Apple Crisp | Mountain cooks bake this sweet apple and oat mixture in a tin, and it comes from the oven much like pie filling. Some call it apple betty. Historically, cooks prepared these crisps by layering sugar, spiced fruit, nuts, and buttered bread crumbs. Here it is served with vanilla ice cream. See the recipe in the Pies and Cakes section of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Apples | While peaches were planted during the early frontier period, once Johnny Appleseed passed across the country during the early eighteenth century, apples tended to replace peaches, and mountain farmers began making more fried apple pies, apple butter, and dries apples. Many old-style apples such as these are still available during the fall. For more information, see Chapter 9 of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Biscuits | Before being baked, these biscuits were sprinkled with flour and placed edge-to-edge in a cast-iron skillet. When cooked, the tops were broiled, and then the biscuits were placed in a wooden basket for serving at breakfast with pork sausage, fresh tomatoes, fried potatoes, white gravy, and eggs. See the recipe in the Breads section of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Bourbon Balls and Peanut Brittle | These two candies shown on Autumn Leaf Jewel Tea dishes include nuts and sugar. Bourbon balls are also called chocolate bourbon creams, nut balls, and candy bonbons, and they have been made since about 1940. See the recipe in the Desserts and Candies section of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Buttermilk Pie | Since the 1880s Southern cooks have been making buttermilk pie. Some top it with meringue while others sprinkle it with cinnamon or nutmeg, but always this recipe calls for eggs, sugar, and buttermilk. See the recipe in the Pies and Cakes section of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Cabbage Rolls | Cabbage rolls are at once the special food of Lebanese, Russian, Polish, and German people; they are a traditional preparation of Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant families; and they are Appalachian. Mountain cooks make this main dish with a rice and ground meat filling similar to that made to stuff peppers. Cabbage rolls are a full meal casserole, and take-to-the-church classic. See the recipe in the Main Dishes section of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Canned Green Beans, Baby Sweet Corn, and Tomato Juice | From left to right this photo shows canned green beans, honey, pickled baby sweet corn, mixed vegetables, and tomato juice. Chow chow is in front, and note that the tomato juice is separated into juice and tomato water. Some mountaineers serve tomato water as a delicacy. For more information, see Chapter 3 of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Chickentoe | Common wild spring greens include chickentoe, dandelions, dock, fiddleheads, purslane, ramps, shepherd’s purse, and watercress. Also called spring beauty, tanglegut, mouse’s ear, and two-leaf, chickentoe is served mixed in salad and fresh or killed. For more information, see Chapter 7 of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Cushaw Squash | For 9,000 years, Native Americans have grown and eaten cushaw squash. The long vines thrive in southern Appalachia’s hot humid summers, and in the fall, the yield is bountiful, with each squash weighing 20 pounds or more. Here, the squash is shown at a farmer’s market. For more information, see Chapter 3 of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Deviled Eggs | Stuffed or deviled, hard-cooked eggs are wildly popular, and no mountain dinner is complete without them. Markets sell the deviled egg trays pictured here, and many cooks make deviled eggs with mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper. Others add chili powder, dill, and capers. See the recipe in the Salads and Soups section of Applachian Home Cooking.
Fresh Apple Cake | This brownie-like cake is chewy, moist, and black-walnut flavored. Fresh from the oven, the cakes are crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside. Like prunce cakes, carrot cakes, and pumpkin cakes, apple cake recipes call for either oil or margarine. See the recipe in the Pies and Cakes section of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Fried Trout with a Baked Potato | Most markets sell fresh trout, and usually they are farm-raised. At home, many cooks coat them with salted flour and fry them in a touch of oil and maybe some butter. Some then serve the trout with a baked potato and steamed fresh vegetables. See the recipe in the Meat and Fish section of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Ham and Sweet Potato Casserole | Sweet potatoes, ham, and casseroles go together like summer and baseball. When cooks mash sweet potatoes and add other ingredients such as crushed pineapple, orange juice, and brown sugar the result is moist, smooth, and sweet. See the recipe in the Starchy Vegetable section of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Indoor Pork Barbecue | With this recipe, the cook doesn’t grill, roast, or bake. He or she just shops for ribs and dusts off the slow cooker. After the ribs cooks all day, the aroma of saucy beans and pork barbecue fill the house. Served on a roll with broccoli and corn on the side, the dish makes a robust, full meal. See the recipe in the Meats and Fish section of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Moonshine | Made with corn, moonshine is either a living link to a proud past, or what the term suggests: illegal, home brewed, distilled corn whiskey. Practically all fodostuffs, but most notable vegetables, fruit, and grain, can be fermented and made into spirits—the magical mountain dew or white lightning. For more information, see Chapter 6 of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Morels | This wild mushroom, or dry land fish, is prized in Appalachia. Some mountain cooks use them in soups, sauces, and stuffing, while others like them in omelets, canapes, turnovers, souffles, spring rolls, enchiladas, and lasagna. Fried like fish, morels are especially tasty. For