Savoring Kentucky

It's good all over.

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Enjoy weekly Hot Water Cornbread podcasts and recipes.

Savoring Kentucky showcases the wonders of Kentucky's food, farms, farmers, restaurants, chefs, distillers, brewers, orchards and markets. We applaud local food, its producers and champions. We delight in news of improvements in food and food systems. We take pleasure in fine food. We thank our wondrous sponsors for supporting our work and local goodness all around.

Arwen Donahue and David Wagoner of Three Springs Farm: HWC-2017-04-11

Listen to this wonderful show here.

From left: Ouita Michel, Chris Michel, David Wagoner, Arwen Donahue, and Phoebe.

From left: Ouita Michel, Chris Michel, David Wagoner, Arwen Donahue, and Phoebe.

We were honored when Arwen Donahue and David Wagner agreed to lay down their trowels, cover the paints, shelve the musical instruments, park the tiller and drive from Nicholas County to the wonderful studios at Lexington Community Radio. Their Three Springs Farm, established in 1997 in Carlisle, became one of the first to offer CSA subscriptions, and one of the earliest to use organic methods to grow vegetables for sale. 

Listen as they tell us about foods they grow and love to eat, what drew them from intriguing jobs in Washington, D.C. to settle on land that had been in David's family. Learn about the positive new chapter just beginning on their farm.

Corn, Cornmeal and Philip Weisenberger of Historic Weisenberger Mill: HWC-2017-04-04

Listen to Corn, Cornmeal, and Weisenberger Mill's Philip Weisenberger: HWC-2017-04-04. (Click the white arrow in the red circle to play a recording of the show.) 

One of many millstones near Weisenberger Mill, Scott County, Kentucky

One of many millstones near Weisenberger Mill, Scott County, Kentucky

From the excellent Anson Mills (SC) website:

Arguably, corn possesses the most culinary diversity of any grain. From corn flour to very coarse grits, whole hominy to hominy grits, nixtamal to masa to chicas, parch meal to ancient roasting corns—the range of exciting foods within the vast cuisine of corn is astounding. 

Corn had flourished in the Americas for millennia before European settlers came, and came to depend on it. Cornmeal forms the crucial foundation of hundreds of thousands of meals in Kentucky daily. We talked with Philip Weisenberger, a sixth generation miller at historic Weisenberger Mill in Scott County. We learned about the ways the Mill has been sustainably rebuilt and kept operational. We traveled with an imaginary corn kernel (from Kentucky, and non-GMO) as it makes its way from a farm in Hardin or Logan Counties to the top floor at Weisenberger, and down and back multiple times before it's ready for hungry customers. We get Philip's favorite cornbread recipe!

Enjoy the show.

Cathy and Harkey Edwards Keep Harkness Edwards Vineyards Sound Through Fire and Ice: HWC-2017-03-28

From left: Cathy Edwards, Chris Michel, Ouita Michel, Harkey Edwards

From left: Cathy Edwards, Chris Michel, Ouita Michel, Harkey Edwards

Cathy Edwards, who grows the grapes at Harkness Edwards Vineyards, started out growing exactly the wrong grapes for Kentucky. All that effort to plant, prune and weed, and they had to be taken out. Many other experiments with wine grape varieties and much additional painful ripping out and replanting followed. After 14 years, the grapes Cathy has learned both grow well in Clark County soil and make good wine are influencing other wineries that are part of Kentucky's wine-making renaissance. 

Harkey Edwards makes the wines. Initially he and Cathy both farmed and both made wine. It works better, they say, for each to have a decision-making domain. Their three daughters each play a role in the family business as well.

Harkey Edwards, left, and daughter Beth offering Harkness Edwards wines at the 2013 Food and Fiber Festival.

Harkey Edwards, left, and daughter Beth offering Harkness Edwards wines at the 2013 Food and Fiber Festival.

The Harkness Edwards Vineyards experience includes trials by fire as well as ice. In 2013 the winery and large tasting room burned to the ground, destroying everything it housed. The vines remained, but the following winter brought Polar Vortex weather: Arctic cold destroyed two acres of Viognier vines. 

