Cider Beans, Wild Greens, and Dandelion Jelly

by Charles G. Thompson
Print Email

cider-beans-cover.jpgAs I made my way through Cider Beans, Wild Greens, and Dandelion Jelly I was reminded of my paternal grandmother and the food I knew she cooked.  Southern Appalachia and the people who live there are in kind to where my father came from, to the food and customs.  Distant eastern cousins I’d venture to say. I found this book comforting in many ways.  It is not a book of high cuisine; in fact I think I can correctly say it’s all about low cuisine and that’s a good thing. Author, Joan E. Aller, a transplant to southern Appalachia fell in love with the place once she was there. Wanting to preserve a lifestyle that she saw quickly changing she set about collecting the best recipes southern Appalachia had to offer by traveling around the area and gathering up recipes, stories and histories from the area’s inns, hotels, bed and breakfasts, restaurants, taverns and cafes.

The book is a lovely compendium of the simple yet hearty and heartwarming food of the region.  Full of beautiful color photography and a written history of the region, this is a book to pick up and read often. 

ciderinside.jpgDishes like ‘High Country Breakfast Casserole’ served at The Buffalo Tavern Bed and Breakfast to ‘Appalachian Cider Beans’ (a personal favorite) come with an explanation, a story, before the recipe begins.  To wit cider beans are traditionally served at the local gas station which become de facto social centers.  Locals gather at the closest gas station, eat, and catch up on area news.

The recipes I tested all worked just fine; they were straight-forward and easy to make.  A few of my favorite dishes were the ‘Pork Chops Southern-Style,’ ‘Corn Pone, Tennessee-Style,’ ‘Grilled Okra with Pine Nuts’ and the ‘Appalachian Cider Beans.’  A fun chapter in the book is ‘Beverages’ where recipes for ‘Southern Sweet Tea,’ ‘Mammy Williams’s Dandelion Wine’ and ‘Southern Milk Punch’ (vanilla ice cream and bourbon!) can be found.  The final chapter is ‘Country Store’ and has recipes for pickles, relishes, jellies and jams.  A whole lot of good southern cooking is delightfully packed into the pages of Cider Beans, Wild Greens, and Dandelion Jelly. If you are looking for some good southern comfort food grab this book and start cooking.  You won’t be disappointed.


Charles G. Thompson is a Los Angeles-based freelance food writer, whose reviews and stories can be found at his blog 100 Miles, an exploration of local sustainibility.

Add comment

Security code

Restaurant News

Via Alloro
Los Angeles
by Annie Stein

FrontofGrillWhen relatives come for the holidays in the words of the Eagles, it can be “heaven or it can be hell”. In our case it was delicious!

My favorite Aunt and Uncle escaped the blistering cold of NYC...

France via Palm Beach at Pistache
by Nancy Ellison

pistacheoutside.jpgThere used to be wonderful French bistros in my neighborhood in New York City, but one by one they are disappearing, leaving me drowning in pasta sauce and nearly Moules Mariniere deprived! But,...

Mexican Regional Cuisine in Los Angeles
Los Angeles
by Joshua Heller

carnitas-elmichoacano.jpgLos Angeles has the best Mexican food in the world.

An established foodie might suggest this claim be true, because of Los Angeles’ high end Mexican cuisine. Places like Casa in downtown or...

Going South - Fast
by Michael Tucker

lunch-view-300x224.jpgThere are few more beautiful places in the world than the Amalfi Coast. Ancient villages vie with lemon groves for the prime real estate on the cliffs – with views that take you over the rooftops,...