Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

DiggingDogFarm

Food of Appalachia...

Recommended Posts

I have a keen interest in the food culture of Appalachia.

I'll start this topic off with this:

In 2011, researchers at Slow Food’s RAFT Alliance documented 1,412 distinctly named heirloom foods in the region, including more than 350 varieties of apples, 464 varieties of peas and 31 kinds of corn.*

 

* Links to a PDF file.

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's more to Appalachia than the 'south.'

If you watch "Darlene Chronicles" you'll see what I mean—RIP Darlene!

Where did Darlene live? Pennsylvania!

There is a bit of food in the documentary.

"Darlene Chronicles" is on YouTube.

"This award-winning documentary chronicles the life of a destitute Appalachian family. Darlene, the housewife, conducts her daily routine: carrying water, fueling a coal stove, disciplining her children, and making ends meet. A personal record of poverty."

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/28/2019 at 11:51 AM, DiggingDogFarm said:

I have a keen interest in the food culture of Appalachia.

I'll start this topic off with this:

In 2011, researchers at Slow Food’s RAFT Alliance documented 1,412 distinctly named heirloom foods in the region, including more than 350 varieties of apples, 464 varieties of peas and 31 kinds of corn.*

 

* Links to a PDF file.

OMG. OMG.  Thank you DDF.  I've noted before that we have a number of undefined types of apples on our farm (which was originally two separate 50-acres pieces).  We also have several patches of rhubarb and used to have asparagus also.  Found an asparagus plant growing in one of the bean fields last summer and have transplanted it with hope in my heart.  The original asparagus got wiped out during our house renovations without my knowledge at the time.  We don't eat rhubarb so I don't know its current state.  I'll check in the spring.  And yes, I tried to give it away. 

I could get only one person to pick wild grapes this last fall when we got a bumper (BUMPER) crop.  I had it much broadcast.  We are alas running out of jelly.  I should have made more.  We are not jelly eaters...but this stuff was incredible of course.

 

Added:  We live in east central Ontario, about 100 miles from Toronto.

 


Edited by Darienne I am undone. I misspelled the form of 'its' I needed. (log)
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Darienne said:

I could get only one person to pick wild grapes this last fall when we got a bumper (BUMPER) crop.  I had it much broadcast.  We are alas running out of jelly.  I should have made more.  We are not jelly eaters...but this stuff was incredible of course

 

My Mom and Grandmother used to make a LOT of grape jelly/jam from wild grapes.

 

Darlene, mentioned above, lived in Cambria County.

I grew up in the north-central county of Tioga, where it's very rural!!!

In a township that borders New York State.

In fact, the family farm, in Pennsylvania, borders New York State.

We even ate grits! biggrin2.gif

They were one of my maternal Grandmother's favorite foods!

Some folks seem to think that grits are just a southern thing.

My Grandmother had absolutely NO familial connection to the south.

 

Do You Think Grits Are a Southern Invention?

Well, not really. Fact is, they originated in New England… !?

 

Also see:

Iroquois Uses of Maize and Other Food Plants By Arthur Caswell Parker

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would expect to find grits wherever corn was grown. Not much wheat was grown in Appalachia, thus grits, cornbread, corncake, cornmeal mush. Flour, when it was bought, came from the store.

 

I didn't grow up in Appalachia -- I grew up in rural West Tennessee. But my forebears who settled there came from Appalachia, and brought their foods and traditions with them. I've seen quilts in Appalachian museums and shops that are identical patterns to the ones my grandmother and mother quilted. Foods changed a bit due to what was available and what grew where; not a lot of catfish in the Appalachian rivers, for example, but squirrel and dumplings, I'd venture, are damn near identical in both cultures. Likewise lots of pork dishes, and game birds, with the exception of ducks. Beef is probably more common in W.Tenn. culture than it was in Appalachia due to a greater access to grazing land.

 

The Foxfire books are probably the best reference of which I'm aware to Appalachian life and foodways.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where Is Appalachia?

Some say that Appalachia is a state-of-mind more than a geographical region.

I think it's both, and MORE!

The soul of Appalachia extends well beyond any geographical definition.

Having said that, I do think the following is one of the best maps defining the "Appalachian Mountains."

1*Wv29NR_lZ7PeID6zsVEo_Q.jpeg

 

Here's a comical comment pertaining to my area, specifically. xD

NiRKI2u.png

 

 

 


Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)
  • Like 3
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

University of Kentucky, How to Cure a Country Ham:

 

Details in print: http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/ASC/ASC213/ASC213.pdf

 

Around here folks generally used Morton products to dry cure bacon and hams—some still do.

Method via the OLD Morton books:

Meat Curing Made Easy

https://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/curing/cut-cure-pork-zmaz72ndztak

 

 


Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, DiggingDogFarm said:

Where Is Appalachia?

Some say that Appalachia is a state-of-mind more than a geographical region.

I think it's both, and MORE!

The soul of Appalachia extends well beyond any geographical definition.

Having said that, I do think the following is one of the best maps defining the "Appalachian Mountains."

