Saturday, November 6, 2010

Weekend Cooking...The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery [80]

The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery edited by Linda Garland Page and Elliot Wigginton
The University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 978-0807843956
352 pages, October 31, 1992

No doubt, if you are a regular reader here, you will know that I took a little trip down south a few weeks ago, to Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia. Just driving around, seeing the sight. But you know I could not make it home without a few books making their way into my car. One very nice entertaining and informative one that I picked up, in Dollywood by the way, was this cookbook.

Yes, it contains over 500 recipes, but so much more...
Mingus Mill
"A sampling of favorites includes rhubarb cobbler, sassafras tea, fried quail, Brunswick stew, angel flake biscuits, seven-day cole slaw, and lime pickles. The book also explains traditional methods of preparing and preserving food, including directions for making homemade yeast, curing pork, 'gritting' corn, canning foods, cooking with a wood stove or fireplace, and preparing wild game."
Yes, there is a delicious sounding recipe for old fashioned chicken pie, but the chapter starts with about four pages of pictures and text explaining how kill and 'dress' the chicken. I must say I liked the page about how to make fried chicken a bit more, but it is interesting! You never know when you might need to know these things. Yes, there are recipes for raccoon and possum and squirrel but also ones for cheese souffle, baked apples with honey and old time favorites like brown betty.

But perhaps most interesting, even more interesting than the recipe for pig's snout, are the chapters on things like how to cook in a fireplace or a wood cook-stove or how to 'put up' a batch of homemade sauerkraut or prepare a brand new cast iron pan for using the first time. These are illustrated by a huge number of wonderful black and white pictures and the contribution of almost 150 'contacts', who tell their fascinating stories about growing up and living in these mountains and the part food and it's preparation played in that life. Yes, without question, the best part are the countless wonderful stories...

When I first glanced at the book in the store, it happened to open to a recipe, a very simple recipe, that brought make memories for me, because it is something my mother used to make. And since I had bought a bag of freshly milled cornmeal back too, I was all set!

Cornmeal Much (from Ruth Holcomb)

1 cup cornmeal
2 cups water
pinch of salt

Sift meal. Bring water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt. Pour meal into the boiling water and continue cooking. Stir until thick. Put mush into a cereal bowl. Serve with sweet milk or buttermilk, and if desired, add butter and sugar.
Yield 3-4 serving

My mother would makes this frequency, but with an added step. She would fry it.
When the mush was cooked, you pour it into a loaf pan and cool over night in the frig. Then you can pop it out of the pan, slice it and brown in a frying pan. mom did...with maple syrup, for breakfast.

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


  1. I remember when the Foxfire books were so popular. They are chock full of information, that is for sure. I don't think I've ever had cornmeal mush.

  2. Italians call this polenta. Sometimes we make a marinara sauce and cook sausages, slice them up and put over the polenta.

    You sure have been prolific since I've been out of the blog world. Hope to catch up soon. Have a good weekend!

  3. What a fun old timey cookbook! I love the Colonial Williamsburg books for the same reason!

  4. I love this type of cookbook. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  5. I love things made with cornmeal, but I think I would have to pass on the fried quail and pig's snout...

  6. True, I will not be making snout any time soon, but it is interesting. To picture living on one of these farms, when your very existence depending on using every resource to the maximum, letting nothing go to waste...

    A have a big old bag of cornmeal that I brought take fro my trip and see a few more cornmeal recipes in my future.

  7. It doesn't sound like the Best Book for a veggie like me, but I love this kind of food heritage!

  8. You found a real gem there. I like reading about the old ways even though I have no intention of cooking that way. It's just fun to think about how they used to do it.

  9. Yummy... this is polenta to me too! I make this and pour chicken cacciatore over it. I have never tried it for breakfast.

  10. yes, I guess it is like polenta. Now, unlike polenta, nothing is added to it, no butter or cheese.

    And unlike polenta, it is only cooked for a brief 5-10 minutes, not the much longer time polenta is cooked. Not sure what that is about really, since I have never actually made polenta..I have eaten it but never cooked it.
    Why does it cook so long?

  11. Oh it's polenta.....there are as many different grinds of corn, and methods for cooking, but corn mush is corn mush no matter what you call it. I think that's why it's such a favorite in cuisines around the world. It is so versatile--can be breakfast (and Caite that looks yummy) or it can be dinner...

    It's just such a versatile (and reasonably healthy-lots of fiber)food that you gotta love it.

  12. I absolutely love the Foxfire books. And I also love mush (as we called it in the midwest). I encourage everyone to read the series.

  13. I love cookbooks like this... so unusual! The recipe you describe sounds like polenta to me:-)

  14. You were in my neck of the woods. I used to always get a season pass to Dollywood, but I've not done that the last few years. I keep saying that it's time to get one again, but I haven't done it -- maybe during Christmas I'll get one that will take me into next year.

    I also love driving over the state line and visiting Mingus Mill. The leaves there in fall are always gorgeous. Glad you posted that photo as well.

  15. Dollywood was fun, but really places like Mingus are what I really love.

  16. I have several Foxfire books for the Midwest and they are packed full of fun recipes and crafts.


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