Now, in 2017, Harkey Edwards has been making wine again for almost a year. Sam's Club has begun offering Harkness Edwards Vineyards' "Big Red," a blend of Concord and Vidal Blanc grapes that Harkey calls "a fun wine." Local Liquor Barns and Kroger Wine & Spirits offer wines from the Vineyards. People interested in wine and helping Kentuckians launch vineyards and wineries seek Cathy and Harkey out for guidance on how to move forward without having to learn so much by expensive, frustrating experience.

Enjoy this fun, interesting, inspiring show.

21c Lexington Turns 1, and Cooper and Kings Launches Ideal Bartender School

Photo credit: Cooper and Kings

Photo credit: Cooper and Kings

21c Museum Hotel Lexington opened one year ago: time for a birthday bash. Chef Jonathan Searle of Lockbox, the hotel's acclaimed restaurant, paid a second visit to Hot Water Cornbread to describe plans for the party (on March 17 during Lexington's Gallery Hop, 5 - 8 PM) and reflect on his first year at Lockbox. Then we dialed up Jenn Desjardins, of Cooper and Kings American Brandy in Louisville, to learn about the upcoming Ideal Bartender School, inspired by Louisville native Tom Bullock's legendary hospitality and his influential book of cocktail recipes, published 100 years ago.   

From Copper and King's press release about the Ideal Bartender School:

[T]he initiative will offer select individuals with disadvantaged economic means a free 14-week bartending course developed and curated by Copper & Kings. The rigorous course, limited to 20 people in need of economic mobility, will teach the disciplines of the hospitality profession.

The deadline for applications is March 31. View the course schedule and syllabus, and apply or share this news with others. The course begins May 10, just after Derby. Naturally!

Kristy and Steve Matherly of Lexington's Sunrise Bakery: HWC-2007-03-07

We invited Kristy and Steve Matherly, owners of Sunrise Bakery at 111 Main Street in Lexington, Kentucky, to Hot Water Cornbread: Kentucky Food Radio. We asked them to tell us their story. It's a wonderful show. Listen here

Steve and Kristy Matherly of Lexington's cherished Sunrise Bakery

Steve and Kristy Matherly of Lexington's cherished Sunrise Bakery

Learn how they met and which one had to persist, persist, persist to win the other's favor. Hear about their long-time family connections to cooking, gardening, baking and superb food, extending back at least to their grandparents and continuing on with their own young sons. Hula hoops, dancing, biking, yoga make appearances. These two beautiful people prove it is possible to make splendiferous breads, sandwiches, cookies, pastries, cannoli, bagels, cinnamon rolls, cheesecakes and more while staying healthy.

It's not easy to pin down magic, so we won't promise you will learn how to make your own space as welcoming as Sunrise Bakery is, but one hint comes when Kristy says, "They aren't 'customers.' They are family."

Savoring Kentucky has featured Sunrise Bakery in other posts. See also:

Sunrise Bakery: Brilliance on Main Street

Sunrise Bakery Saturdays, Reed Valley Orchard Autumns


André Barbour and Teheran Jewell of Barbour's Farm: A Fourth Generation Black-owned Farm in Kentucky Expands-HWC-2017-02-28

André Barbour and Teheran Jewell of Barbour's Farm want to bring their farm-raised Hart County goodness straight to your door—even if you live in Lexington or Louisville. After some years of ramping up production of vegetables, chickens, dairy cows, beef cattle and hogs on the Barbour family's 150 acres—and after three previous generations of farmers in André's family have tried other markets—it's time to connect directly with eaters, and bring the goodness to new customers. "In four states," says Teheran. And then, "We don't sleep much."

André and Teheran came to Lexington, and brought their friend Shanika Chappell of Bowling Green with them, to be our guests on this week's Hot Water Cornbread radio show. Listen here.

From left: Teheran Jewell, André Barbour, Shanika Chappell

From left: Teheran Jewell, André Barbour, Shanika Chappell

André and Teheran want their new CSA (Community Supported Agriculture subscription) to feed you during this growing season, even if you think you might not be able to afford a CSA. To introduce their farm and food to Lexington, they will bring samples and meet with faith groups, neighborhood associations and others. (They can cook.) Text or call André at (270) 777-5881 and Teheran at (270) 392-1399.

This year Barbour's Farm also launches an aggregate station just off I-65 in Hart County where restaurants and the public can buy a wide array of farm-raised foods. André says this fixed cost, accessible, one stop shop will make buying good ingredients much easier for cooks and chefs.

