Appalachian wines and ciders

’Tis the season for family celebrations and office parties. If you’re not giving thanks for past memories, you’re creating new ones. In Appalachia, people like to keep things local, which means toasting with local cider and sparkling wine. Fermenting hard cider and making wine started in Europe, and the European settlers who came to the Appalachian Mountains brought their tastes and recipes with them.

Up until a few years ago, you didn’t hear much about kale. In fact, you might not have even recognized it. A leafy green plant, it looks kind of like spinach. Maybe you’ve seen it used as a garnish on fancy dishes at high-end restaurants. You’d have to be at least a little bit odd to actually eat the stuff… right?

But of late, kale has risen to the top of many healthy favorite food lists. Its powers are being hailed in foodie magazines, at restaurants and among food lovers all over the country. Why the sudden interest in kale?

You can make this delicious brown sugar black walnut cake

I love sharing time with my mom, Nancy Suddreth, who is 72. Recently, while we were puttering around the kitchen, she let slip this whopper: “Did you know that black walnuts cost ten dollars a pound?”

I almost dropped a plate. “Ten dollars a pound?” I couldn’t believe it. “Why don’t we just gather them like we used to. I know where a black walnut tree is.”

For Filling:

1 lb Strawberries

3 Tbsp water

1/3 c sugar

1 Tsp cornstarch

For Crust:

12 Tbsp cold unsalted butter

3 c All Purpose Flour

1 Tsp Salt

1 Tbsp Sugar

1 1/3 c Cold Shortening

6-8 Tbsp Ice Water


1 Egg White

1 Tbsp Water

Raw Sugar

Filling Instructions:

They belong prominently on a Southern Appalachian dinner plate.

Nothing hits the spot on a brisk fall evening like a sweet potato that’s fresh out of the oven and bursting at the seams with its unmistakable rich, hearty flavor. The sweet potato, while not native to Appalachia, has been grown in these mountains for centuries. The plant thrives in the rocky soil and holds up well even in times of blazing heat and little rain. The leafy vines can yield a large crop in a relatively small area, making them a favorite on the farms of early Appalachia.

Corn shucking makes fun out of work Take a little trip back in time, to a century ago. You’re somewhere in Southern Appalachia, late in the evening, surrounded by deep green mountain forests noisy with the songs of crickets, owls, foxes, and off in the far distance, a family of coyotes greeting the rising moon. A ways up the dirt road, snug in a hollow between two hills, a small house with a deep front porch draws your attention. As you approach, you hear the melody of conversation punctuated with a Southern accent as it rises and falls in its unique cadence and pitch. A dozen or more people are gathered on benches, porch steps, rocking chairs, and the packed-dirt lawn, enjoying what appears to be a celebration.
The farm to table movement has its heart in the right place. It aims to bring fresh, local food directly from the producer to the consumer, with no factory in between to add preservatives or extract nutrition. No one can argue with that. But not all food can be delivered from the field to your table. It does require some processing first — not to change its nutritional value, but to turn it into usable food.

The term “potluck” has been around since the Middle Ages, when families would throw leftovers into a pot rather than throw them away. The pot provided ready food for visitors or travelers passing through, although how tasty this meal might have been was left up to the “luck of the pot.”

Two slices of white bread. Sliced tomatoes fresh from the garden. A little mayo, salt and pepper to taste. That’s the makings of one of the finest sandwiches you’ll find anywhere in the country. And every homemaker in the Appalachians knows, there’s nothing better to serve family and friends on a hot July summer evening than one of these delicious, juicy, mouth-watering treats.
Try a few of these Appalachian suggestions So your herb garden is sprouting and you’re anxious to use those vibrant, healthy herbs in your meal preparation. The first thing to do is replace your store-bought herbs with plants fresh-picked from your garden.