more information, see Chapter 7 of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Oven-Fried Chicken Thighs | Wrapping chicken thighs with bacon melds the tastes of two barnyard animals to yield great flavor. The chicken absorbs some fat as well as a bit of the salty, smoky tang that is characteristic of bacon. See the recipe in the Meats and Fish section of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Kieffer Pears | Highlanders know Kieffers as old-timey pears, and the pears flourish because they are robust and blight-resistant. While many use them cooked, eaten raw the pears are a true culinary sensation. The fruit is crunchy, juicy, and slightly sweet. Kieffer pears are also hard, hearty, coarse, and gritty. The skins are rough and the centers firm. For more information, see Chapter 9 of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Poke and Poke Sallet | This photo shows poke leaves and a poke stem. Poke comes into season when dogwoods and wild iris bloom. Here, the poke was boiled and then fried with eggs and, finally, placed between slices of bread to make a poke sallet sandwich. For more information, see Chapter 7 of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Sausage Gravy | While folks all over the United States serve biscuits and gravy for breakfast, here in Eastern Kentucky we call it sausage gravy, breakfast gravy, morning gravy, white gravy, and soppy. The selection of mild, medium, or hot pork sausage as well as the amount of added salt and pepper determine the flavor. See the recipe in the Sauces section of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Scripture Cake | This cake is well known because its creators list each ingredient as a verse in the Bible. The recipe may have originated in Ireland in the 1780s, and, today, Bible school teachers use it as a trivia game with th goal being to list the cake’s ingredients by reading the Bible verse. See the recipe in the Pies and Cakes section of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Shucky Beans | Also called shuck beans and leather britches, these beans are mature, dried green beans. Here, the beans are still green, but when they dry, they turn brown and will be stored for winter use. Mountaineers prize shuck beans for their concentrated flavor. For more information, see Chapter 3 of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Skillet-Fried Potatoes | Shown with scambled eggs, fried potatoes are fine, fancy, delicate, hearty daily fare. Taste the salt, bite the crisp outside shell, and feel the moist centers. Caramelized onions add contrast. Serve for breakfast with orange juice and gravy. See the recipe in the Starchy Vegetables Section of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Chow Chow, Cornbread, and Soup Beans | Mountaineers often serve pinto beans with boiled greens, but this photo suggests cornbread and chow chow. Chow chow is a mixed vegetable relish made with cabbage, onions, green beans, and corn and colored with turmeric. A recipe for Chow Chow appears in the Vegetables section of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Stack Cakes | At fall festivals, customers line up to buy stack cakes, but you might make one at home. This slice of cake has eleven layers and was made from scratch using flour, sorghum, dried apples, and four spices. Notice the ginger glaze that dripped down the side of the cake. See the recipe in the Pies and Cakes section of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Sweet Potato Pie | In comparison to squash or pumpkin pie, this mix of pureed sweet potato is more substantial, and the sweet potato yields a fuller, more complete, more dense, and even richer taste. The filling is like custard in that milk and eggs give it body. After adding a dollop of whipped cream, each piece was decorated with a bit of left-over sweet potato. See the recipe in the Pies and Cakes section of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Tomatoes and Peppers | Garden vegetables are the backbone of traditional Appalachian cooking, and during the summer, farmers produce buckets of green peppers, banana peppers, and cherry tomatoes. For more information, see Chapter 3 of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Cast-Iron Cookware | Cast iron cookware continues to be prized by cooks and chefs because it distributes heat evenly, quick-sears meats, and slow-cooks stews. In country kitchens, the highly durable cast-iron skillet is the pan of choice for cornbread and biscuits, but as shown above mountaineers also bake cornbread as sticks, muffins, and wedges. For more information, see Chapter 6 of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Cast-Iron Skillets | The skillet is the most common cast-iron utensil. This heavy frying pan is available in sizes that range from a few inches to a few feet across. Typical diameters are 6, 8, 10 and 14 inches, but iron foundries numbered skillets so that, for example, a number 6 measures 9 inches across and an 8 is 10 1/2 inches. For more information, see Chapter 6 of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Muscadines | In southern Appalachia, wild grapes are muscadines, foxes, possums, and scuppernongs. Scuppernongs are a kind of muscadine, and they taste so sweet that some people compare their jelly to honey. Muscadines grow on tall trees, fence rows, and in cool creek valleys and are used for juice, wine, and pie. For more information, see Chapter 9 of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Pawpaws | Pawpaws grow on small understory trees that reach a height of 30 feet. The trees thrive on cool moist creek banks, wooded areas, and open fields. They are often planted in orchards and around houses. The tropical-style fruit is sweet and highly perfumed. For more information, see Chapter 9 of Appalachian Home Cooking.
Green Beans | Green beans cooked with bacon are a dominant Appalachian vegetable. Some forget what was once a Native American food includes tiny French haricot verts, shuck beans, and shelly beans as well as different green bean preparations such as three-bean salad. See the recipe in the Vegetables section of Appalachian Home Cooking.