Aaaaand we’re done?

Hello all!

I think that this site is finished. There are a few things that I (Dakota) did not get to, but I do not think that anyone will notice them missing. I am working on a transcript for the audio interview, but given that it is finals week, I think that will have to wait. In general, Kinsey and I are both happy with the finished product for the site which we put a tremendous amount of ourselves into.



Past Few Days

Hello all,

so Garfield and Mondays is about the relationship Kinsey and I have with finals right now. While nothing new has gone up on site, we have spent the past few days gathering information and getting ready to put our last round of information and final touches up onto the site. The interview with Dan Rattigan was lovely and shall be up as soon as possible. We are also currently in the process of reviewing the feedback from our peers on our site. I’m going to keep this short and sweet today given the amount that we have to do, but we’re alive and working hard on the second half of the site!



I just need everyone to know that I had finished typing up the bulk of the page about the food we cooked and then closed it without saving as WordPress saves drafts as you go. Being a paranoid, stressed out college student, I decided to check and make sure the information had actually saved on the page even though I had not officially updated the public version. The answer to that question is no, no it did not. I could stay up and re-type it but I think that is going to have to wait till tomorrow when there is more chocolate and sleep in my life. Thank you for taking the time to listen to my written complaint about a mistake thoroughly my own.



P.S.S Professors, you wanted to know if there is a downside to composing in WordPress. This is it.

Peanut Butter and Preservation

One of the desserts that kept cropping up in the cookbooks Kinsey and I looked through was peanut butter cookies. For some reason, this surprised me. I don’t immediately think of the South when I think of peanut butter cookies, or anything to do with peanuts for that matter. It does make sense, given that peanuts were one of the crops promoted to present an alternative to cotton. But sense and association apparently do not always mix.

On a completely different note, preserving food is one of the pillars of southern cooking. You’re probably tired of hearing me talk about it, but it is the truth. I have to wonder whether it is this tradition of preserving food that has led to the South’s ability to preserve so much through food-tradition, culture, and family.

Tennessee Tomatoes

I think it’s fascinating that even though we can now eat many foods out of season, we still associate certain foods with their original seasons. Certain foods just “taste like”. Cinnamon and apples are distinctly fall, winter is most definitely a bowl of good chili, and tomatoes, tomatoes taste like summer. Not canned tomatoes, not cooked tomatoes, fresh-ripe-straight-off-the-vine-and-sliced tomatoes. Big, red, juicy, warm, and delicious. It’s like biting into the sun. No matter how much food I eat, no matter what other delicious things remind me of summer, there will never be anything quite like the tomatoes from my halmoni’s garden.

~Dakota White

All Around the World: Turnips

While reading through Foodways, I discovered that turnips were one of the main Southern vegetables. What tickled me about this is that while I grew up partially in the South (bounced between Baltimore, MD and Chattanooga, TN) and I ate turnips, I never thought of turnips as Southern.

Here’s why: my father’s mom, my grandmother, my halmoni, is Korean. When my grandfather, my hal-abeoji, was stationed near the DMZ in South Korea in the early 1960s as a classified courier, he met my halmoni and brought her back. My halmoni learned everything she knows about American culture from soap-operas and everything she knows about American cooking from my hal-abeoji’s mother who was a true Southern woman. I grew up on a fantastic blend of kimchi, rice and seaweed, buttermilk biscuits, and fried fish. So, when my halmoni cooked turnips, she made kimchi out of them. For those unfamiliar with the dish, kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made out of various pickled vegetables. The vegetables of choice are stuffed in jars with fish, garlic, vinegar, and more red pepper than anyone ever needs and then let to ferment. It’s glorious, and it means that turnips were always a Korean dish for me rather than a Southern one. Although, I do associate my halmoni’s cooking with Chattanooga, TN, so maybe it’s a little bit of both.

~Dakota White

Update: April 5th

Two updates in as many days?! What is this?!

In all seriousness, Kinsey and I are finally getting a little bit of traction concerning our project data which is nice. Nothing new since yesterday on the interviews, but there is finally data to work with!

This morning I finished manually copying in the eighty-eight books that make up the Southern Appalachian Community cookbook section. Of those, seventy-seven are specifically from North Carolina with the others ranging from West Virginia to Tennessee and Georgia. A full page on the website will be going up soon as to why we think that this sub-caegory of books is important and the best data for our project, but the bullet-list below should cover the major points:

  • The books in this part of the collection are primarily WNC community cookbooks which will allow us to focus on the recipes generated by communities in and around our area. This might just be a by-product of how Pam Allison collected the books, but we will not know until we can talk to Pam Allison.
  • All of the cookbooks have very common features: a local history of the area/group of people collecting the recipes, why they think this book is important, each recipe acknowledges who it was contributed by, and space in the back of the book for notes on recipes.
  • Most of the cookbooks were created with the dual purpose of sharing the community’s food with the community but also as a fundraiser project for some local group. (Quite possibly the group that put the book together in the first place).
  • The provenance contained includes notes from the person giving the book, inscriptions from the owner, or stains/general grubbiness from being used.
  • There is a surprising amount of overlap in which presses published the books.
  • A “by the community for the community” feel.

