Appalachia Overheard



“I made’em up with buttermilk to save my sweet milk. They were still good.”


Overheard: snippets of conversation I overhear in Southern Appalachia

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  • Reply
    Neva [Wyatt} Slocum
    July 1, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    My mother always made her cornbread using white cornmeal and buttermilk. No sugar or eggs. I followed in her footsteps and make it the same way. It is sometimes hard to find white cornmeal in our local stores, they do have white cornbread mixes but they do not taste the same. Don [husband] does not like my cornbread, he prefers Jiffy mix. He was raised in Montana, and I have failed in making him a Tarheel. Neva

  • Reply
    June 30, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    Butter milk is cultured (characterized by refined taste and manners and good education) while sweet milk is uncultured (not characterized by good taste, manners, or education). It says it in the dictionary. If you don’t believe my, look it up fer yerownself.

  • Reply
    Lee Mears
    June 30, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    I LOVE buttermilk. I love to drink it, (shows how old I am) and when, IF, I make biscuits or cornbread I have to have buttermilk. Ranch dressing HAS to be made with buttermilk in my house. Souring milk gave our ancestors a way to save milk before refrigeration; buttermilk/butter, sour cream and all the cheeses. Its also low calorie and full of protein, but Granny used to leave little tiny bits of butter in it when churning, get it real cold and oh my! If you’re sick with a virus and throwing up, butter milk will help settle your stomach if you’re able to get it down, like ginger-ale or tomato juice. At very least it comes back up easier.!! My teen grandsons moan and groan about how they hate mayonnaise and ‘WOULD NEVER drink BUTTERMILK’ but they dip everything they eat in ranch dressing, including fries…… Cue the secret smile between their father and me.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    June 30, 2018 at 11:26 am

    I like buttermilk and sweetmilk. Both are good in breads. When I was a kid, daddy and mama would sometimes send me to the store and get some buttermilk. It only cost $.59 or $.69 cents. The merchants didn’t charge an arm and a leg, cause they realized folks didn’t make that much. Today, at Ingles, a gallon of Mayfield’s Buttermilk costs over $8.00. Theirs is the best and thick too. Mayfield’s makes Good Icecream also. Ingles’ store-brand (Laura Lynn) is cheaper, but I recon you get what you pay for. …Ken

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    June 30, 2018 at 10:52 am

    I seldom use buttermilk–don’t like the tang it gives bread. My son uses it to so some fried foods and I like cornbread & buttermilk. I tried it on the first fried green tomatoes and it was good.

    Almost bought some buttermilk powder at our local Mennonite store this week. I will get some next trip. I just love this store–they have the really hot cheeses we like. Plus got two of their wonderful knives!

  • Reply
    Agnes Farr
    June 30, 2018 at 10:40 am

    Prior to 2017 Thanksgiving, I was in a local supermarket and an elderly lady asked a young man for help finding buttermilk. She said, “Son I don’t want sweet milk. I need buttermilk to make my cornbread for my dressing.” The young man had no idea what she was talking about. Being from the old school, I understood her language and was glad I could be of help and teach the young man something…what buttermilk was and the difference between sweet and butter (milk).

  • Reply
    June 30, 2018 at 10:19 am

    Wonder what was being made? Buttermilk is certainly best in pancakes, biscuits, and cornbread. I don’t always keep whole milk on hand but it sure comes in handy if I run out of buttermilk and have to sour some. – – so much better than soured 2%!

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    June 30, 2018 at 10:03 am

    I grew up hearing it called sweet milk and white bread called light bread. I make biscuits with sweet milk, cornbread with buttermilk, and pancakes with whichever I have on hand.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    June 30, 2018 at 10:03 am

    Mother loved her cornbread and buttermilk! Daddy hated buttermilk! I was doing fine with it until my fourth grade teacher decided to show the city kids how buttermilk n’ butter was made…She lined all of them up late the next day! She had those little cone shaped paper cups and dipped a scoop into each ones cup…Came my turn, and I happened to look into “the blue caldron of nasty”….it wasn’t my grannies buttermilk…it was blue sour milk…After that day I never drank buttermilk again…However, I wouldn’t be without it in my cooking…especially for a good cake of cornbread…
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    June 30, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Well I made ’em up with sweet milk to save my buttermilk to drink when I have cornbread, pintos and fresh green onions.

  • Reply
    June 30, 2018 at 8:37 am

    Could it have been biscuits they were talking about?

  • Reply
    June 30, 2018 at 8:30 am

    Buttermilk is a must in Appalachian cooking. I think it gives biscuits and cornbread that extra good taste. I keep dried buttermilk culture powder on hand in case I run out. An old stand by is milk and cornbread, and my sister loves hers with buttermilk. I have wondered if other places besides Appalachia call regular milk sweet milk. They did not where I once lived!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    June 30, 2018 at 6:49 am

    Love cooking and baking with buttermilk yum

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 30, 2018 at 6:47 am

    Yep, there’s lots of things you can make with buttermilk as well as sweet milk, but now days if your having to buy it the sweet milk costs less than the buttermilk!

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