Feral Pigs & Yellow Squash: A Tale Woven in a New World Kitchen

Soon  summer will again bless the Virginia mountains. Once the tall oaks leaf out, that is. And I’m already thinking of my old garden, Mary Randolph’s cookbook, and Hernando de Soto’s feral pigs. All ingredients, more or less, in my dealings with one of the three American culinary sisters: corn, beans, and squash. A tale woven from the … More Feral Pigs & Yellow Squash: A Tale Woven in a New World Kitchen

Introducing Sarah Rutledge, a Cookbook Author You’re Going to Get to Know Very Well!

I’d like to introduce you a most interesting woman, Sarah Rutledge. Call her Miss Sally, as did her kin and her friends. She wrote a cookbook, The Carolina Housewife, published in 1847, which tells a most remarkable story. Unlike Mary Randolph’s The Virginia Housewife (1824), which tended to focus more on the victuals cooked and … More Introducing Sarah Rutledge, a Cookbook Author You’re Going to Get to Know Very Well!

Biscuits or Scones: British Origins of an American Favorite!

Nope. I can just see your neurons pointing fingers, your eyes sending signals to your brain, with a little interior voice saying, “Oh, yes, those are biscuits, just like my grandma used to make.” But don’t be mistaken when you look at that photo. Nope. Those are scones. Which I baked the other day from a … More Biscuits or Scones: British Origins of an American Favorite!

Happy Christmas to All!

At Christmastime, my kitchen becomes a place where past and present merge.  Through food, I honor my ancestors – the known, the unknown, and the never-to-be knowns, all the people whose DNA runs through my veins and shapes my nose and determines my character. They hailed from Dorset, Devon, Somerset, Cheshire, Lincoln, London, Kent … … More Happy Christmas to All!

Pumping Sunshine: Susie H. Baxter’s Rural North Florida Childhood

Memory, fickle memory. To recall the long-ago past becomes a journey into a place where truth flits behind trees or ducks into closets, an exhausting game of hide-and-seek where no player easily becomes “It.” Do you remember going to the Saturday afternoon movies when you were a kid? How you got so engrossed in the … More Pumping Sunshine: Susie H. Baxter’s Rural North Florida Childhood

Muses: Cross Creek and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Although I’d read her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Yearling (1938), in high school, I came to admire Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’s work more via the great unifier – food. I bought a paperback copy of Cross Creek Cookery nearly forty years after Charles Scribner’s Sons first published it. Now the spine on my cheap copy splits … More Muses: Cross Creek and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

9 Years of Writing about History … A Celebration!

Nine years ago, I decided to poke a toe into the world of food blogging. I settled on the name, “Gherkins & Tomatoes,” based on a painting by Luis Meléndez, a tribute to the period of history known as “The Age of Exploration.” Faced with a blank screen demanding something, anything, the first words that … More 9 Years of Writing about History … A Celebration!