"The Chef Restoring Appalachia's World-Class Food Culture" Discussion Thread

Welcome to the discussion thread for the story, The Chef Restoring Appalachia’s World-Class Food Culture. You can share your comments and thoughts about the story in the conversation below.

As soon as I saw the title to this article, I got my hopes up. I had a friend about 15 years ago who was born in Kentucky. He loved green beans and corn, but he talked wistfully about this special green bean that he loved. He was in his 50s and would have eaten them as a child. I thought that just maybe you would mention Vern’s greasy grits! We live in Dayton Ohio now, no greasy grits to be found, so I hope you can restore them and everyone can find out how wonderful they are.

Very frustrating that this article does not mention where his restaurant is located… all we’ve got to go on is “20 miles from Castlewood, VA” (in a supposed atlas, no less).

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Hi! Just wanted to note a couple of things: first, you write about “shucking green beans”. One does not shuck green beans, as there is no outer shell to be discarded. Corn, peas and pole beans are shucked, but not green beans thank you.
Second, I agree with the reader requesting specific directions.
Other than that, thanks for a really great story! I hope these endeavours are a huge success. And with any luck, maybe I can make it there one day.

what a nice article and so well written! ty and kudos

It’s great to bring back heritage fruits vegetables nuts animals and restaurants to use these resources BUT you ALSO need to bring back INDUSTRY such as cooperages saddle and harness making blacksmithing/farrier boat/canoe building ect and not just rely on people going on vacation and eating in farm to table restaurants(and most families are still going to go to Denny’s and McDonald’s)I wish you WELL but it’s not just about gardens and restaurants

Ummm, yeah. Writing 101- WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY. I guess 4 out of 5 ain’t bad.

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I came to the forum to say the exact same thing. Did this long article really not mention where the restaurant is or is current hometown!? Really!? I’ve searched and searched and can find no mention of Taste + Travis Milton other than this article. A reverse image search on the exterior brings up nothing as well.

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Hey everyone, thanks a bunch for the comments and pointing this out. Milton’s restaurant, Hickory, is not yet open. His brews-and-bistro-style pub, Taste, is open, although in a bit of a soft opening stage. At least for now, its offerings have hints of Appalachian cuisine, similar to his former eatery Comfort, but not the full-blown cuisine that Milton is promising with Hickory. Here is the current website for the whole operation, as well as their Facebook page, if you would like to learn more about the location or visiting. Hopes this helps, and as always thank you all!!

A remarkable account of adaptability and creativity. But were there really bison in Appalachia?

I am all for this–kudos to Travis, who has worked long and hard to bring attention to Appalachian foodways and the delicious variety of wonderful heirloom and heritage foods that have long been part of our tradition. Anyone who tastes his food or goes to an event where he speaks understands the value and depth of his commitment to our mountain region. But could I ask a favor please, as a person who has spent her career trying–like Travis–to dispel negative stereotypes? Could everyone please stop using the words “lost” and “vanishing” and “disappearing” when referring to Appalachian mountain culture? My 20-plus years of study, fieldwork, and action in this field have proven to me that our culture, including our foodways, is very much still here and is absolutely vibrant, if changing. Come see it for yourself! We’re not lost or vanishing. We have an awful lot to teach the rest of the world about our amazing, rich culture with all of its nuance and complexity. Travis’s work at Nicewonder Farm, near Abingdon, is certainly proof of that! Thanks for considering this subtle but important point–and for showcasing one of the major points of light in our region.

I’ve traveled the world but never thought to go to Appalachia until I found out that my ancestors settled there in the early 1700s. Now I have visited three times and can’t wait to go back again. I will search for Milton’s restaurant in southwestern Virginia and will hopefully write some travel guides to this fascinating part of America.

When on a cruise, I experienced Leg of Lamb. It was Delicious. I looked for it in the grocery store when I returned home, only to find if you could find it at all, it was expensive. I have read that the Appalachia Mountain area was once a producer of lamb. A possible solution to less coal - More lamb. Reintroduce lamb to the United States. Put it on more menus. Not the little chicken thigh kind found in stores: the big juicy turkey leg kind they had on the ship. I have had lamb at Outback Restaurant since but theirs was small and dry. No wonder they took it off the menu. More Lamb everybody!