In 2014 the Courier-Journal's Jere Downs wrote this excellent article about André Barbour's farming and his importance in provisioning early Fresh Stop CSAs as part of Lousville's New Roots, Inc. Downs reported that African-Americans own 437 of Kentucky's 77,000 farms, according to the 2012 census. That's about one-half of one percent, in a state with a black population of about eight percent.

Quite a crew outside the toasty WLXU studio at Lexington Community Radio: from left, Matthew, a videographer/intern from the University of Kentucky, Teheran Jewell, Chris Michel, Ouita Michel, Shanika Chappell of International Center of Kentucky in Bowling Green, and André Barbour.

Quite a crew outside the toasty WLXU studio at Lexington Community Radio: from left, Matthew, a videographer/intern from the University of Kentucky, Teheran Jewell, Chris Michel, Ouita Michel, Shanika Chappell of International Center of Kentucky in Bowling Green, and André Barbour.

Encore: Here's what will be useful to these farmers, their farm, and you: Organize a group of 10 people or more and invite them to introduce their farm and food and explain the benefits of their CSA, with all its options to make good food affordable. They will come with food, experience, good humor, and crucial access directly to a season of excellent food. Text or call André at (270) 777-5881 and Teheran at (270) 392-1399.

Do you want a little more? See André Barbour on Facebook and check out A Taste of Jewell Farm.


Aphrodisiac Foods, from Antiquity to Now: HWC-2017-02-14

Chef Ouita Michel researches food history and brings it to the radio studio. (And, of course, to menus at Holly Hill Inn, every February for the past 15 years.) Asparagus, oysters and all seafood, cumin, star anise and many other spices, eggs, avocado, pine nuts, tomatoes, onions—so many foods have, since antiquity, been considered aphrodisiacal. Each year since it opened the Holly Hill Inn has featured these special foods around Valentines Day. On Valentines Day 2017, Ouita brought her research to the Lexington Community Radio studios, and told all about the background and uses of these amazing foods worldwide. Listen here

Chef Ouita Michel brings her research on aphrodisiac foods to Hot Water Cornbread, which has a happy home at WLXU 93.9 LP-FM, one part of Lexington Community Radio.

Chef Ouita Michel brings her research on aphrodisiac foods to Hot Water Cornbread, which has a happy home at WLXU 93.9 LP-FM, one part of Lexington Community Radio.

Winter Wizarding Waltz, Lexpecto Patronum, Sarabeth Brownrobie and Ashley Minton: HWC-2017-02-07

In preparation for the 2017 Winter Wizarding Waltz, a grand, fun and fund-y event on February 25 at the Lex Lyric Theater, our guests Sarabeth Brownrobie (founder) and Ashley Minton (innovative chef for this year's event) came to the Lexington Community Radio studios bearing notions of sparkly twinkle lights, dress-up and butter beer, plus the promise of magical food. Listen here.

Ashley Minton, left, and Sarabeth Brownrobie

Ashley Minton, left, and Sarabeth Brownrobie

Blue Moon Farm Garlic and Food System Innovation: The Podcast HWC-2017-01-31

Some people in the world of Kentucky food pop up in Savoring Kentucky so consistently they are like those trusted perennials that structure good gardens. Leo and Jean Pitches Keene and their Blue Moon Farm are in that group. I searched this site and stopped counting at 50 posts over the last 11 years. Now we've added Leo's voice to our Hot Water Cornbread podcast collection. Be not afraid! Listen here to the January 31 show. (Click the orange circle/white arrow. Technology does the rest for you, unless you happen to have muted your device.)

Leo and Jean Pitches Keene photographed themselves and their garlic braids before shipping the braids to New York City for an appearance on the "Today" show with guest chef Jamie Oliver in 2006. 

Leo and Jean Pitches Keene photographed themselves and their garlic braids before shipping the braids to New York City for an appearance on the "Today" show with guest chef Jamie Oliver in 2006. 

During our radio show, Leo tells about becoming a garlic producer with a constant additional job of educating new garlic customers, including chefs. He talks chef talk with Chefs Ouita and Chris Michel. He sketches the story of his and Jean's involvement with garlic and where that led. For one thing, garlic led to more Blue Moon crops, and then marketing Blue Moon crops led to helping other growers get their good food into local restaurants. As we learned from Leo about his work as aggregator, distributor, dispatcher and overall nudger of food from farm to restaurants and home kitchens, we sent big radio-wave appreciation to Chef John Foster, unwavering champion of local farms and their products. 

