Appalachian Food

Memories of Summer Supper

corncob jelly

“Summer supper at Mom-Mom’s kitchen table. A big bowl of fried whole potatoes. Little new potatoes, the skin scraped off with a paring knife and turned in an iron skillet until crispy brown all around. A big bowl of fried corn or a platter heaped with boiled roastin’ ears. A heaped platter of fried simlins, white pattypan squash, sliced thin, dusted in plain flour and fried until browned or fried tomatoes, half-ripe, just turning pink tomatoes cut thick, dusted in plain flour and fried until cooked through with a little sugar sprinkled on each layer. A big bowl of fresh lima beans. A plate of sliced red and green peppers, another of ripe tomato slices. Since Pop-Pop insisted there be meat on the table a bowl of canned corned beef hash made with leftover mashed potatoes or a pack of boiled hotdogs or a plate of fried bologna. I ate my fried whole potatoes, my fried corn or corn on the cob, my fried squash or tomatoes and the fresh peppers or tomatoes without any salt as I preferred the essential sweet taste of the vegetables un-seasoned. No king who sat on any throne ever ate better.”

—William J. Boone


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  • Reply
    Joe F.
    July 18, 2021 at 12:37 am

    This is what we used to call, “eatin’ out of the garden” – a veritable milestone of summer.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 17, 2021 at 8:11 pm

    Tipper, I could have swore you wrote about a simlin or cimlin or some similar spelling in the past. There was a picture of a pattypan squash at the top of the page. That’s how I knew what it was. But, now I can’t find it. Tell me you did or tell me I’m crazy!

    PS: Forget the crazy part, that goes without saying. But I know I saw it and I don’t read anybody’s elses blog.

    • Reply
      July 19, 2021 at 10:25 am

      We did that a lot when growing up down in the Ozarks. We were pretty much Appalachian transplants…. most of my people came from TN, KY or NC, at least originally. Summer suppers we’re often from the garden for us, too. New potatoes were usually cooked until tender and them creamed. Or they would be cooked with green beans. Always had sliced tomatoes, green onions and wilted lettuce until it started to get bitter. No Lima beans, but we’d have those big speckled butter beans. When grandma still had cows, there would be a bowl of her homemade cottage cheese. Leftover cornbread or biscuits from dinner would complete the meal, cause you had to have some kind of bread! There would usually be a bowl of fresh hot peppers as well and if no green onions, just a regular red or yellow onion, peeled and quartered.

    • Reply
      July 19, 2021 at 2:49 pm

      Ed-seems like I did write something but I can’t find it 🙂

  • Reply
    Frances Jackson
    July 17, 2021 at 2:54 pm

    Oh it’s been decades since I heard of, much less seen, little new potatoes fried whole, and crispy golden all around. Nothing can beat those little gems. There isn’t much in the world than is prettier than a green glass plate heaped with glistening red tomato slices. I always preferred a big ear of field corn to garden sweet corn. My husband’s mother used to put butter on the table for people to put on their corn, but she had a little bowl of melted bacon grease to put on hers, and I must say, it was pretty darn good.
    And yes I remember peppers being called mangoes. I thought that was the proper name. Sometimes people would say mango-pepper, but mostly it was just mangoes.
    I grew up in town, but after I was married, we lived for a while in a little house back in the hills, and that house was equipped with a wood cookstove and a pump outside the door for water. I had to learn fast how to operate both. Those were some of the happiest days of my life. We didn’t live there long enough to make a garden, which I was sorry for.
    But I learned that you can’t beat a wood cookstove for making cornbread and biscuits.

  • Reply
    July 17, 2021 at 12:41 pm

    In my mind I can picture it now. Dad had gotten some stools when a restaurant went out of business. Being a carpenter he had fashioned a long bar in the kitchen with twirling stools on both sides. I had not thought about it, but it sure made our kitchen unique and convenient for those times. From late Spring until Fall the bar would have wilted lettuce, new potatoes creamed (my Sis’s favorite) homemade creamed corn, fried green tomatoes, fried greens, fried potatoes sometimes, or fresh half runners cooked the way only mountain women can cook. There would always be that dish of sliced cucumbers, tomaties, and green onions. The only time we had light bread was with a sandwich, otherwise there was a big pan of cornbread. Biscuits mostly were cooked for breakfast. Meat was not commonly served unless in a meatloaf or to season. Fried chicken was a weekend dish. The mind sure can capture the pictures, and mine just remembered how Mom could make navy bean soup fit for a king. That was a Winter meal. Thanks for the trip back to the Summer suppers, Tipper.

  • Reply
    Patricia Price
    July 17, 2021 at 12:37 pm

    Sittin’ here droolin’… Am picturing my grandma’s kitchen table with all that food on it (except canned meat) and wishing she was still among us and that I could hug her neck. Now I do admit that my mother fried up Spam when we moved up North. I was just talking to some TN friends recently who said they ate Spam as a kid, too. And we all loved it. Grandma had chickens and hogs, so we got to eat fried chicken and pork. When we would leave to go back to OH, after a visit, she would get up at the crack of dawn and bake biscuits in that wood stove and fry up handmade sausage that she would wrap in waxed paper & put in a poke for us to snack on in the car. Golly, I miss it.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    July 17, 2021 at 10:26 am

    We love vegetable meals and are eating less meat than ever. Our taste for meat has just kept decreasing. We still love bacon and good barbecue and country ham and hamburgers on the grill but it’s not every day.

