The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery Review

The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery Review

Title: The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery
Author: T. J. Smith (Editor)
Published: September 16, 2019, The University of North Carolina Press
No. of Pages: 248
Cover Price: $24.00 Paperback, $16.99 Kindle

Most foodies love everything about food, and want to learn as much as possible. And almost everyone, it seems, has wondered about the hillbillies who live in Appalachia – a lifestyle extremely foreign to most, especially in this modern day. The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cooking “ began as a project that was started in 1980 by Margie Bennett (a Foxfire Magazine advisor) and three students: Rosanne Chastain, Kim Hamilton, and Dana Holcomb.” The “project” grew, and this fascinating cookbook is the result. This is not your everyday cookbook with colored photos of mouthwatering dishes, rather, this is a cookbook and history book with pictures (all in black and white) of the actual cooks with vignettes of their memories and traditions handed down from family to family. The fact that there aren’t beautiful colored photos doesn’t, however, diminish the charm of this cookbook. Rather, it adds, and makes for a cookbook that everyone who has an interest in how cooking was done in years gone by should own.

This is a cookbook that you’ll want to snuggle up in a corner and read cover to cover, getting out of your comfortable position occasionally to whip up one of the simple, but intriguing recipes. It seems to contain all of the old southern recipes, some made on a woodstove and others cooked in a fireplace. Anyone wanting to try old fashioned cooking can learn in this book, as it has illustrations and help in setting up your own old fashioned stove if there happens to be an old one sitting in your garage or storage shed, as well as making your own “springhouse,” something like a root cellar, and also a smokehouse. There are recipes for wild greens, and wild animals – from possum to squirrel, to rabbit and even groundhogs. Of course there are recipes for staple meat and potato dishes such as meatloaf, soups and stews, Swiss steak, chicken pie, and chicken and dumplings. There is a nice variety of breads, including several authentic cornbread recipes and flaky delicious biscuit recipes. Desserts are also included, from pies, cakes, puddings, to cookies – all simple, but very good. The recipes are easy-to-follow and turn out just like they should. The Cry-Baby Cookies are wonderful, and the Pumpkin Bread is excellent, too.

Although this is not your standard-type cookbook, and you may not want to make every recipe in the book (groundhog won’t be on the menu anytime soon), there are dozens of recipes that make this cookbook a must-have for foodies, history buffs, and southern food aficionados.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.

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