Jean and Leo moved to Kentucky as antique dealers in the 80s, and changed paths a bit after they began growing their own garlic—who knew it was possible then? Who ate garlic in Kentucky? Thanks to Blue Moon, it's a Kentucky flavor now. Blue Moon alone grows 40,000—50,000 garlic plants each year, with separate harvests of tens of thousands of mild-tasting, easy-to-use garlic scapes.* 

If you are a home cook, look for Leo and Jean at the Lexington Farmers Market starting April 1. If you are a chef or bulk buyer of fine local foods, contact Leo at garlic<at>bluemoongarlic<dot>com to become part of his distribution and delivery system.

Bonus for reading this far: here are links to and excerpts from three of many Savoring Kentucky posts about Blue Moon:

Gratitude for Garlic , 2006:

This year when I count my Thanksgiving blessings, I will include the 50,000 garlic cloves Leo and Jean plant by hand in early winter, jump-starting next year's growing season before most of us have finished celebrating this year's plenty. Even more, I will be grateful for Jean and Leo themselves, knowing they may be outside planting garlic as I am buttering my homemade roll. Jean says, "There are many years when we've worked on Thanksgiving Day, trying to get planted before bad weather."

Roots-N-All: Garlic From Nose To Tail (Just About), 2009

Blue Moon Farm's Jean Keene told me this, so I tried it -- tried it out on other people, too. Yes, the cleaned roots of green garlic are edible. Tasty, in fact. Delicious.

Garlic Scape Pesto, 2011

In the summer of 2011, when my excellent husband's garlic crop first yielded a pesto-worthy quantity of scapes—the flexible, musical-looking pencil-thin green flower stems of hard-neck garlic—I cheekily asked Leo Keene, aka Mr. Blue Moon, how to make pesto with my own scapes. After all, as I told him, it is his fault that my household now plants 16 square feet of Blue Moon cloves near Halloween each year, harvests tender green garlic in March and April, rejoices in an additional tender crop of the scapes in June, and finally pulls an aromatic harvest of fat garlic bulbs out of the ground the following July 4.

*A scape is a stalk hard-neck garlic produces when it forms the intention to flower and produce seed, but smart growers snip that stalk off when it is still tender, with two beneficial results. First, the garlic plant can relax and put all its energy into those cloves that will be ready for harvest in another few weeks. And second, cooks make fine garlic scape dishes like these.

**Go to The Sage Rabbit for ongoing Chef John Foster goodness. Dishes from last week: 

"Roasted chicken risotto in a rosemary parsnip cream with shiitakes and spinach"
"Oven roasted Elmwood Stock Farm chicken breast with roasted garlic smashed potatoes, roasted greens and a caramelized rum onion pan sauce."

Note that garlic. Thank you, Leo, Jean, and Blue Moon.


On the eve of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group 2017 annual gathering and trade show, Executive Director Steve Muntz and long-time grower-participant Jane O'Tiernan joined Ouita and Chris Michel and me today on Hot Water Cornbread, our weekly radio show on food and foodways. Southern SSAWG is in Lexington, Kentucky this week. Walk-up registration information here (scroll down).

We talked with Steve and Jane about what makes SSAWG special, what new farmers need to do and know, how SSAWG defines sustainability, and what to expect at this year's event. Listen here. (Click that big red circle with its white arrow.) We finish the show with a short, lively lesson from Culinary Evangelist Dan Wu on how Chinese new year traditions like sticky rice and fish grow out of homonyms in the Chinese language. 

Hand tools at the 2016 Southern SAWG trade show

Hand tools at the 2016 Southern SAWG trade show


I knew, from earliest childhood, that old folks somewhere in Kentucky loved Old Christmas, January 6. I knew they loved thinking of animals kneeling at midnight, and speaking. I knew the sweet carol, "The Friendly Beasts." And not much else. On Hot Water Cornbread: Kentucky Food Radio this week (listen here), chef Ouita Michel brought all manner of history of this celebration through time and around the world. Plus recipes! Amazing recipes for an entire feast, offered tonight in Midway (sold out for this year) as a fund-raiser for Midway Christian Church. 

