Cooking Classes



Apple Stack Cake from my neighbour, Ersie.  This is a traditional Appalachian cake.  She made it just for me!

Apple Stack Cakes were an Appalachian wedding cake.  Wedding cakes were expensive so friends of the bride would each bring one layer.  The brides family would make the dried apple filling and they would put it together for the wedding.  The taller the cake, the more popular the girl.

Well, this is my last day!  I am anxious to get home to Canada but I will miss my new friends here in Tennessee.  I have some 'saved' blog items that will come on in the next few days, but unless I find a restaurant worth sharing or an interesting roadside site, you won't hear from me for awhile due to the drive home.

It has been a journey of learning a new culture.  Not only am in a different country, but I am in a very distinct culture within that country.  I look back and laugh at the misunderstandings I have had due to the accent and vocabulary. 

The latest experience with not understanding what was being said to me was the evening I went to an Italian restaurant here in Maryville.  The waitress asked if I would like garlic nuts.  By now I know I cannot trust anything I hear but, what the hay, sure I'll have some garlic nuts.  Finally, a second person asked if I would like garlic nuts.  Sure!  I'm sure you know the results - I was served garlic knots.  I think it was pizza dough made into knots and slathered in butter and garlic.

I have been introduced to 'shoepay corn' which of course, was shoepeg corn (of which I never heard of before), fried okra and collards.   I was at a B&B and there was a 'pahsef' in my bathroom for storage.  Did you guess it?  It was a pie safe - the olden cupboard for storing pies.

I am still not a sweet tea addict.  I really would like to know how to make it but they can't seem to pass it on to me.  The recipe is, well, in their bones.  How can they explain it to me?

Barbecue is not grilling.  Biscuits don't tower high.  Ham is served for Christmas.  The trinity is not always holy.  And gravy isn't always brown.

The Food Channel is dominated by Paula 'butter' Dean, Emeril 'essence' Legasse and The Neely's.

I have been introduced to Hummingbird Cake, stack cake, fried green tomatoes, a kazillion types of bacon and the best smoked hams in the world.

My pantry now includes sorghum, Chesapeake Bay seasoning, White Lily flour, vidalia onion relish, chow chow, pure cane sugar, white and yellow grits, Hatch chiles, Tony Cachere's cajun seasoning, Zatarains Shrimp and Crab boil, Stubbs BBQ Sauce, Slap Ya Momma Cajun seasoning, sourwood honey, and file (pronounced FELA).

I have been to church suppers, Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners, fine dining restaurants, southern buffets and dives.

Bottom line?

I'll miss this place.

This is me with Miss Ruth.  She is 93 years old and still lives alone.  Her son drove down from Atlanta to tour us around Gatlinburg, Cades Cove and Bald River Falls.  Isn't she sweet!


  1. Safe trip home, Sarah! I'm glad you had such a wonderful experience in East Tennessee!

  2. See you when you arrive back in Canada.Safe travels.


  3. Glad you enjoyed my culture. :) Hope you have a safe trip home.

    As for sweet tea, all I can tell you is that you don't add the sugar as an afterthought; it's an integral part of the recipe. You add it WHILE the tea is steeping - when it's still hot. That's the only way for the sugar to really dissolve completely. And you add a LOT of sugar - my mom would add a cup and a half, or more, to a regular-sized pitcher of tea.

  4. This post almost made me tear up. I feel like you're leaving us even though you're not haha. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself in TN. Have a safe trip back to Canada. I cannot wait to see you post on here again.

  5. Oh my, what a wonderful time you had... the story of the stack cake is so beautiful... one forgets how a layer of cake could be a big sacrifice... beautiful post... I wish you could stop by NYC on your way to Canada for a chocolate and to tell more stories!

  6. Have a safe trip! Tennessee will miss you! Be sure and take plenty of White Lilly flour home with you!

  7. Thank you, everyone! I wish I was travelling via NYC, too! Maybe next time! I had a lot of rain today but made it just past Memphis. I did stop for some BBQ so will post about that later.

  8. All the memories! What a wonderful experience.

    Have a safe trip back! Hope you experience some wonderful road-side food!

  9. I used to live in Knoxville, TN when I taught at U.T. And now my daughter lives there with her hubbie. Good eats up there! (But really, really good eats down here in SC) Hope you visit again! Roz P.S. Love Hummingbird Cake and I've got to try these apple stack cakes! YUM YUM!

  10. I just stumbled across your blog -- what a great entry! I'm an East TN native (Racin' the way it outta be) but now live and work in Vienna, Austria. Your post captured wonderfully all the things I love and miss most about home. What I would give for hummingbird cake and sweet tea in Austria! Thanks for portraying the area's best parts :)


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