Appalachia Celebrating Appalachia Videos

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Several days ago I received the following comment from Attilynn:

“Well, now I can add postum to the increasing list of things I’ve learned about from you, Tipper! (A few off of the top of my head): Streak of lean Greasy backs Leather britches Millers Rich pine/fat pine/lightered Ground cherries Gravity water Ramps Laurel hell Float Kilt lettuce And on and on and on…😀 Thanks for a very educational channel!”

I’m telling you that comment did me good! Just thinking about the importance of the list in relation to Appalachia makes my heart warm and my mind race around to all the things I’ve experienced with each. Here’s a few thoughts that come to mind.

  • streak of lean: I grew up calling salt pork either fat back or streaked meat and still do today. But when I talk about fat back I always mention streak of lean because so many other people use that phrase. I remember the supper Granny made when we had fat back. Along with the salty meat there would be a big pot of soup beans, a cake of cornbread, usually a bowl of kraut, and a lot of times a bowl of cornmeal gravy. Often there would be a pot of soupy taters. At that time I turned my nose up at cornmeal gravy but I scarfed down the rest of the goodness. It’s still one of my favorite meals.
  • greasy back beans: We’ve been growing them for several years and just love them. The slight sheen makes the beans so pretty. We save our seeds from year to year and I’ve already been dreaming about planting this year’s bean patch.
  • leather britches: I did not grow up with dried green beans. Granny nor Pap liked them as good as fresh or canned ones. But once I tried them the first time I loved them. They have a different taste and I can see why so many people have fond memories of them.
  • miller = moth: I’m so glad Attilynn learned that word from me! I want that language usage around to continue. When I hear the word or use it myself I’m instantly reminded of the millers that congregated by Granny and Pap’s porch light and tried to beat their way into the house every time the door was opened. Also about the story Pap told of someone having a miller go up their nose and having to blow it out. And if that wasn’t enough I’m reminded of one of The Deer Hunter’s friends saying a miller went in his ear and he couldn’t get it out without going to the doctor. There was a very funny back and forth between him and the doctor as he tried to explain what a miller was 🙂
  • rich pine/fat pine/lightered: Oh the joy of rich pine. I used some slivers this morning to start the fire. It works so good and after all these years I’m still amazed it’s laying around in the woods free for the taking.
  • ground cherries: The sweet small round globes speak of summer sunshine. I’m so glad Jim Casada shared them with me several years ago. The gift of ground cherries allowed me to enjoy their bounty forever since they reseed themselves and it jarred lose a memory of my grandmother trying to get me to eat a ground cherry when I was a child.
  • gravity water: What an invention! I can just imagine how much Pap loved gravity water compared to the water he had to tote prior to having it. Just typing the words memories come flooding to my mind: Riding on Pap’s back to check the spring; playing with Paul in the fires Pap built to thaw out the line in the cold winter months; the sound of the water trickling in the sink when Pap left it running on the coldest of nights; the sweet taste of a tall glass of water that come from way up the creek.
  • ramps: The tasty spring time tonic that generations of Appalachians enjoy even if it does leave them a little stinky for a few days. Long time Blind Pig and The Acorn reader Charles Fletcher had some dandy memories of ramps. You can read one here.
  • laurel hell: Deep in the laurels was one of my favorite places to play as a child. I was hidden from sight and had a mossy carpet underneath. Laurels and Ivies speak of home and my people. I adore them both.
  • float: What a tasty treat. I’m so glad I discovered the traditional drink several years back and my family is too.
  • kilt lettuce: Makes my mouth water to think of the spring delicacy. In just a few short months we’ll be eating a big bowl of kilt lettuce straight from the garden and we’ll likely have fat back to go with it which takes us back to the beginning of this list 🙂

Last night’s video: Dorie Woman of the Mountains.

Tipper

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30 Comments

  • Reply
    Christine
    January 31, 2022 at 10:40 am

    Tipper, you have been an excellent teacher and a pleasant reminder of all things we cherish in our Appalachian lives both past and present. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Patti Lynn Brockwell
    January 29, 2022 at 11:45 pm

    Oh it’s such an honor and surprise to have one of my comments mentioned on your blog!! I’m giggling because now I wish I had chosen my screen name a little more carefully! Anyway, my comment was sincere, and I should have mentioned that as a home school mom, I’ve also explained those things to my kids, especially rich pine and gravity water. We also discussed ground cherries because we’ve actually seen them every year at the pumpkin patch but never knew what they were, or that they were edible. Your channel has definitely enriched our lives and given us a deeper and truer picture of Appalachia.

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    January 29, 2022 at 5:09 pm

    So much of this so very familiar. I never gave it much thought, and really was a workaholic most of my life. Then right out of the blue came this lady named Tipper. I learned so much about appreciation of my raising and my heritage. I regret not learning more about so much, asking more questions, and not just learning more from my elders.
    Everything about my life took on more importance, as I read and learned so much about the uniqueness of all the habits and customs of the Appalachian life. Even my being a workaholic was part of it, because it was the way I was taught. We were taught a deep respect for hard work, and my dad would always say he was getting “lazy” even if he got sick.
    The millers we chased out of the house as children, I remember walking up Pinnacle Creek visiting grandparents, and my dad showing us ground cherries and May apples. Most coal camps had gravity fed fresh water from the runoff on hillsides. I am certain they had no safety standards, but will always remember how fresh and good that mountain water was. Priceless, Tipper, that you have handed many back their childhood, and made them want to keep it all alive!

