Hi! It’s me, Andrew (Kelly’s husband). I’ve been waiting for Eating Appalachia to be published since last fall when I designed the book’s cover. Kelly may have mentioned that I design book covers (and their insides) for a living. Usually the publisher sends me a short description of the book to get a sense of how the cover should look, but it this case they sent me the entire manuscript. I was really into it! This book is what Paleo is all about: a cuisine based on real food that comes from local small farms (or even wild-caught).*
Eating Appalachia is not a cookbook (although it does include 25 recipes). It’s an enlightening story of Nordahl’s Appalachian travels: meeting farmers and foodies; and discovering their unique foods and food culture. This region is home to a wealth of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and animals (and dishes) that are almost unknown elsewhere.
Have you tasted the sunny flavor of a pawpaw" Probably not, unless you’re a local. These fruits are too fragile to be transported to the rest of the country! How about a hickory nut" They have the opposite problem than the pawpaw?they’re tough. Their shells are so tough that companies don’t bother selling them commercially. Hickory nuts are treat exclusive to the Appalachian locals who put in the time to hammer them open. We also learn about meals made from butternuts, the now-vanished American chestnut (see Kelly’s Chestnut flour biscuit recipe), native persimmons, ramps, sassafras, spicebush berries, sumac berries, elk, and even squirrel!
The publisher and author gave us permission to share this recipe from the book. Aside from cooking a mammoth, what could be more Paleo than elk stew" I think it would also be great with bison (their range historically extended into the Appalachian region).
I made the stew with elk meatballs because I couldn’t find elk steak. (Photo by Kelly)
Chianti-Braised Elk Stew