All of the above will be fully discussed and typed up soon, but for now Kinsey and I are going to focus on manipulating this data. One of the things that we definitely want to do is create a few maps comparing where the books were published and what community they were published for!

Update: April 4th

Hello all!

Kinsey and I apologize for not being at class today, but we had finally managed to get together with the archivists and grill them about the books! Today was extremely productive and it’s nice to see our project taking a more tangible shape.

So, as far as data does, we found out some good information and some bad information. The good information is that all of the books that are unpacked and available for use are organized physically on the shelves in the archives. The categories include Southern Appalachian Community, North Carolina, Southern Appalachian General, and General Southern. On the other hand, this organization is not duplicated in any form in the digital records. In order to use the data, I could either pick a subset of books and search for all of them in the catalogue and organize the downloaded data, or I could just manually enter the relevant information from the subset of books into a spreadsheet. Option one is a lot less typing for me but involves a lot of searching and double checking while option two requires more typing, but less data configuring seeing as I would have entered everything myself. I went with option two. At the end of today I managed to go through about half the books in the Southern Appalachian Community section which seemed to me the most applicable sub-category of the cookbooks for us to use.

Kinsey and I together worked out a final recipes list for things that we would like to try and make based on their relevance and occurrence within the different cookbooks. Additionally, Kinsey did a lot of work concerning the site. She started putting together the page that connects us and our personal stories about food/recipes as well as writing up the justification pages for why we chose the cookbooks that we did from the larger collection.

As for the interviews, we are still waiting to here back from both Pam Allison and the local restaurants. Measures are being taken to follow up and we are doing our best to get this information as we think the personal input is part of the backbone of this larger-scale project.

Hopefully by this weekend we will have actual information up on our website for you to peruse!

We have data!

Hey all,

Kinsey and I spent the morning in Special Collections and we are very excited about the progress we made this morning. First of all, thanks to Dr. Pauley and the archivists, I was able to move the cookbook data into Zotero. Unfortunately, there are only 551 cookbooks that I am able to work with because the rest have not been processed and made available to the public. Secondly, there is no filter on the cookbooks, so a little manual editing on which cookbooks are part of our relevant geographical region will need to happen.

Secondly, Kinsey and I began going through the available cookbooks looking for ones that we feel would give us a good representation of the set. We picked out a few books that deal with very personal food journeys, a few that are more for special occasions, one that is meant to be widespread and commercial, one that is an excellent balance between special and everyday food, and one that explains the historical and cultural context of food in the South. As we are able to work with these books more we will write up posts analyzing the information in the source and it’s purpose for our research.

In addition, we have added a few categories to our blog posts. There are these, the status updates, the source analysis posts, and a third category which will include our own stories about food and our personal thoughts/ideas about the food we are encountering.

Till next time!

Update, March 27th

Hello all, this is Dakota. Things are progressing well over here at UNCA, and this post will serve to give you a bit of a look where we are at.

The site itself will probably remain static for a few more days until we have some more concrete information to actually put up on the site. So no new pages will probably appear until the end of the week.

We have appointments set up with our archivists so that we can really get into specific books and pick out a subset to work more in detail with. Granted, a subset may only mean a handful that we do close readings of given the time constraints, but there will be a mix of looking at large data sets and smaller ones.

On the note of larger data sets, I am working on transferring the cookbook data into Zotero to be manipulated. This is taking longer than I anticipated as the online catalogue section that contains just the cookbooks is down. I am having to search for the cookbooks in the larger collection and then add them, which, while it is working, leaves a larger margin for error in terms of what is included in the data set. It is hoped that our meeting with the archivists will clear this up.

As far as interviews go, Kinsey and I are still waiting to hear back from Pam Allison. Initial introductions were made, but she has not responded to our request for a meeting. Requests for meetings with local restaurants go out tomorrow. However, despite the lack of current interviewees, Kinsey and I did draft a basic list of questions for both the restaurants and Ms. Allison. Kinsey will post those later in a blog update, and yes there is editing that needs to be done.

Finally, I wish to update everyone on my correspondence with Dr. Locklear concerning food history.  There were a few things she mentioned that were already on our list such as looking at the differences between large press cookbooks and small press cookbooks. Some of the things she mentioned that are new and we might want to consider are:

1.  The difference between “special occasion” foods and everyday foods. What types of foods make it into the cookbooks we are looking at? Are these cookbooks a viable representation of everyday food? If not, what can we deduce from the recipes that are there?

2. Janet Theophano: Eat my WordsReading Women’s Lives through the Cookbooks they Wrote (

3. Elizabeth Engelhardt et al, The Larder (

Until next time!