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Appalachian Cooking class at JCCFS

Next summer I’ll be teaching my Mountain Flavors class at the John C. Campbell Folk School again. The class is always great fun! We delve into the traditional Appalachian method of cooking, putting up, and preserving nature’s bounty from the garden. The students get hands-on training for making a variety of jellies, jams, and pickles for winter eating. There’ll also be dessert making-think Apple Stack Cake and Arsh Potato Cake. And who could teach a class about traditional foods of Appalachia without making a pan of cornbread and some biscuits-so we’ll do that too. You can jump over to the folk school’s website for all the details.


Coming up pretty quick, I’ll be doing some cooking in Knoxville TN. I’m going to be one of the presenters at the 2nd annual Great Smoky Mountains Food Days, which will be held in Knoxville on September 28-29 this year. The two day event will include a Tennessee Beans and Cornbread Supper, a Farmers Market Luncheon, Panel Discussions, Demonstrations, and more! Part of the more will be me talking about traditional foods of Appalachia while I whip up a pan of chocolate gravy and some biscuits to pour it over.


A few months back I told you about the Appalachian Narrative for Our Time Project. Here’s what I said:

I wanted to tell you about a project that’s being hosted by Berea College’s Loyal Jones Appalachian Center. Here’s the gist of it:

“Berea College’s Loyal Jones Appalachian Center is putting out a call for Appalachians to tell their story about how they thrive in the places they call home.

Today, some figures on the national stage look past Appalachia’s- challenging, rich history and conclude that social and financial difficulties in the region must be the fault of its inhabitants. This impression is supported by highly-publicized, extraordinary tales of someone escaping difficult circumstances through luck and determination. But what about The majority of Appalachians who grow up and make good and stable lives? Our goal is to help those stories be told and heard.”

For more information about the project click here.

There’s still looking for submissions so why don’t you give it a go?


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  • Reply
    Agnes Farr
    August 23, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    Tipper: Concerning the Appalachian Narrative for Our Time Project: Years ago, while working for the Fed. government, I worked with a Ga Tech Engineer…Gene Espy. I think that he was the 2nd person to walk the Appalachian Trail from beginning to end. A few years ago he wrote a book about his life and experiences and I heard him speak on the subject. He is a very interesting person. I am sure that he would have something of ‘interest’ to tell you. I guess he is still in Macon, Ga. I will look through my shelves of books and see if I can locate my copy and give you any info that might be of help. Thanks for all you do and all your interesting articles. I do love your work and often quote you or refer to your words in my column….agnes farr

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    August 23, 2018 at 9:22 am

    This sounds like a learning and fun event. Have fun while making your delicious dishes.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 22, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    My brother Stephen remembers us having chocolate gravy all the time when we were kids. He says wet poured it over biscuits just like you describe. I am 6 years older than him and I don’t remember ever having it. In fact I never heard of chocolate gravy until you posted your recipe some time back. I thought about trying it but I would have to eat it over those plastic biscuits you get in a can from the store. That would be a sacrilege in my opinion.
    Come to think of it I can make some pretty good yeast bread. I could slice some, toast it and pour the chocolate gravy over that until I learn to make a good biscuit. There is a lot of ifs in the previous although they don’t show.
    The reason I don’t come to see you in your endeavours and the Pressley Girls in theirs isn’t because of the distance I would have to travel. I have a pickup that could get there just fine. The problem is with me. I can’t ride that far. I can walk just about as far as I can ride. Sometimes farther. I suppose I could throw a mattress in the back of my truck and get there that way. There are people who would drive me. Or I could stop 57 times between here and there and take 3 days to drive 182 miles. But all that that would be embarrassing and I just don’t feel like I should have to explain my lack of mobility any more.
    So all I can do is hope someday you and yours will come close enough that I can see you all face to face. That ain’t likely, so I’ll have to be content with the Blindpigandtheacorn and Youtube videos.

  • Reply
    August 22, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    If I was close enough to attend, I’d sign up in a red hot minute! I’ll bet your next cooking class will be great fun and very educational, and you’ll be sending more Appalachian-food-makers out into the world 🙂
    I’ve made a few things from your recipes right here on your blog, and have never once been disappointed.

  • Reply
    August 22, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    Gosh Tipper, i dont know how you do it all. Seem like things are going good for you. Glad to hear your going to be teaching our folks what good cooking is all about, and i know you can do it. We’re about an 1 1/2 away from Knoxville Tn. God Bless!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    August 22, 2018 at 11:27 am

    We use to have Chocolate Gravy and Biscuits when I was little and one of us would ask Mama what we were having, and she would reply “lick-um” and biscuits. After we finished eating, and that stuff was delicious, we’d lick our plates clean. Memories are everlasting!

    At 2:00 today, I’ll be at Marcella Parker’s Viewing and Funeral. She died Saturday at 85. …Ken

  • Reply
    August 22, 2018 at 10:14 am

    This sounds like great fun, Tipper! Congratulations on these wonderful opportunities! If I lived there, I would try to be there. I’ve always wanted to know how to make chocolate gravy. LOL!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    August 22, 2018 at 9:37 am

    Congratulations, Tipper. You are going to be busy. Wish we were closer to Brasstown. Your picture of the green tomatoes makes me wonder (again) if anybody makes green tomato salsa. Seems it ought to be similar to the green tomatillos. As far as that goes, chow chow is somewhat like a pickled version of salsa and the pickling part was and is for the sake of preservation.

    We will pass along the Smoky Mountain Foods info to family who live near Knoxville.

  • Reply
    August 22, 2018 at 9:27 am

    The Mountain Flavors class will be taught by one of the best teachers in NC. The reason I know that is because you have taught this country girl, via your blog, how to cook some of the traditional foods I grew up eating but failed to get recipes for. A good example of your teachings is how to make the chocolate gravy you plan to whip up in Knoxville. I grew up eating it often, yet I never found a recipe until you posted it on here.
    Those folk who chose you to teach at JCCFS and present at the Great Smokey Mountain Food Days know what they are doing.

  • Reply
    August 22, 2018 at 8:32 am

    Wish I lived closer so I could attend JCCFS events. Spending at least part of a summer in your neck of the woods just so I could do that is on my “bucket list”.
    Looking forward to those stories too. Any idea what the goal for publication is?

  • Reply
    Cindy Pressley
    August 22, 2018 at 7:13 am

    Tip, your a busy girl! Things really seem to be poping around you these days. I’m quite pleased about that.
    Those will both be excellent classes, I know that because I’ve eaten at your kitchen table, more than once, and know what a fine country cook you are!

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