Monday, March 27, 2017

Mountain Foodlore

Appalachia Foodways

Foodlore explores the ways people grow, harvest, preserve and serve their foods. In some cases, and in some special situations, foods must be handled in particular ways. Select items may be prohibited or eaten at during select days, others may need to be cooked a certain way.

Examples include: renouncement of certain foods during the Christian season of Lent and the removal of unleavened bread/flour items during Passover.

While religion plays a part in many food traditions, geographic considerations are equally important. People have learned to adapt to their environment. They have substituted one item for another, such as replacing wheat for whatever grains can be grown in a particular climate, etc.

Mountain Range Meals

The Appalachian Mountains of America are considered to be one of the most biologically diverse regions on the planet. The range stretches from the tip of Maine into Alabama and Georgia. As a result many factors have contributed to the food customs that exist there today. Some of these elements can be found in The Foxfire Book Series That Preserved Appalachian Foodways, a series of articles in magazine and book form that focuses on food preparation, culture and life in this 1,500-mile region.

Some of the recipes collected by Georgia high school students who embarked upon this ambitious project reflect the community’s simple way of life. Bread in a basic Dutch oven is one example. So is the approach they take to make sure that all parts of a hog are put to edible use.  There are also pieces exploring how to cook possum and forage for edible greens and vegetables.

The original Foxfire book series that began in 1966 as a school project today consists of 12 volumes. It has also expanded to include additional specialty books focusing on cooking, winemaking, religion and music.

To learn more, visit NPR’s The Salt: What’s On Your Table article written by Tove Danovich. Click here.

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