Books! Chocolate! Authors!

No Appalachian Thursday today. I’m at the RT Book Lovers Convention in Atlanta, Ga., enjoying time with readers, authors, and chocolate. Good times! If you’re in the area, here’s one of my events: If you’re not in the area, heads up that my first novel, Miracle in a Dry Season, is FREE this week during the convention. BONUS–so are books […]

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Appalachian Thursday–Easter Sunrise

I love most every holiday. Food, friends, decorations–it’s all wonderful. But my favorite holiday is Easter. And my favorite part of Easter is the Sunrise Service. It’s a disappointment to me when the service gets moved inside because of the weather (too cold, too wet, too snowy). But I’ll still be there, in the pre-dawn light, waiting to celebrate the moment when the truth became clear. Jesus is ALIVE. That’s why I love Easter now–remembering Christ’s resurrection. But I think I learned to love Sunrise Services when I would go with my Dad as a child. I remember at least one Easter when it was just the two of us. I remember getting up in the dark and putting on my new Easter clothes–a dress, white stockings, and black, patent leather shoes. Oh, how they shone. As Dad and I went out the door I remember seeing our Easter baskets waiting–brimming with bright candy and other goodies. But I knew going to church to see the sun rise was somehow more important. Candy and treats could wait. That might have been the year we went to French Creek Presbyterian and stood on the crest of the hill looking down over the valley. There were houses down there–mostly on the ramshackle side–with old cars and peeling paint. Some chickens scrabbled in the dirt and a dog or two stirred. It wasn’t exactly a bucolic scene. But then the sun rose and we sang and […]

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Appalachian Thursday – Allium tricoccum

Earlier this week I was cutting through the woods on the mountain back of the house when I saw a lush patch of green off through the trees. I recognized it right away. It’s ramp season in Appalachia. I found an on-line article that said, “Ramps are a spring ephemeral of deciduous forests in eastern North America.” Man, I like the sound of that. I pulled up just two, chopped them in butter and made a cheese omelette that evening. I’ve long felt ramps should be more of a seasoning or garnish than a main dish. It also saves others from having to smell me as my body processes the stinky plant. Ramps were a spring tonic back in the day–and I suppose they still are. The first wild, fresh green of the season packed with nutrients. But now–NOW–ramps are trendy. Plenty of downright ritzy restaurants are weaving ramps into their spring menus. My chef friend Dale Hawkins in Buckhannon, WV, posts his daily special for a full month at a time. On April 10 he’s offering: Pork Roast w/ Sauerkraut, Fried Potatoes & Ramps. I’d eat that. The Marketplace here in Asheville, NC, is offering a lamb dish with ramp pesto. My theory is that trained chefs have hit on the right formula for cooking ramps. They really ought to be treated as a condiment–a flavoring or seasoning. Sure you can blanch them then fry them in a little […]

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Love Like a Casserole

It’s day 19 of this ridiculous cold that has apparently morphed into something else. The paperwork from the urgent care clinic says, “Acute upper respiratory infection, unspecified.” I have antibiotics. I think the doctor may have given them to me to appease me, but I don’t care. I’ll take lamp oil in sugar at this point. Anything to breathe through […]

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Appalachian Thursday–7 Spring Favorites

Spring is technically still a ways off, but we have daffodils, forsythia peeking out, warmer days (followed by COLD ones), and last night I heard the first peepers of the season. So I’m indulging my spring fever with seven things I love about this time of year. 1) Snow on daffodils. In spite of warmer days, we’ll occasionally wake to a fluffy dusting of snow that clings to branches and flower petals without making a mess of the roads. Pretty then gone. Just the way I like my snow! Growing up, snows like that were called “poor man’s fertilize” and farmers would hurry to plow it under in the garden before it melted. 2) Peepers. I love to wake to the song of the little frogs singing and then walk with them at dusk. It’s the music of spring! 3) Fresh asparagus. I think it’s kind of a shame that you can get just about any produce any time of year these days. I remember how Mom treasured those first asparagus shoots poking up through the warming soil. Thank goodness for farmer’s markets where you can still find the real thing! Of course, my great-grandmother wouldn’t have had such fancy fixins–she would probably have enjoyed poke sallat or dandelion greens. 4) Fiddleheads. There’s just something about those tightly furled fronds that’s gorgeous to me. When hiking with my husband year round, I love to point out flowers and plants. He calls […]

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