Appalachian Thursday – Bread on the Table

We had friends over for supper on Sunday and I didn’t serve bread. It took nerve, I know. Whether you serve biscuits, cornbread, or light bread, there should ALWAYS be bread on an Appalachian table. Maybe because it helped simple ingredients go a long way. Maybe because it’s GOOD. Especially if you churn your own butter! Even when my grandmother stopped making her own bread, she would still put a stack of store-bought loaf bread on a plate and sit it on the edge of the table. Unlike that basket of biscuits or homemade rolls, it didn’t go in the middle of the table, but it was there. “Push bread” the men called it because it was handy to push the last bites of food onto their forks. I make biscuits for weekend breakfasts now and again. I like them split and buttered with maple syrup (I use a fork). Or apple butter! And I make my cornbread with creamed corn so it’s extra moist. (I also add a dab of sugar–blasphemy in the South, but common in Appalachia.) I never have been good at making light bread (yeast bread), but maybe that’s because I had too many ladies in my life who were masters at it. If you’d like to attempt biscuits, I highly recommend it. They’re pretty easy to make and they’re SO much better than what comes in those supermarket tubes. BISCUITS 1/2 cup self-rising flour per […]

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Unexpected Autumn

This past weekend was GORGEOUS. Okay, it was a little damp and overcast, but after lots of typical August heat and humidity it was a refreshing change. On Saturday the temperature really didn’t rise much and the humidity disappeared as the day wore on. Some friends and I planned to pick apples and pears from a neighbor’s trees and it was as if the climate agreed to cooperate with our notion of apple-picking weather. It was a gift. And an unexpected one. One of my friends commented on how fall feels like such a revelation each year. We know it’s coming, we’ve experienced it before, and yet the first crisp day feels like a gift we didn’t really think we’d get. Summer and winter seem to arrive when I’m not really paying attention. I’ll be enjoying warmer or cooler days and then suddenly it will be full-on summer or winter. At that point I heave a sigh and resign myself to needing a shower every day or suffering with perpetually cold feet. And I’m usually looking so hard for spring that I celebrate each tiny, incremental change. But the first day that truly feels like autumn is as if a curtain has been whisked back on a stage. One moment you’re dreaming of cool, crisp mornings and the next they’re here making you want to snuggle under the covers with the windows wide open. I know some of you love […]

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A Bookish Anniversary

Five years ago today my first full-length novel released. On the Sunday before, I held a launch party at my church with a reading, book sale, beans & cornbread supper, bluegrass music, and even some square dancing. It was pretty awesome. And not just because I was finally an honest-to-goodness author. It was wonderful because of the people who came and the way they supported me in celebrating my dream-come-true. Here’s what I wrote on this very blog five years ago: “In Appalachian Serenade Delilah realizes that family is something deeper than blood kin. My FAMILY gathered around yesterday evening and we had a celebration. There was church family, work family, neighborhood family, friends family, family family–and it was one of those times when I felt love wrapped all around me like a soft blanket on a cold night.” Much has happened since then. Some of the dear friends who joined us that night have passed on. Both of my parents now have health issues that prevent them from traveling to NC. We have new friends who have become like family. And yet, some things are the same. Most significantly the love and support of my extended family which now also includes author friends and reader friends. It kind of makes me want to have a party and invite you ALL. Hmmmm. I’ve got another book releasing in November. I might do just that . . .

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By the dozen–but why?

Isn’t it funny how something utterly familiar will suddenly strike you as . . . odd? While having dinner with friends I was telling a story about a neighbor who used to give us fresh eggs and we realized that none of us knew why eggs come in dozens. Not to mention donuts. Not an urgent question, but one I […]

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It’s Not the Weight Gain . . . it’s the Redistribution!

As I’m approaching 50 I’m realizing there are quite a few things about aging that no one tells you. I’ve heard plenty of talk about the way pounds creep on with middle age, so I’ve tried to keep an eye out for that. And I’m pleased to say that I actually weigh a few pounds less than I did a decade ago. However. While there may be less flesh overall, things have moved. My waist is not so trim as it once was. My hips–what IS that extra layer there?!? Upper arms are, um, softer. My chin isn’t quite so firm as it once was. Even my hands are more . . . well . . . gnarled. No one told me my body was going to readjust. Even my teeth have moved! My dentist told me it’s common among folks my age. Seriously?!? But my body isn’t the only thing to shift. It seems my attitude has as well. The upshot being that I don’t mind all this readjusting as much as I would have expected. As I look around at others in the vicinity of my age, I see that what I’m experiencing is what you might call common. It’s just that I hadn’t noticed it in anyone else until it started happening to me. Which just might mean that women younger than me don’t notice my shifting while women older than me ignore it because they’re too busy […]

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