By Post of Moldova -, Public Domain,

By Post of Moldova -, Public Domain,

I did not know about the ways Epiphany celebrations worldwide include both feasting and riotousness (a bit like the mountain traditions of moonshine-drinking and firearms-shooting), nor the connection to the beautiful gift-giving story of The Three Wise Men. By Ivan Ivanov - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

By Ivan Ivanov - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

By Ivan Ivanov - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Around the world, celebrations are underway today, as they have been on this day for centuries.

By Unknown - Старо Скопје, Public Domain,

By Unknown - Старо Скопје, Public Domain,

Gratitude to Wikipedia for the splendid photos. 

By Balkanregion - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

By Balkanregion - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,


At age 44—which is probably like age 150 in natural grocery years—our priceless Coop now enjoys more contemporary media smarts thanks to new Marketing Manager Lauren Gawthrop. Lauren got up at 3 AM every weekday for five years to make news, literally: she organized and anchored new shows at Lexington's ABC36 from early morning through noon. Four hours of news a day, people! So imagine applying all those skills and all that good energy to continuing the long process of bringing all the goodness of Good Foods to our whole region. 

Lauren Gawthrop, Marketing Manager at Good Foods Coop

Lauren Gawthrop, Marketing Manager at Good Foods Coop

Ouita and Chris Michel and I enjoyed getting to know more about Lauren when she joined us on our weekly radio show, Hot Water Cornbread, this week. Ouita and Lauren described the wonders of giving luxury foods as gifts: a seemingly expensive, elegant bottle of olive oil, for example, costs much less than most people feel compelled to spend for a credible present, and delights its recipient.

And there's the other wonder of giving useful gifts, food instead of future yard sale items. Sorghum! Coffee! Craft beers! Exotic sauces! These and another 1200 items make fine gifts while supporting our neighbors who grow and produce excellent foods for us.

Or be like Lauren and make your own beautiful gifts. She brought homemade Santa Lucia rolls with her to the show: exemplary guest!

Click the red arrow on the player below and enjoy listening. [Email subscribers, we're still learning how to make the embedded players work for you. If you do not see a place to click and listen below, two options: go to, or click at the top of your email and access this post online.]

Long-time faithful readers of Savoring Kentucky know that each year I re-post a piece about the joy of not giving. This year I took a look and decided it needed a rest. Just before Thanksgiving, I re-read a favorite, challenging Wendell Berry essay on the necessity of limitations: Faustian Economics: Hell Hath No Limits. It doesn't sound like light holiday reading, and it is not. Wendell Berry speaks to our deeper interests, to the choices we can each make to live richly and with contentment within natural limits:

. . . our human and earthly limits, properly understood, are not confinements but rather inducements to formal elaboration and elegance, to fullness of relationship and meaning. Perhaps our most serious cultural loss in recent centuries is the knowledge that some things, though limited, are inexhaustible. For example, an ecosystem, even that of a working forest or farm, so long as it remains ecologically intact, is inexhaustible. A small place, as I know from my own experience, can provide opportunities of work and learning, and a fund of beauty, solace, and pleasure — in addition to its difficulties — that cannot be exhausted in a lifetime or in generations.

Gifts, both giving and receiving, are trickier than they seem at first. All the gift-giving holidays give us the gift of opportunity to think and act in ways that contribute to "a fund of beauty, solace and pleasure." May all these be yours during these sweet days.

Sponsors included in this post: Good Foods Coop.


Sarah Gleason (scroll down after you click), Director of Marketing and Communications for the Savory Institute, moved to Lexington a few months ago—just weeks before she started her own bison herd with a South Dakota partner. Yes, she lives a big life! Ouita and Chris Michel and I invited Sarah to be our guest on Hot Water Cornbread: Kentucky Food Radio, and she generously joined us this week. This post has a lot of links in it, to the recording of the radio show first of all, and then to more information about Savory Global, a large scale effort to use carefully managed herds and flocks of livestock to regenerate grasslands, reduce deserts, feed more people, support more farms, and sequester enough carbon to rescue our planet. Yes, Savory Global's mission is huge, controversial, and mesmerizing. Enjoy discovering along with us. [Dearly beloved email subscribers: you may want to click the link at the top of your email page and go to the website version of this blog post so it will be easier to get the benefits of this post.]