    We would eat so many rosinears as kids that there would be a big pile of corncobs! The little ones you can buy are pretty puny! That meal sounds like a lot of ours as children. For some reason I don’t remember Mama planting taters–maybe she had no place to store them.

    Fried a just beginning to turn tomato this week and we liked it so much better than a totally green one. Of course we like totally green, too!

  • Reply
    July 17, 2021 at 9:54 am

    Sounds very similar to some of our summer meals including fried bologna but rarely lima beans.

    Growing up we called sweet peppers mangoes. I must have been in my fifties before I learned what a mangoe was. Did anyone else call sweet peppers mangoes?

  • Reply
    Donald Wells
    July 17, 2021 at 9:46 am

    Been enjoying SUMMER SUPPERS, just this week. Fresh green beans cooked in salted ham meat,peaches and cream corn on the cob,sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers,onions, and a pan of cornbread. Thank You Lord, for blessing our little garden, and giving us strength to work it.

  • Reply
    July 17, 2021 at 9:37 am

    Reminds me of when I was a child.

  • Reply
    July 17, 2021 at 9:04 am

    It’s been a long time since I’ve had those little new tater scraped and fried. They are so good served with green beans and a pone of cornbread. Daddy liked fried green tomatoes that were just starting to get ripe. I’ll take them any way I can get them but I’m not sure I would like them sprinkled with sugar. I must have been a teenager before I realized that roasinneers and corn on the cob are the same thing.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    July 17, 2021 at 8:51 am

    I remembeer! So delicious! Two words I don’t know: simlins sass (as used in Becky’s comment).
    Corned beef hash with mashed potatoes is new to me. We made it with chopped boiled potatoes.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    July 17, 2021 at 8:23 am

    I have to smile a bit about that ‘Southern fried’. We aren’t as bad as represented but we do have have a lean in that direction. I am a bit mystified about ‘fried corn’. I think I missed that dish somehow.

    Once again, a testimony that homegrown beats commercial. Commercial just can’t grow, pick, pack, ship, display and sell in any kind of timeframe that can equal walking out to a garden patch out back. I am in favor of everybody who can having a patch of something homegrown even if it is just radishes or even herbs on a windowsill.

    • Reply
      July 17, 2021 at 1:55 pm

      Ron, I think fried corn is just cream corn cooked in a frying pan in fat back or streaked meat grease. I have never heard of simlins.

  • Reply
    Gene Smith
    July 17, 2021 at 8:23 am

    “Simlins” is a new one on me. Someone fill me in, please.

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      July 17, 2021 at 2:55 pm

      Simlins are a variety of squash similar to a pattypan squash.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    July 17, 2021 at 8:22 am

    Made my mouth water. Love all the fresh from the garden veggies. My favorite is fried green tomatoes. I must admit when I eat like that I overdo and suffer during the night. It might be my age. I am sure that won’t stop me in the future. A little suffering never hurt anyone. Makes you stronger. Bring on the fresh veggies.

  • Reply
    July 17, 2021 at 8:08 am

    Excellent! Loved this…..BUT, what are “simlins”????

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    July 17, 2021 at 8:04 am

    There are two essential items missing in this scrumptious menu. One which would have taken care of the meat end of things and almost certainly would have figured in the preparation of both the fried corn and lima beans is streaked meat. It was an essential for many a mountain cook. It gave wonderful flavor and often, though not always, there would be a few slices fried to crisp perfection as well. The second is a pone of cornbread, and if it was laced with cracklin’s you had the meat part of the equation taken care of as an extra.

    One other fancy tickled by this warm and winsome culinary memory. A meal of this sort in my part of the world would have been served for dinner, not supper. Dinner was our big meal of the day.

    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    July 17, 2021 at 7:46 am

    Now I am hungry….

    • Reply
      Gloria Urban
      July 17, 2021 at 7:41 pm

      Lovely column. I grew up in Iowa but many of these foods are familiar. I knew simlims, but I never knew green peppers were called mangoes until I studied “southern” cooking. Since I no longer live on a farm with a garden, green tomatoes are hard to come by. I have to ask at the produce stands here and beg the farmer to sell me green ones – which they never have out on display.
      Your whole meal sounds delicious.

  • Reply
    July 17, 2021 at 7:31 am

    summer supper growing up and still occasionally…new taters n gravy, freshly picked and cooked with ham hock green beans, fried squash sliced thin and dipped in egg and cornmeal, freshly shucked and boiled roasting ears of corn, freshly picked, sun warmed, sliced maters and cucumbers on a plate…always good eatin fresh garden sass…whatever it might be.. YUM YUM..

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 17, 2021 at 7:01 am

    All those fresh garden veggies sound absolutely wonderful. I know it’s now deemed unhealthy to eat so much fried food but I still remember how good it was. There are no vegetables you can buy that compare with fresh from the garden tomatoes and corn, squash and peppers….makes you feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven!!
    Thanks for the memory!

  • Reply
    Betty Jo Eason Benedict
    July 17, 2021 at 7:01 am

    Almost drooling over those wonderful, delicious Summer Vegetables!!!!!! Forget the meat…….meals like that could turn me into a vegetarian! 🙂

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