The Natchez Trace: A Journey into the Past (and the Present)

Whatever happened, it happened in extraordinary times, in a season of dreams, and in Natchez, it was the bitterest winter of them all. ~ Eudora Welty, “First Love” Hernando de Soto and Meriwether Lewis and Aaron Burr trudged its red dirt paths, knew its mysteries and its misfortunes, canebrakes and swamps coupled with a river … More The Natchez Trace: A Journey into the Past (and the Present)

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

The Seminoles, Eli Lilly, and the Ancient Saw Palmetto of Florida

Florida’s vegetation reminds me of a willful, obstinate child. You know, the one who seems to be everywhere all at once and defies  all the rules, crossing the line on limits, chocolate smeared across her face, filched from a secret and forbidden stash. Wild and ungovernable, in other words. And saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) is one of the wildest … More The Seminoles, Eli Lilly, and the Ancient Saw Palmetto of Florida