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Get a taste of Appalachia with “Wild Gathered and Garden Grown: Appalachian Food and Foodways”

Mimi Calhoun
January 12, 2023
Wild Gathered & Garden Grown Story Banner
Graphic design by Riya Baker/ Ohio University Libraries

A new exhibit will be on display in Alden Library during spring semester. “Wild Gathered and Garden Grown: Appalachian Food and Foodways” showcases various University Libraries’ cookbooks that focus on and include both recipes and information on regional food. Other materials like books on Appalachian food and customs, memoirs, familial recipes from the OHIO community, photographs and cooking utensils such as bowls and spoons will also on display. 

Centering on Appalachia, the exhibit will accompany the Appalachian Studies conference, Appalachiafest, that will take place on the Athens campus March 16-19, 2023. The display will also be showcasing the collection of many old cookbooks brought in recently by Hanna Schmillen, health sciences librarian, and the connection that OHIO students, staff and faculty have with regional food. 

Sherri Saines, subject librarian for the social sciences, began looking into the idea of a food exhibit after finding many regional cookbooks and wanting to connect that to real people. In preparation for the display, she invited those in the OHIO community, especially food-related majors, to send her their regional “Appalachian” recipes.
“I’m taking ‘regional’ in a broad sense,” Saines said. “I think of the foods I never encountered before I moved here [Southeast Ohio]: fried bologna sandwiches, those chopped chicken sandwiches they sell at church lunches, ham loaf [and] buckeye candy. I’m also thinking of things my West Virginia family ate: boiled late green beans with potatoes and ham, the family Christmas cake, potato candy, that type of thing.”

It’s a known saying that the quickest way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, and thus the topic of food can be a point of connection for everyone. Saines hopes that staff, students and conference attendees will enjoy seeing local cuisine highlighted as well as their own recipes and stories in the display.

“Food is a language we all understand, and regional food has a special place in our hearts,” Saines said. “I hope people try out the recipes we share and check out the books we highlight.”

If you’d like to participate and have your local/regional or family favorite recipes added to the photo group for others to see, contact Sherri Saines at