Even George Washington loved to contra dance.
There’s an ancient African proverb: “If you can talk, you can sing. If you can walk, you can dance.” And the Appalachian settlers took that advice to heart. They danced to celebrate the spring planting and the fall harvest, as well as weddings, births, the midwinter feast… the list goes on. Whenever musicians gathered to play, people danced to the music.
And how to appreciate modern-day appliances
Ask your Appalachian-born-and-bred grandparents: “Before you had electricity, how did you cook your food?”
Their answer undoubtedly will be “Why, on the cook stove, of course.”
A wood cook stove is a stove built out of iron that could house a fire. This stove had many uses, from heating up a chilly house on an Appalachian Mountain morning to warming up our hands after a day of hunting and playing. But its primary use was cooking.
Ahhh, bread. It’s the comfort food of the gods, considered the most delightful carbs you can eat. It pairs well with wine or water and even better with butter. Packed with nutrition, it’s been a staple in Appalachian homes since before it was ever sliced for sandwiches. Breaking bread is synonymous with sharing a meal… with family, friends, even strangers.
Seldom practiced today, it was an annual rite.
Back in the heritage days of yore, when family homesteaders worked the land in small, tight-knit communities, they held community hog-killing days. These Appalachian events were held between Thanksgiving and Christmas when the weather turned cold. Hog killing provided meat for the winter and served to bring the community together once more before snow made travel difficult, even to the next holler.