Category Archives: Big Stone Gap

What’s ‘Intilt’?

I was away from home so a day late as usual with the Wednesday guest post –

Now that we’ve both been vaccinated, as have many friends and neighbors, we can begin to look back on how we’ve handled the last year. A big part was in cooking with ingredients that Wendy had sourced very imaginatively – potatoes, onions, mushrooms that in some cases literally ‘fell off a truck’.

I enjoy cooking and am always interested in new recipes – for some reason I get regular e-mails from the New York Times Cooking page and I love reading their linked examples. But it is always just a vicarious pleasure. I never make any of them because they always involve an ingredient or a utensil I don’t have!

So I start from the opposite direction.

I do a Google search on the ingredients we have and the methods I’m familiar with. So I have recently searched for ‘potatoes, onions, carrots, peas and mushrooms’ and then choose something that uses a process I’m comfortable with. I discovered Lebanese seven spice mixture and love adding a teaspoonful to almost everything I make.

I had already searched for specialized foods I remembered from Scotland such as sausage rolls and steak bridies and they turned out to be easy to make.

Meanwhile Wendy has become a dab hand at canning as an alternative to freezing and that has opened up lots of possibilities too. So we have lots of jars of homemade spaghetti sauce, curry sauce, veggie soup and even ‘ready to go’ fries (Chips for my Scottish friends) which are par-boiled in the canning process and just need to go in our air-fryer with a squirt of oil. I often reference a story I think I first heard from my good friend from Aberdeen, Colin Stuart whenever she is making something. Queen Victoria and Albert sailed down Loch Ness and he visited the galley. He asked the chef what was in the soup. “There’s tatties intilt and carrots intilt and ingins intilt”. Well, my good man “tell me what’s ‘intilt’?’. “There’s tatties intilt and carrots intilt and ingins intilt” and so it went on round and round.

Finally, as the growing season has arrived, and after extending our vegetable garden, we will be hoping for our own carrots, onions, corn, tomatoes, peppers etc. through the coming year.

Some dishes we’ve become fond of – Dall with beans; Stovies; Bridies; Sausage Rolls; Vegetable Soup; Salmon Patties (Fish Cakes); various curries; Crock Pot Stews – – –

One thing I haven’t found over here is tripe, which my Mum used to make and I would love to have a go at!

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Filed under between books, Big Stone Gap, crafting, folklore and ethnography, humor, Life reflections, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

Jack’s Frost

Jack was late with the Monday Book, so he needed to make it on time with his Wednesday guest post – –

People imagine that, coming from Scotland, I should be used to snowy winters. But I come from the lowlands and spent most of my life near the Forth estuary, so snow was a relative rarity. I do remember the winter of 1947, when I was five years old, being unusually wintry with channels dug down the middle of our street so we could get to the corner shop for essentials. There was another bad one in the mid-1970s when I lived outside the town and even the main roads were blocked.

I expected, on moving here to the Southern area of the US that I’d never see snow again – how wrong I was!

When we lived in Big Stone Gap we experienced a good few snowy winters, including one when our four wheel drive truck was needed to deliver supplies and food to neighbors and friends.

Now that we’ve moved a couple of hours further north I expected to be in a colder area, but the last three weeks have been exceptional and there’s no sign of a let-up. It isn’t just about being further north because we’re still in SW Virginia, but it may have something to do with the topography and the polar vortex shifting south this year.

Whatever the reason, the combination of Covid quarantine and deep snow has confined me to the house. Not only has the temperature been consistently below freezing, but we’ve had a series of snow storms and some windy days. So even when it didn’t actually snow the wind created drifting of the stuff already there!

You might expect that all of this plus the shorter daylight hours would drive me to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), but it hasn’t. There’s plenty to do: I work on my radio shows and write blog posts and magazine articles, plus enjoy online music sessions.

I have even plotted our garden. We inherited a sizeable plot with some perennials, but we also inherited black walnut trees, so we have to be careful what we plant where. Last year Wendy planned it and I wound up doing most of the hoeing for some reason. This year I am management and she is labor; vengeance is mine!

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Filed under between books, Big Stone Gap, humor, Life reflections, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch