Perhaps the appeal, to us twenty- and thirty-somethings going about life like it's one long home-ec class, is that georgic chores like composting food scraps or butchering pigs are just beyond our memory's reach, but not so far beyond it that we can't imagine them. The distance makes them perfect focal points in our digitized pastoral.
When I was a senior in high school, a Chick-fil-A opened up in the dilapidated old Hardee’s building across the street from the gym. For anyone who hasn’t witnessed a Chick-fil-A grand opening, the fanfare may come as a bit of a shock—there are giveaways, midnight ice cream sundae parties, and infinite chicken nuggets on the evening preceding opening day.
“A lot of people drive by, think this place is just a ratty hole. Then they come in, they see they’ve struck gold,” says Nate Tanner, employee of Sam’s Quik Shop in Durham. Tanner stands behind the beer tap on an early Friday evening, telling me how much nicer Sam’s is since North Carolina opened up to craft beer.
There, chef contestants use the eponymous pan to re-imagine traditional ingredients and recipes into creations that evoke the spirit of New Appalachian cuisine, dishes like greens in sweet-and-sour vinegar sauce, beans in mole sauce, and custard-filled corn bread. Anne Hart, the chef/owner of Provence Market, a French restaurant in Bridgeport, West Virginia, has submitted entries like moonshine haute chocolate, ramp bisque, and (coming full circle) squirrel nachos.