Looking at the world from my small rural acres in the Blue Ridge.

food history

Celebrate Black History Month with Dinner at Indigo House

Celebrate Black History Month with Dinner at Indigo House

Celebrate Black History Month this year with a Southern Sunday Supper on a Saturday Night. On Saturday, February 24th, 2018 this dinner for eight will feature iconic African-American and Southern dishes. After a 1st course of “Pot Likker” soup accompanied by Hot Cornbread with Homemade […]

Monticello Hearth Cooking at the Heritage Harvest Festival 2016

Monticello Hearth Cooking at the Heritage Harvest Festival 2016

This coming Friday (Sept 9th) culinary historian Michael Twitty will join me at the Monticello kitchen hearth for a celebration of enslaved cooks Edith Fossett and Frances Hern; their skills and their lives. We will prepare a menu of recipes from Mary Randolph’s 1824 The […]

Taking care of ourselves and each other: Learning and doing in the Piedmont

Taking care of ourselves and each other: Learning and doing in the Piedmont

To top off settling in a new place shortly after I got here I decided to go to college for an endless number of years sometimes living far from home to do the history thing I have been doing as a scholar for almost three […]

Where are we today?

Where are we today?

Today rather than judge ourselves by some illusory benchmark of historical rural American self ‘sufficiency’ we might do better for each of us to make the effort to be more self-reliant. By self-reliant I mean making the goal to do as much as possible for […]

Self–reliance versus Self-sufficiency: An ongoing series of meditations

Self–reliance versus Self-sufficiency: An ongoing series of meditations

None of us are self-sufficient. We all need somebody! Despite the often nostalgic retro-interpretations (our national idealization of Little House on the Prairie comes to mind!) Americans weren’t self-sufficient in the Colonial past, the Revolutionary Era nor the long 19th century. Few people or families, […]