rabbit. Chicken is most common bird, followed by turkey and passerines (song birds).
53 – They estimate that pork accounted for 79% of meat at Harris site 1820s-1850, deer 11%,and beef 7%.

BM1929 -- 108 –They gathered hickory nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, wild grapes, pawpaws, andpersimmons.
110 – Milk cows kept up at night, fed salted meal and bran mixed with water.
111 – Milk put thru strainer into earthen crock and placed in spring house for cream to rise.Cream skimmed next morning and put in larger crock to await churning. Churns made of cedar. Makes butter and leaves butter milk. Butter worked into cakes and salted and put in crock inspring house.
112 – Cornmeal was most common bread; grist milling less complicated than flour milling.
113 – Pork was salted in barrels for month or so until brine formed and was then hung frompoles in smokehouse and smoked for several days. Lard was extracted from fat in area around the kidneys. Used for making biscuits.
115 – almost all families raised Irish and sweet potatoes, sage, red pepper, string beans, corn,onions, peas, punkins, squashes, cabbage, turnips, beets, peaches, apples. Punkins were cut into rings, hung in smoke house to dry, and later cooked into a thick sauce used in pie.
116 – Often ate milk and mush for supper. Mush was made of sifted cornmeal boiled in water. Milk was poured over it.
117 – Tea often made from sassafras or spicewood. Many believe sassafras tea in March was good for thinning the blood. Got from bark of roots.
118 – In spring, strawberries, sarvis berries, dewberries, raspberries; summer blackberries, huckleberries and fox grapes; fall pawpaws, persimmons, hickory nuts, walnuts, hazel nuts, chinquepins, wild grapes.

 

The reference material is Cynthia R. Price, “Patterns of Cultural Behavior and Intra-Site Distributions of Faunal Remains at the Widow Harris Site,” Historical Archaeology 19, no. 2 (1985), 40-56. Pr1985a

 

So, what do I see in here that's of interest? This is my first sighting of Spicewood, which I'll have to confirm is what we now call Spicebush. That's good, because we use a lot of it. Sarvis Berries are aka Service Berries which is already on our list. The drying process and use of pumpkins is interesting. And the use of song birds. Not sure how I will or can use that but noted.

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17 hours ago, gfron1 said:

I'll look up Crooked Creek. And @catservant, this again is one of those things where we can use modern knowledge with a classic ingredient to bring it to contemporary tastes. I'm already working on ways to tone it down or highlight flavors within. Stay tuned.

 

And, I'm assuming I'll be going right through Jonesboro as I head from LR to I-55 to head back up. That would be on Friday the 18th.

 

 

Depending on how you're coming across the top of the state, you should be coming either through Walnut Ridge, where you'd pick up US 67, or on over to Paragould via US 412 and then on to Hayti, Mo., where you'd pick up I-55. Either is within 30 minutes of me. I'm putting Friday the 18th on my calendar, and we can confer later about time and place. There is, not far off 412, a place up in the edge of Missouri called Strawberry's, in Holcomb, Mo., which does a pork steak that is a thing of beauty, and if you eat one for lunch, you likely won't want dinner. They're massive. Plenty of other good barbecue, catfish and home cooking establishments as well. 

 

One place you might want to check out in north central Arkansas is Coursey's Smoked Meats in St. Joe, not far from Harrison.  Wonderful bacon, ham, sausage, etc. Eureka Springs has lots of neat restaurants (Local Flavor is a good one). There's a place called Brenda's in Mountain Home that makes the best onion rings I ever consumed in my life. Gaston's, outside of Mountain Home, does wonderful things with trout, if they're open this time of year. 

 

Looking forward to it!

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1 hour ago, gfron1 said:

115 – almost all families raised Irish and sweet potatoes, sage...

 

I grew up thinking in terms of "potato" vs. "sweet potato". It's interesting that they considered it necessary to distinguish the type either way, so that what I think of as the default "potato" was "Irish potato". 

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1 hour ago, Smithy said:

 

I grew up thinking in terms of "potato" vs. "sweet potato". It's interesting that they considered it necessary to distinguish the type either way, so that what I think of as the default "potato" was "Irish potato". 

 

My grandmother always referred to "sweet milk" as opposed to buttermilk, "light bread," as opposed to either biscuits or cornbread, and "arsh (Irish) potatoes" as opposed to sweet potatoes. Those nouns never came out of her mouth without one adjective or the other.

