Artful Eating: A Collection of Recipes from the Southern Highland Craft Guild
By: Janet Wiseman, Education Director
Published in 2009, this cookbook is full of wonderful recipes and anecdotal comments. The cookbook committee, (which consisted of David Alberts, Bill Alexander, Tom and Pat Bauman, Ruthie Cohen, Judy Dillingham, Bonnie Krause, Lynn Salley and Rita Williams), worked to make this book become a reality.
The cover of the book features handcrafted pieces from the Guild's shop on Tunnel Road, curated by Laura Spreitzer. The loaf of bread was made from a whole wheat sourdough starter from Guild artist, Derek Hennigar.
This cookbook has some old-time favorite recipes like the One of Each Soup. This classic soup recipe was created by Verdelle Gray, Guild potter and wife of the Guild's late Director, Bob Gray. A simple recipe that results in an elegant and substantial soup.
Featured in the cookbook are recipes shared by one of the Guild's most colorful characters: legendary mountain woman Hazel Whittington. When Hazel volunteered to demonstrate at the Folk Art Center, her presence was announced by the roar of her large, red Chevrolet truck. The door to the building would fly open and you'd hear her holler, "Country's come to town, youngins! ...Hazel's here!"...and just like a quick moving summer storm...she had arrived.
After fetching chairs, moving tables, and catching up with Hazel, you might be gifted with a little jar of something she'd canned, as well as a directive to get that Guild cookbook printed for she had plenty of recipes she wanted in there. Hazel always spoke about herself in third person, and always had plenty of advice: "Remember to always wear a sensible brogan shoe-- for a girl needs to be able to walk or run anywhere she wants to go." And, "Never get in the habit of cooking for 'em every day or you'll end up trapped in the kitchen... Hazel needs her own time to do what she wants."
The lights seemed to burn brighter when she was in the building and our visitors loved her...so much so, that by the time she left her demonstration table, she didn't have much to load back in the old red truck.
The Oat Scones recipe submitted by Dale Liles is another favorite that brings back memories of interesting dinner conversations.
The notes for her recipe state that the scones are "a good way to get oatmeal into those who don't like it as a cereal." (This sums up Dale's consideration for others). In the late 1990s, I dined with her and her late husband Jim. It was a night filled with lovely food, fascinating discussion, and the gracious manners of this kind couple. Dale had a degree in Entomology (the study of insects), though her knowledge and support of fiber art and craft is legendary. Her husband Jim was a professor of Zoology at UT Knoxville, but wrote one of the most important books on natural dyeing ever printed, The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing: Recipes for Modern Use.
In the spirit of Harriet, Verdelle, Hazel, Dale, and all the other people who shared their good recipes in the Guild cookbook... I present you with Harriet's Wonderful Cheesecake recipe.
WONDERFUL CHEESECAKE by Harriet Smith
Don't overcook this one! It's meant to be served fresh and creamy. My mom would be insulted if you served one of those heavy, dry things you sometimes get in restaurants!
Crust: 1-3/4 cups fine graham cracker crumbs (about 20 crackers)
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
Filling: 3 well beaten eggs
2- 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
3 cups dairy sour cream
I use more almond than vanilla. I also don't usually use a glaze. We like it just plain but in case you want one...
Glaze: 1 pint strawberries
1 cup water
1-1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
Prepare crust in springform pan. No baking. Mix all ingredients for filling except sour cream. Beat until smooth. Then stir in sour cream. Pour in crust and bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or just until set. Chill thoroughly about 4 to 6 hours. Filling will be soft.
If you are in need of a gift for yourself or for others that will enhance your cooking experience, purchase the Guild Cookbook and support the Guild's educational programs. They are available on the Guild's website and in all four shops. Happy Cooking and Happy Memories!