Ask A Librarian

Shoofly Pie and West Virginia

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
August 8th, 2016

Blog post by Jane Metters LaBarbara, Assistant Curator, WVRHC.

I was not born in West Virginia, and as a non-native, sometimes I make mistakes.  One recent mistake was believing the internet when it told me that shoofly pie is West Virginia’s state dessert.  I thought that would be a good idea for a blog post, maybe comparing a few shoofly pie recipes and commenting on its history in relation to West Virginia.  Then, I learned that there is a wet-bottom and dry-bottom version of this pie—which was more popular in West Virginia, I wondered? So I started asking my coworkers, and learned one very important thing: almost none of the people in my department had shoofly pie before.  I resolved to make one, but I still needed to learn more about West Virginia desserts, and about shoofly pie.  Read the rest of this entry »

Food, History, and Hasty Pudding

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
December 21st, 2015

Blog post by Jane Metters LaBarbara, Assistant Curator, WVRHC.

 

I wanted to write another blog post combining two things I love, food and history, and my fellow blogger Lori recommended a recently published book that has exactly what I’ve been looking for.  Serving Up History: Savor the Flavors of Early West Virginia Cookery 1776-1860 was written by Martha and Richard Hartley, who researched part of the book here at the WVRHC.  (We are ordering the book for our collection, so check the shelves soon!)  The cookbook is a companion to their earlier book, The Frontier Table: A Treatise & Source Book on Western Virginia Foodways History 1776-1860, and contains over 100 historical recipes with modern translations.  It also has “Cook’s Notes” that contain useful tips or recipe variations, and “Historic Insights” to help modern readers understand the original recipes.  Out of all the fantastic recipes it contains, I chose to make Hasty Pudding, Lemon Pudding, and A.P.s.  Read the rest of this entry »

Orange Washington Pie

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
July 27th, 2015

Blog post by Jane Metters LaBarbara, Assistant Curator, WVRHC.

 

I was searching for a fun old recipe to test for this week’s blog post, and I stumbled on a surprising amount of food history.  To start this story, we’ll have to begin with scrapbooks.  Read the rest of this entry »

West Virginia Blackberries

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
July 21st, 2015

Blog post by Lori Hostuttler, Digital Projects and Outreach Archivist, WVRHC.

 

One of my favorite summertime activities is berry picking.  Every year beginning around July 4 there is an abundance of blackberries on the hill behind my house.  The thickets and brambles line an old well road.  For a few weeks, I spend my free time gathering the berries, then making jams, cobblers and pies.  I look forward to the season every year.  Picking blackberries brings back good memories and makes me feel like a young kid again.  Read the rest of this entry »

Lemon Gingerbread from Lucy Washington

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
March 30th, 2015

Blog post by Lori Hostuttler, Digital Projects and Outreach Archivist, WVRHC.

 

The WV & Regional History Center is truly filled with treasures – one of my favorites happens to be the Lucy Washington Cookbook, A&M 3212.  Lucy Washington’s grandfather was a nephew of President George Washington.  She lived in Jefferson County, West Virginia, where many Washington family members held land and built homes.  In 1840, Lucy married John Packett.  Their home, Locust Hill, was located near Charles Town.   Read the rest of this entry »

Recipes from the Archives

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
December 9th, 2013

The winter season has long been associated with holidays, friends, family, and food.  For this week’s blog post, we bring you four recipes from the 1800s that show us how Appalachian people from that time would have made popular holiday dishes of today:  pound cake, fruit cake, corn meal rusk (a kind of corn bread eaten for breakfast), and mince pie.

Read the rest of this entry »