Appalachian Cooking

This post was originally published on December 6, 2018.

photo of a home-cooked pie

Photo by Anita Austvika

Food is an important part of any culture. It is prepared, celebrated, and loved. Cooking in Appalachia is important to the regional identity. It is passed down through generations and recorded in cookbooks. Appalachian  State University’s W.L. Eury’s Appalachian Collection contains a comprehensive collection of over 2,000 Appalachian cookbooks that span from the late 19th century to the present. The assemblages of recipes are from church groups, towns, home demonstration clubs, civic clubs, schools, PTAs, and expert chefs. Also, these books contain histories of cooking and food traditions of the region.

Traditional Appalachian cooking is characterized by the resources available in the region. For a long time, transportation in the mountains was not easy and winters in the region could be harsh, so the people had to be resourceful with their food. Typically, the people of the region would farm and forage for their food sources. Common staples in Appalachian cooking included pork, freshwater fish, game, corn, apples, wild nuts, beans and grains.

Looking through the many cookbooks within the Appalachian Collection, you can find a vast number of recipes that people of the region would prepare and serve. Below is a look into a selection of traditional recipes found in this cookbook collection.


For Breakfast:

Brains and Eggs from Papa Loved Hot Biscuits and Cornbread (1997)

recipe for Brains and Eggs


Breakfast Bacon from First District Federation Cookbook (1935)

recipe for Breakfast Bacon


Mount Airy Beaten Biscuits from Bluegrass Cookbook (1904)

recipe for Beaten Biscuits


For Lunch:

Smothered Ham Sandwiches from First District Federation Cookbook (1935)

recipe for Smothered Ham Sandwiches


Baked Ham Slices from Recipes from the Shenandoah Valley (1968)

recipe for Baked Ham Slices


Sardine and Crackers from Marion Cookbook (1921)

recipe for Sardine Sandwiches


For Dinner:

Game Bird or Game Venison from Appalachian Heritage Cookbook (1994)

Game bird and game venison recipes


Meat Pie from Old Mountain Recipes and Others (1937)

recipe for Meat Pie


Pigs' Feet from Knoxville Cookbook (1901)

recipe for Pigs' Feet


For Dessert:

Apple Pie from The Guild Cookbook (1923)

 recipe for Apple Pie


Simple Chocolate Cake from First District Federation Cookbook (1935)

recipe for Simple Chocolate Cake


Coconut Cake from Papa Loved Hot Biscuits and Cornbread (1997)

recipe for Coconut Cake


To Drink:

Sweet Cider from Knoxville Cookbook (1901)

recipe for Sweet Cider


Coffee from Bluegrass Cookbook (1904)

recipe for Coffee


Family Moonshine from Appalachian State University Staff Council Cookbook (2001)

recipe for Appalachian Collection's Special Recipe


To read the full “Special Recipe” and many others, visit the Special Collections Research Center at Belk Library and Information Commons.


Cookbooks and Locations:

Papa loved hot biscuits and cornbread    APPCOLL PS 3545 .0337 Z8245 1997

Appalachian State University Staff Council Cookbook 2001    APPCOLL TX 715 .A637 2001

The Guild Cookbook    APP COLL CLOSED TX 715. G92 1923

First District Federation Cookbook    APPCOLL CLOSED TX 715 .F527 1935

Recipes from the Shenandoah Valley    APPCOLL CLOSED TX 715 .R393

Marion Cookbook    APPCOLL CLOSED TX 715 .M318 1921

Appalachian Heritage Cookbook    APPCOLL TX 715 A625 1994

Old Mountain Recipes and Others    APPCOLL CLOSED TX 715 .0435 1937

Knoxville Cookbook    APPCOLL CLOSED TX 715 .K715 1901

Bluegrass Cookbook    APPCOLL CLOSED TX 715 .F8 1904

To learn more, please contact or 828–262–4041.


--Blog post contributed by former student assistant Liv Winnicki

Published: Dec 2, 2020 3:50pm