1*Wv29NR_lZ7PeID6zsVEo_Q.jpeg

 

 

 

 

 

I'd like to see that area superimposed on a state map.  I'll do my best to figure it out.  (I am, as you know, a Canadian from the far frozen north.)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Darienne said:

I'd like to see that area superimposed on a state map.  I'll do my best to figure it out.  (I am, as you know, a Canadian from the far frozen north.)

Judging from coastline variations and the Great Lakes, I'd say from upstate NY to northern Georgia. 

 

Interestingly, when I was visiting in western Virginia, I discovered they describe the mountains on the east side of the Shenandoah Valley (the "Blue Ridge,") as part of the Alleghenies, while the Appalachians are the mountains west of the valley. I always thought the Alleghenies were further north.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, kayb said:

Judging from coastline variations and the Great Lakes, I'd say from upstate NY to northern Georgia. 

 

Interestingly, when I was visiting in western Virginia, I discovered they describe the mountains on the east side of the Shenandoah Valley (the "Blue Ridge,") as part of the Alleghenies, while the Appalachians are the mountains west of the valley. I always thought the Alleghenies were further north.

 

 

And growing up in Pittsburgh, I'd always heard the Alleghenies described as the westernmost range of the Appalachians.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW,

The oldest reference I can find relating to samp, the precursor to grits, is from 1678 New England.

Connection to Natives in other areas appears to have been very limited at that time.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/28/2019 at 5:15 PM, Darienne said:

I'd like to see that area superimposed on a state map.

 

Here's a rough approximation of the map I posted showing the state lines:

1*svRprdse978vsoCrmZhi7g.png

Source: Where is Appalachia?

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW,

The following, in regard to samp (or sampe), was written by John Winthrop, Jr. prior to April 6, 1676—the date of his death.

John Winthrop, Jr. had been governor of Connecticut.

His father, John Winthrop, Sr., was the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

 

"...but the best sort of food that the English make of this corne is that they call sampe..."

 

nCQ33jZ.png

Ca9gkcU.png

Source: Mood, Fulmer. “John Winthrop, Jr., on Indian Corn.” The New England Quarterly, vol. 10, no. 1, 1937, pp. 121–133. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/360150.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/28/2019 at 2:11 PM, DiggingDogFarm said:

Where Is Appalachia?

Some say that Appalachia is a state-of-mind more than a geographical region.

I think it's both, and MORE!

The soul of Appalachia extends well beyond any geographical definition.

Having said that, I do think the following is one of the best maps defining the "Appalachian Mountains."

1*Wv29NR_lZ7PeID6zsVEo_Q.jpeg

 

Here's a comical comment pertaining to my area, specifically. xD

NiRKI2u.png

 

 

 

 

About right, I think. Includes the Piedmont, so I’m in Appalachia...or nearly so. 


Edited by gfweb (log)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Re grits in the North. My grandparents called it “mush” , but it was grits. Sometimes fried and served with syrup.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, gfweb said:

 

Re grits in the North. My grandparents called it “mush” , but it was grits. Sometimes fried and served with syrup.  

 

Yes!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My grandfather made grape juice from some ancient vine he had. It was an electric purple/green....looked radioactive, but tasted great. I was told it was handed down from his family in central PA coal regions.  My mother , the city girl , wouldn’t taste it. 


Edited by gfweb (log)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My paternal Grandmother cooked on a wood-stove most of her life.

My paternal Grandfather farmed with horses until he switched to a couple small Case tractors in 1955.

They lived a VERY simple life.

A small dairy and a couple acres of potatoes.

They raised some chickens, hogs, rabbits, a kitchen garden, etc.

My Grandfather also did odd jobs for folks.

They didn't have running water, an indoor bathroom, electricity, or a propane kitchen stove until about 1970.

I was born in August of 1965 and I can remember having to use the outhouse.

They didn't have a drilled well until sometime in the 80s—just an old hand dug well.

My grandmother was an excellent cook and baker.

My Dad has said, many times, that she could make anything taste good.

Neither my Grandfather or Grandmother drove a vehicle. They never had a license to drive.

My Grandmother passed away in 1974 after several years of poor health—life was never easy for her, she had a very tough life.

After my Grandmother passed away and my Grandfather retired from farming, he became quite a good cook!

I was often very surprised at how good his food was!

As gruff, and tough, and rough-around-the-edges as he was, folks would never have guessed how good of a cook he'd become. 

Good food was one of the very few frequent joys my paternal Grandparents experienced in life.

 

My maternal Grandparents lived an entirely different lifestyle, more "modern" for the times—certainly nothing extravagant.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think my more “primitive” upstate PA  grandparents had more enjoyment of life than the first gen Irish on the other side had.  Neither were prosperous, if anything the Philly Irish side did better, but all in all , mid PA in a small town was a sweet life. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, gfweb said:

I think my more “primitive” upstate PA  grandparents had more enjoyment of life than the first gen Irish on the other side had.  Neither were prosperous, if anything the Philly Irish side did better, but all in all , mid PA in a small town was a sweet life. 

 

The Great Depression didn't affect my more "primitive" paternal Grandparents the way it affected the other Grandparents.

My paternal Grandparents lived a much more self-sufficient life—the Great Depression was rarely, if ever. mentioned!

Not so with the other set of Grandparents, it definitely changed them and they spoke of it frequently.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×