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Sharing Stories About the Black Patch

The kitchen was my playground when I was a child. I wanted nothing more than to stand next to my Granny Smith or Mamaw Chilcutt at their stove, helping to stir the pot, and add the seasoning. Rarely did we measure ingredients. Our senses gauged the proper amount by touching, watching and tasting.Bobbie Smith Bryant with cake

Throughout the years their kitchens served as the central heartbeat of their homes. All good things emanated from there.

In its simplest form it is known as cooking. In its spiritual form, it is love.

I am incredibly honored to carry on this legacy that transcends the generations. Planning, preparing and serving a traditional holiday meal is no small feat. For those of us who learned from the best, we know it is a well-honed craft, improved upon over time with patience, perseverance and practice.

My effort to prepare and serve a Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter feast for our family is a tribute to those who taught me by their example, with shared recipes and holiday customs.

I often write about my family's ten generation tobacco farm in the Black Patch of Western Kentucky, the traditions that were fostered there, and the ways in which times have changed. My most recent book, Farming in the Black Patch, tells the story of farming, from our past to what we know it to be today.

The culture, traditions, and related stories about life on our family farm are part of each of my books, which will be on display at the Hickman County Arts, Crafts and Book Fair, on November 21st. I hope they will make you smile and bring back a memory or two.

It is a privilege to tell about the familiar, yet often forgotten, people, skills, trades and ways of life that many of us Kentuckians share.


Western Kentucky native, Bobbie Smith Bryant is the author of Farming in the Black Patch, Passions of the Black Patch: Cooking and Quilting in Western Kentucky, and Forty Acres and a Red Belly Ford, and a presenter for the Kentucky Humanities Council. For more information visit www.bobbiesmithbryant.com.

Editor's Note: The Hickman County Arts, Crafts & Book Fair on November 21st will be held at the Hickman County Elementary Gym in Clinton KY. The Fair runs from 8:30-2:30. Lunch is available for $5.

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