Here's a short video introduction to a worldwide event held recently in Colorado. Some of the main Savory Global themes come through here, including how each of us can, literally, save the world with each bite and each buy.

For more depth, here are five suggestions.

Watch Allan Savory's 22-minute 2013 TED Talk at You will see that you are joining nearly 4 million others who have watched so far.

Watch these four themed videos (which all share the same opening 3 minutes):

The Story of Meat

The Story of Dairy

The Story of Wool

The Story of Leather

For one thing, I was amazed, and perhaps you will be as well, at the assertions about the importance of fashion in the global economy, coupled with optimism about fashion's potential for positive world change. I am used to thinking in quite different terms about fashion.

Finally, learn more about a current Savory Institute crowd-funding initiative aimed at making it easier for buyers to identify and support producers who practice earth-regenerating agriculture. This is a crowdfunding campaign, and the page contains lots of information.

Ronni Lundy, Ouita and Chris on Appalachian Cuisine, Hindman Settlement School, and Dumplin's! Podcast HWC-2016-12-06

The weekend before this show, Ouita, Chris and our wonderful guest Ronni Lundy went to Hindman Settlement School for the second annual Dumplin's and Dancin' weekend, learning and celebrating Appalachian food, culture, craft, art and resilience. We're so glad they did! Ronni's 2016 book, Victuals, teaches and inspires us to honor the Appalachian roots of what makes Kentucky food distinctively Kentuckian.

If you want to share some love and support, contribute to the fundamental costs of keeping Lexington Community Radio (and WLXU and WLXL) on the air.  And join Hindman Settlement School's Cornerstone Campaign to be part of strengthening a critical resource for its next 100 years of service to Appalachia.

Photo credit: Pableaux Johnson. Thank you!

Chef Tanya J. Whitehouse Powers Up the Food Connection's Kitchen: Podcast HWC-2016-11-29

Accomplished chef and Renaissance woman Tanya J. Whitehouse took on a new role in March, 2016. She is the first Program Manager for the Food Connection at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. She works in a large, new teaching kitchen on the UK campus, and she came to Hot Water Cornbread to describe her work with students, staff, faculty and the UK community: teaching cooking and food smarts, engaging members of UK's international community, assisting students engaged in food recovery to benefit hungry students and senior citizens, and more. We love Tanya, and loved talking with her.

How Native Food and Agriculture Shaped Kentucky Cuisine: Podcast HWC-2016-11-15

Chef Ouita has worked this year to learn about and cook foods that have deep, explicit roots in what native people grew, preserved and cooked for hundreds of years on the land that is now Kentucky. Versions of some of these foods continue to be part of Kentucky cuisine today. Here are her unedited notes for today's show. She wants to share them with you. (And we thank our sweet guest observer for this show, Rona's niece Anne Wilson Roberts, visiting from San Francisco.)

Native American Heritage Month is November

Started as a single Day in 1915-1916- George HW Bush declared November Native American Heritage Month in 1990

Kentucky's Native American Tribes: Cherokee, Chicasaw, Shawnee and Yuchi

Their food traditions are the basis of KY food culture: Native Americans gave rise to the cultivation of corn. Their Cuisine is a celebration of corn. Where would KY be without corn- no bourbon distilling in this area. Think how greatly corn influences us!

Corn contributions of Native Americans: First to cultivate it. The Cherokee Tribe was especially good at cultivation- perhaps explaining the expansion of cultivation of corn through early settlement of KY. Corn was dried, ground and used for fried corn pones, corn puddings, and a tamale style corn bread from the chickasaw called bananaha -- steamed in fresh corn husks. The whole kerneals after drying were soaked in water mixed with pounded ash- making a lye solution. When the kernals soaked long enough that they burst their skins- they were peeled and boiled, or fried. This was the first hominy- and ground became corn grits.

Making Hominy with Ashes: Use dried white corn- remove it from the cob, rinse it to remove all the string etc, then comine a quart of rotted ashes from hickory or oak, but no cedar, with 6 cups of dried corn kernals and 1 gallon of water, cook together stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, until the outside of the kernals have softened enough to slip off. Rinse in several changes of water- outside is best. How do you Ferment ashes? sift your ash- place in a porcelein bowl, dampen with water and let stand about a week. In the old days, folks used an ash hopper for their lye. Once the corn is rinsed and peeled it is ready for boiling and eating.

