We’re proud to announce the 6th installment in our Whiskey Dinner series with the Big Jones Bourbon Society. We welcome Bill Welter, Founder of Journeyman Distillery in Three Oaks, Michigan, producers and purveyors of fine whiskey and other distilled spirits. They’re a fairly young upstart distillery, focusing on organic production which we’re always into supporting, and a few of their spirits are already on offer at Big Jones. Some of their work, such as their Bilberry Gin, are particularly unique and their whiskeys are some of the best we’ve tasted from a new distillery.
You’ll have a chance to sample three whiskeys, a gin, and a vodka in addition to a menu I’m creating once again around the traditions of Appalachia, because for me personally there’s so much history to uncover as the roots of this great regional American cuisine remain largely undiscovered. Bit by bit, we’ll do our best to dust off the history of Appalachian cooking and tell those stories hidden in mountain hollers and coves, and hopefully make them fresh enough to live for another generation.
This dinner, titled High Lonesome: Journeyman Spirits, Bluegrass, and the Cooking of Appalachia ca. 1930 draws upon research from a handful of books, beginning with the abundant stories of old timers in The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery, Ferne Shelton’s Southern Appalachian Mountain Cookbook, and naturally Edna Lewis’ The Taste of Country Cooking, though the last of these books describes the cooking of the Virginia Piedmont, its Upcountry roots are close enough to be considered strongly related.
Our reconstruction efforts take is to the time around 1930, right about the genesis of another great Appalachian contribution to American culture – Bluegrass music, from which Mark will draw upon our considerable collection to provide a soundtrack to the evening. The time period is also interesting because in many ways it was the most lonesome time in Appalachian history – the extraction industries that flooded the region after the Civil War had taken what they wanted, save for the coal mines that would continue to loot the mountains, and left Appalachians poorer than they found them, indeed poorer then they were before or would be again, the TVA and CCC soon bringing jobs and development to the mountains, though for many the struggle for a fair shot at economic opportunity remains a reality even today.
Pertinent to our efforts to bring these flavors to you are a few things – most families by this time had a stove in their kitchen, though most were working with wood or coal, so open-hearth cooking was no longer on its way out, it was pretty much over, and by this time a fancy product call yeast powder was widely available and in most every kitchen. Yeast powder of course refers to baking powder, a late 19th-century invention that forever changed the meaning of the word biscuit.
There’s much exotica in this dinner as far as contemporary urban American palates go, so please join us as dinner will begin with a discussion of the roots and lore of the various comestibles we will enjoy, and throughout dinner Mr. Welter will tell the story of his spirits, including why they are called Journeyman.
Reservations are available by calling us at 773-275-5725
Please join us for a special evening of good eats and wonderful spirits.
High Lonesome: Journeyman Spirits, and the Cooking of Appalachia ca. 1930
March 6, 2013 * Reception 6:00 dinner 7:00 pm
14-month country ham with angel flake biscuit and redeye gravy
Bread Service: Home-baked wild yeast rye bread with cultured Kilgus cream butter and homemade quince honey
Henry Moore corn hominy soup with Desiree potatoes, hog maws, and turnip greens, plus relishes: sliced cabbage, onion, and heirloom radishes with house cider vinegar
Pigeon pie with turnips, pearl onions, and peppery sawmill gravy
Warm wild persimmon cake with sorghum molasses ice cream and hickory nut brittle
$50 per person includes tax and gratuity