Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Eating in Appalachia

Feeding people with love is one of the most important features of faith. So many in our society have lost the sacred in their meals. Manna fell from heaven for the Jews to share in the desert, and Jesus exhorted Peter to feed his lambs. Our fast food culture has taken the meaning out of our meals. In Coker Creek, people still care about the simple pleasures of life and love.

We were privileged to be fed by many friends on our visit to the mountains, beginning with a perfect pot roast, salad, cornbread, and pound cake at Mountain Mama's table on the night we arrived. She's ninety-two years old and still growing and preparing gifts of sustenance for family and friends. Upon our arrival, she and a  fellow ninety-two year old former post mistress shared their evening meal and many memories with us.

The next day, I enjoyed a visit with Millard and MaryJane where I received an education on wine making, as well as gifts made from their efforts at growing and gathering foods. Millard's apricot/peach wine seemed more like a good brandy, and the blueberry wine was smooth and not too sweet. I was sorry that Richard couldn't join me in this enjoyment, but we were both able to partake of the habanero jelly made by MaryJane with peppers grown by Millard.

Seeing as we had moved all our spices to Louisiana, I announced to Mamie that we didn't intend to cook while we were at Our Tennessee Mountain Home. She has become quite fond of our cooking, so she didn't miss a beat in inviting us to cook in her kitchen with her spices.

Upon peeking in our outside freezer, I discovered a treasure trove of lovingly pre-prepared vegetables which had been grown by us, Jack, and Mountain Mama. So much for my determination not to cook. Most of the vegetables went into my huge pressure cooker: okra, tomatoes, yellow squash, cow peas, red banana peppers, green beans. Now I needed a ham bone and some seasoning. Back to Mountain Mama I went, but she had no ham bone, although she did supply some seasoning.

With a quick trip downtown, we were all set to stuff jack's yellow and red peppers with a chili cheese stuffing and finish our vat of soup. Time to invite the neighborhood, but where could we provide seating for all those folks? The Ruritan clubhouse saved the day. So many functions are made possible by the generosity of the Coker Creek Ruritan Club in allowing community members free access to their fully furnished kitchen and clubhouse.

We started the menu with our soup and bread from Tellico Grains bakery, stuffed peppers, MaryJane and Millard's pepper jelly with cream cheese and crackers, and peanut butter cookies. In came a parade of people with cakes, pies, casseroles, and various other offerings. How grateful we all were for each others efforts. We did take time to offer verbal appreciation to each other for the sharing of our blessings, and Pastor Linda offered a formal prayer. There were also hugs enough for everyone.

Josie and Adam missed our Souper Saturday Supper but made up for it with inviting us to their home for a private meal and art show. Josie excels at everything she does, and her home is a showplace of her many art projects. The beef stew she served was superb; as Adam said, it was A-plus. Richard made one of his incredible salads and brought bread from our favorite bakery. We finished with another Josie creation, elderberry sauce over vanilla ice cream. Adam made coffee, regaled us with stories of people and places he loves, and cleaned the kitchen. Camaraderie doesn't get any better than this.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing how comfortable it is around Mountain and country folk. How real, sure makes a difference. The meals sound great. Love the read.

    We are getting anxious for Florida.