Gathered and hunted foods: Wild onion Ramps and otherwise, Eggs, poke, Huckleberry, watercress, crawdads, wild green beans, black berries, venison, rabbit, bear, turkey, wild fowl like quail, dove, acorns, walnuts, hickory nuts, mushrooms, honey,

Native Americans in our area especially loved hickory nuts and walnuts and combined them with cornmeal in cakes and breads. Also found Kanuchi- hickory nut meats were pounded into a meal and pressed into balls and preserved. Periodicalls, they were dissolved in water and cooked until they had a cream like consistency, used in baking and sweetend for a drink.

Often the roots of the bamboo plant were chopped and pounded, then rinsed and dried into a flour. the flour was used to thicken water, made a sort of jelly or porrage that was sweetened with honey and drunk. Sometimes used to make a fritter.

Native Americans in our area hunted and gathered but they also farmed: watermelon, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, grapes

The work of Chef Sean Sherman, Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge Reservation, to launch the first all Indigenous Native American restaurant in MN, which just completed one of the most successful kickstarter campaigns in history: "unmodernist cuisine" that includes chokecherry, amaranth, rabbit, bergamot, milkweed pods, cedar, juniper, wild sage, and so much more. See the slide show with NYT article, posted on fb page

Foods of Day of the Dead (All Saints' Day), And Pumpkin Fritters: Podcast HWC-2016-11-1

Chef Ouita and Rona described foods of Festival Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, or All Saints and All Souls Days around the world—well, at least in Mexico, Guatemala and the Philippines. Ouita reveals her (stolen) recipe for pumpkin fritters, a food she has made famous through the region.

Our shared, unedited notes from the program's show plan:

Foods Of Day of the Dead

Pan de Muerto- Sweet bread sprinkled with sesame seeds of surgar, shapes on top represent bones.

Sugar Skulls


Mole Negro

Calabaze en Dulce- Slow cooked pumpkin with sugar and cinnamon

From Guatemala: Mollette: think French Bread, but use a small sweet roll, available in many Mexican Bakerys, hollow out the midel and fill with raisins and custard. Soak in egg batter and pan fry. Soak in a rum syrup

Marigold Tortillas- Marigolds are edible and the flower is made into garlands for All souls Day and Day of the Dead to decorate Home altars along with the sugar Skulls and the Pan de Muerto

Fiambre: A Guatemalan Celebration Salad for Day of the Dead-- all kinds of vegetables: Asparagus, beets, carrots, cauliflower, brussle sprouts, green beans, baby corn, hearts of palm, baby onions, red beans, white beans, chick peas, fava beans. black and green olives, radish, capers, lettuce with all kinds of meats: chicken, Red, yellow and Black chorizo, other hard sausages, mortadella, tounge, ham, salami, even hot dogs, cheese, boiled eggs, parmesan queso fresco in a vinaigrette made with parsely, bay, thyme oregano, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, cicken broth, nutmeg....


The Philippines: It's all about sticky rice! Glutinous rice, which has many names, but often "malgkit." When made into rice cakes and delicacies, "biko." While ancestor veneration is an ancient part of Filipino culture, the modern observance is believed to have been imported from Mexico when the islands (as part of the Spanish East Indies) were governed from Mexico City as part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain.[citation needed] During the holiday (observed on the 1st day of November), Filipinos customarily visit family tombs and other graves, which they repair and clean. Entire families spend a night or two at their loved ones' tombs, passing time with card games, eating, drinking, singing and dancing—activities that would be considered improper in some cultures. Prayers such as the rosary are often said for the deceased, who are normally offered candles, flowers, food, and even liquor. Some Catholic Chinese Filipino families additionally offer joss sticks to the dead, and observe customs otherwise associated with the Hungry Ghost Festival.
Cultural celebrations in communities are particularly expressive of Filipino commitment to community. But Hundas [Undas], the local translation for this festival, is both a religious and cultural practice. In his book “Culture and Community in the Philippine Fiesta and Other Celebrations”, Florentino H. Hornedo wrote that celebrations and specialty fiesta endure in this country because “it is rooted in the communitarian and expressive instincts of human a durable venue for Filipino cultures and expressions....and is a symbol of Filipino sense of community.” Elfren Cruz, Philippine Star

Podcast 54: Dean Nancy Cox on Central Kentucky's Agricultural Economy, UK Progress, and....Kentucky Hamburger!