  • Reply
    James
    January 29, 2022 at 4:50 pm

    Tipper, to us, streak of lean and fatback are similar but not exactly the same; streak of lean is just as it says, a little streak of lean meat along with the fat meat. Fat back never has any lean meat. I remember my grandmother used to complain about “rusty” fatback when it would start to get a little rancid. I also remember when you could buy it for 10 cents a pound. We live in Bladen County in the southeastern part of the state and very much of what you talk about in celebrating appalachia is very familiar to us although we are low-landers. Any kind of dry beans and fried potatoes is a good meal for us. On your video of the sweet potatoes, I noticed you boiled them. Have you ever tried deep frying them? We love them that way mixed in the sauce you described. We enjoy your videos and always look for the similarities with our way of life.

    • Reply
      Tipper
      January 29, 2022 at 6:27 pm

      James-thank you for the comment! I have never tried deep frying sweet potatoes 🙂

      • Reply
        James
        January 29, 2022 at 9:57 pm

        The Shriners hold a fish fry every year in our little town of Bladenboro and one of the side dishes is deep-fried sweet potatoes with a secret sauce much like the one you made. They are always a big hit and the same man oversees the preparation every year; no one knows his recipe for the sauce.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 29, 2022 at 1:27 pm

    Of the list, Float is the only one that I wasn’t familiar with. Even it reminds me of a simplified version of the eggnog we had sometimes.
    I made leatherbritches with fresh picked green beans and didn’t like them. When I blanched them before drying them they tasted like fresh to me.

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney
    January 29, 2022 at 11:50 am

    Attlynn,
    a cake of cornbread: We always referred to it as a “pone of cornbread” not to be confused as a cornbread muffin.

    • Reply
      Sanford McKinney
      January 29, 2022 at 11:52 am

      Attilyn
      Sorry for the mis-spelling of your name.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    January 29, 2022 at 11:26 am

    Tipper–You and Mint2bee might want to try making salsa with ground cherries as the main ingredient. I think maybe they “lose” something when cooked, but salsa utilizing chopped ground cherries, some herbs, and maybe a bit of hot pepper is, to me, mighty fine.

    • Reply
      Mint2Bee
      January 29, 2022 at 2:03 pm

      Hi Jim. Thanks for that tip; I will have to try that this summer — IF I can keep from eating them all first 🙂

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    January 29, 2022 at 11:19 am

    We loved a meal of beans with stewed taters and cornbread. Mama made the best kraut ever and often we would have a bowl of it, too. My cousin’s little daughter would ask for “quat” when they were on their way to visit. We also loved fatback and it was a treat when someone could get Mama to fry some and make biscuits way after we’d had supper.

    We can’t get good fatback around here. Occasionally a store will have a package of very thin pieces that are mostly rind–very hard to fry. I used to like to crunch the rinds but now I fear for my teeth. The best greens need a hunk of fatback to be delicious. I can see it now–a thick piece cut back to the rind in several places. My husband’s grandaddy loved that boiled fatback–he would fish it out of the pot and always said it was better than candy. I don’t love it that much.

    Have you ever read the series “All Creatures Great and Small” about the vet in rural England? One of the funniest episodes was when he was server a cold boiled hunk of solid fat meat which he absolutely hated fixed that way. He would not insult the host by not eating it. He said it was lovely–coated with crumbs on a nice plate and they were so proud to offer it to him. He said he spotted a jar of “pickalily” on the table and began to put a spoon of it on every bite. Later he heard that the farmer was talking about the vet visit and said he was a good eater and “sure did punish the pickalily”. If you havent read these, I think you would enjoy them!

    • Reply
      Mint2Bee
      January 29, 2022 at 2:02 pm

      Those books have been on my bookshelf for several years – they are GREAT. He had such a talent for writing; I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying them. They are the kind of books you want to keep forever so you can read over and over.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    January 29, 2022 at 11:15 am

    The thing about ivy and laurel is that it makes a kid-size forest all nice and closed in and secret like. And thicker is better for that. Speaking of which, I’ll bet the laurel is rolled up today.

    Your list reminds me once again to practice gratitude for all my blessings.

  • Reply
    Gloria Hayes
    January 29, 2022 at 11:13 am

    Tipper, you have brought back so many memories for me! My mama and mother-in-law always used either fatback or streak of lean when they seasoned vegetables, so good!! My mother-in-law whom we called Granny would also fry up a platter of fatback and have homemade biscuits and we would stick our finger in the side of the biscuit and make a hole and pour molasses in it. Talk about some good eating. And fat lightered, oh will it start a fire. Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Reply
    Margie Orr
    January 29, 2022 at 10:11 am

    My local library got a copy of Mountain Cooking by John Parris from the Knoxville library.
    Enjoying it so much. I wanted to order a copy, but it’s 350.00 on Amazon.
    Thanks for telling us about the book.