 

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2 hours ago, kayb said:

There is, not far off 412, a place up in the edge of Missouri called Strawberry's, in Holcomb, Mo., which does a pork steak that is a thing of beauty, and if you eat one for lunch, you likely won't want dinner. They're massive.

 

Would absolutely recommend Strawberry’s if you’re in the area.  Concur that pork steak is awesome.  Also recommend the ribs, which i normally order dry then add sauce.

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11 hours ago, kayb said:

 

My grandmother always referred to "sweet milk" as opposed to buttermilk, "light bread," as opposed to either biscuits or cornbread, and "arsh (Irish) potatoes" as opposed to sweet potatoes. Those nouns never came out of her mouth without one adjective or the other.

 

 

We could have a lot of fun transliterating our ancestors' language into modern parlance! 

 

For now, however, I'd like to know whether the "Irish potatoes" were always of the same type. If so, what general category (if you know)? I don't  recall seeing anything other than russets in my grandmother's cookery. I  can't  know whether that was her choice or a matter of availability in the area to which she'd moved. We never discussed the potato spectrum from waxy to starchy.

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We always had redskins, mostly because that was what we grew. But when we ran out and had to buy potatoes at the store, we bought redskins. I don't remember seeing russets or golds in the grocery as a child.

 

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HERE's and interview I did with one of our oldest, most listened to talk stations. My research is congealing in a way that I'm getting closer to saying what I want/need to say about the project. I come in about halfway through.

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I'm in the midst of another research trip. Last night I went to a presentation by Chef Erin Rowe who is exploring foodways in the region, and we were joined by an Ozark foraging friends of mine, Rachaelle Elizabeth (Once Upon A Weed). We're all working on related aspects, but all a bit different, so the idea exchange is really helpful. One of my questions is how lard was handled in the old days - meaning, after you've rendered it, and once you've used it once, then what? Was it left to sit in a dedicated cast iron? Was it strained into a container? Was it stored at room temp, root cellar, ? Surely it was repeatedly used so did flavors transfer or was there a chicken lard, cattfish lard and fried fruit pie lard? That's the kind of stuff we're sorting through.

HighSouth.thumb.jpg.5b58e53bdd2c7639e9f9c9ea5fe1a9e8.jpg

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Again, not Ozarks, but Appalachian roots transferred to West TN: New lard was stored in the basement in metal cans. We didn't deep-fry much, so there wasn't really a big volume of "used lard" floating around. If/when there was, fish lard/grease was stored separately from everything else, but French fry lard could and did sub for doughnut lard.

 

We ddn't deep fry either chicken or fruit pies. Both got a pan fry. You made gravy with the chicken lard/drippings, and there wasn't enough left from frying fruit pies to fool with saving.

 

My favorite "saving" tip was the two quart ice cream bucket that lived in the freezer, into which odds and ends of veggies were scraped from bowls. When it got full, it was time to make soup.

 

 

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I have a lot to sort through from this recent r&d trip, but I thought I'd share some of the gifts shared with me by @kayb and my foraging friend. I'm calling the red jar chile sauce, but Kay called it tomato pickle I think. Based on everything she told me, it is identical to the historic recipes I keep finding or chile sauce...which has no heat. Its more of a slightly sweetened tomato chutney or compote. The kumquat moonshine marmalade is something I made for my hosts.

159379901_Wildoregano.thumb.png.551d4782ad65ccfa948c90a43deb8c9f.png

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OK. If you're going to make the tomato pickle (which is what Mama called it), here's her recipe:

 

1/2 bushel tomatoes, peeled and cut up
6 lg. onions, chopped
6 lg. bell peppers, chopped -- note -- I use Cubanelles, because I loathe bell peppers and won't have one in the house
1 hot pepper
1/2 box pickling spice
1 1/2 c. vinegar
3 c. sugar
3 tbsp. salt

 

Let the juice drain off the tomatoes, in a colander over a mixing bowl, for an hour or so. (I can the juice to use in making the BEST bloody Marys...) Throw everything in a large pot, cook over medium heat until the tomatoes break down, reduce heat to medium low, and cook until they're thick. Can in water bath canner.

 

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Here is a recipe for chili sauce from 1872

Chili Sauce

30 tomatoes

3 Lg onions

3 Lg green peppers

1 T each all spice, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg

2 T Salt

1 qt Vinegar

1 C Sugar

Mince the onion and peppers. Lightly cook the tomatoes, combine all and cook til thick.

 

Looks very similar.

 

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