What if hamburgers are our helpers, just as tacos are our teachers? What if learning how to build a steady supply of Kentucky-sourced burger could point the way to building and sustaining a healthy regional food economy—one that supports farmers sufficiently and produces good food abundantly, in perpetuity? That was one intriguing point in a rich conversation this week with Nancy Cox, Ph.D., Dean of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Elmwood Stock Farm certified organic, pastured ground round burgers keep warm company with some Kentucky candy onion slices, preparing to grace a bun.

Elmwood Stock Farm certified organic, pastured ground round burgers keep warm company with some Kentucky candy onion slices, preparing to grace a bun.

During Dean Cox's conversation with Hot Water Cornbread co-hosts Chris Michel, Rona Roberts and Ouita Michel (calling in from her duty station at the Fasig Tipton sales), topics included agriculture's impact on the local economy,  beef (and those hamburgers), and the progress underway at the University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture, Food and Environment in reducing food waste, encouraging urban farming, and recruiting and training new farmers.

Dean Cox, the first woman to serve as dean of UK Ag in University history, makes us optimistic about agriculture's future in our agricultural state. Enjoy the conversation.

Podcast 53: Taco Literacy with Dr. Steven Alvarez

Dr. Steven Alvarez teaches in the University of Kentucky's WRD department: Writing, Rhetoric, & Digital Studies. He has introduced his students to cultures and issues of justice, first in a class called "Mexington," which engaged students in considering opportunities and issues connected with Lexington's growing population of Latinx people and families. For the spring 2016 semester, he taught a class called "Taco Literacy: Public Advocacy and Mexican Food in the US South." Fittingly, for a course that includes a focus on digital communication, news about the topic of the course went viral, attracting widespread attention. Here are just three examples:

We enjoyed having Steve Alvarez as our guest so much. Topics flew! Connections between rhetoric, debate and tacos and (yes that one) Nate Silver got us all talking fast. We learned, too, a bit about the recent Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium, which focused on corn. Steve attended the 2016 Symposium last week in Oxford, Mississippi. He had some responsibilities there, including introducing David Shields, who received the Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame award. He will return next year as well, when the Symposium topic is El Sur Latino.

We sleuthed together, seeking the origins of the astonishing finalist status Lexington's Tortillería Y Taquería Ramírez achieved in Nate Silver's Burrito Bracket (yes, that Nate Silver). We learned that Southern Foodways Alliance has completed an oral history with Laura Patricia Ramírez about her family's lives in central Kentucky.

Next year Steve Alvarez will begin teaching at St. John's University in Queens, New York. We regret losing this bright spirit and positive, inquiring mind from central Kentucky—but we want St. John's students to have good teachers, too!

Podcast 52: Waste Not----Compost! With Chief Seedleafer Ryan Koch

Chef Ouita gets her wish to spend an entire radio hour with Seedleaf founder Ryan Koch. As he describes the history of Seedleaf and his hope at the outset that gardening could be useful to people experiencing homelessness or mental illness, Chef Ouita jumps in to say this:

That's something that gardening and cooking have in common. A lot of times if you're feeling really stressed or isolated . . . when I'm really not on top of my game, if I take time and go in the kitchen and just cook and not worry about stuff, then everything starts to fall back into place . . . Allows you to sort the information out in your head. Gardening? Even more so. 

Ryan says he grew up in suburban California, "blissfully unaware of where our food comes from." Kentucky inspirations included Wendell Berry and Three Springs Farm co-founder David Wagner, pointed the way toward gardening's goodness.

As Seedleaf's 15 gardens face cooler weather, Chef Ouita's question about what this year's most popular garden harvest evokes an unexpected response: sweet potato vines and leaves, with some pumpkin leaves thrown in. And Chef Ouita promises a recipe for Kentucky chow-chow, a pickly relish that uses ingredients that are plentiful right now.

Ryan describes Seedleaf's history as a serious force for composting, aka "waste as a resource." Starting in 2009 with 10 restaurants willing to have their pre-consumer waste picked up and composted, Seedleaf now has 35 compost partners. Instead of sending food scraps packaged inside plastic bags to landfills, where these scraps produce methane, these same foods, once composted, can build soil health.

Composting forever, people! Be like Ryan Koch and Seedleaf.




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