  • Reply
    Rachel Fleming
    January 29, 2022 at 10:05 am

    I watch the video and ordered Postum. Arrives Wednesday.

    • Reply
      Tipper
      January 29, 2022 at 10:11 am

      Rachel-I hope you enjoy it!

  • Reply
    Mint2Bee
    January 29, 2022 at 9:09 am

    Several years ago we bought a plant at the Asheville Herb Festival labeled “pineapple tomatillo”. We loved it and liked that it did reseed rather prolifically. A few years later on a PBS special, Folkways with David Holt he featured Ila Hatter and she introduced ground cherries which was the exact same plant. Do you ever make a pie with them? I never have because I can’t stop eating them as I pick them to get enough to make a pie! I second Attilyn’s comment “Thanks for a very educational channel”. Keep doing what you are doing!!

    • Reply
      Tipper
      January 29, 2022 at 10:12 am

      Mint2Bee-I made a pie for the first time last summer and I didn’t care for it. Maybe I need another recipe 🙂 I love eating them out of hand too!

  • Reply
    Randy
    January 29, 2022 at 9:05 am

    I have learned some new words since reading Tipper’s blog. I have never been in a laurel hell but got in one of over my head blackberry vines or briars one time. If it is any worse than that I don’t want no part of it. Looking for lightened with my grandaddy in the fall, biscuits and sawmill gravy (hunky doo gravy) made from fatback grease for breakfast, and the beans always being cooked with fatback or streak of lean are some things I know about and remember well. How many have heard fertilizer called guano or nitrogen called sody (soda) or soda crackers called the same thing. I am about as country as you can get and I have a lot memories similar to Tipper’s. I have been to a home with gravity water. The water was coming from Sassafras mountain and the home was at Rocky Bottom, SC.

  • Reply
    Shirl
    January 29, 2022 at 9:05 am

    A cake of cornbread and a pot of soup beans could be found on our supper table year-round. Add some killed lettuce and fried taters and the meal is fit for a king. I need to ask some of my older cousins why we never ate ramps. It must have been because they didn’t grow in the hills of eastern KY. My grandson found a patch on his land last spring and didn’t tell me until they were gone. He knows how excited I am for spring to come this year! I will be searching this site for ways to fix them.
    This morning, some rich pine sure would have come in handy when the thermometer read 4 degrees.

  • Reply
    Jan
    January 29, 2022 at 8:57 am

    Yep…gravity water. Have mine running now to prevent freezing.

  • Reply
    Margie G
    January 29, 2022 at 8:45 am

    I’ve learned a lot from you as well and relived many a good meal when you mentioned it. I gotta get in here every day cause it’s a fantastic blog, Tipper! It may be the best thing I ever found on YT and it’s a highlight of my every morning if I feel up to it. You’re the ambassador of the hill folk and I can’t be prouder of you or think more highly of you than I do – all of your kin too!!! Hope it’s cold and snowy to suit you this winter morn. It’s somewhere below zero here with the wind chill…. soup beans sound good!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    January 29, 2022 at 6:53 am

    Now I have to seriously wonder about the sanity of someone who loves a laurel (rhododendron) hell! I’ve fought my way through a slew of them, and even when I made my way through (I once gave up after an hour in one on Breakneck Ridge) I always felt like the laurel had the upper hand in the fight.

    • Reply
      Tipper
      January 29, 2022 at 6:59 am

      Don-that’s how The Deer Hunter feels about them too 🙂

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 29, 2022 at 6:53 am

    Thanks Tipper and Attilynn! Seeing all those words together somehow just warms my heart. It’s about family values and traditions. I see them all together in a list is like family and kin! It’s like going to my grandmother’s house and watching her strain fresh milk through clean rags into gallon and half gallon jars to store and use and to sell for some extra money.

  • Reply
    John Hart
    January 29, 2022 at 6:52 am

    Years ago, eating lunch at a favorite restaurant, one in our crowd would ask if they had “white meat” that day. He was talking about fried, thick pork fat. It was GOOD.

  • Reply
    AWGRIFF
    January 29, 2022 at 6:45 am

    I’ve never heard anyone in my area of e.ky. say laurel hell but that sure describes it real well. That got me to thinking about the way we use holler for hollow and one of the virgin beech tree hollers I hunted in and the laurel hell. I have hunted grouse in the mountain laurel by walking an old logging road that cut through it but a couple of times I fought my way through a laurel hell in a virgin beech tree grove to squirrel hunt. I didn’t get any squirrels but I really enjoyed being there. I felt like I had escaped from the world.

  • Reply
    donna sue
    January 29, 2022 at 6:43 am

    I love your memories!! Thank you for sharing your life, your home, and the Appalachian culture with me! Like Attilyn, you have taught me so much over the years. But most of all, you have allowed me to live the life I have always wanted, vicariously through your stories, and the guest posts of all your wonderful friends!!! Thank you, Tipper!

    Donna. : )

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