Sidney Saylor Farr was a woman who knew Appalachia well. Born in Stoney Fork in southeastern Kentucky, she lived much of her life close to the mountains, among people whose roots are deep in the soil and who pass on to their children a love for the land, a strong sense of belonging and of place, and an equally strong connection with traditional foods. The women of Stoney Fork rarely had cash to spend, so they depended upon the free products of nature—their cookery used every nutritious, edible thing they could scour from the gardens and hillsides. With instructions for making moonshine whiskey, for fixing baked groundhog with sweet potatoes, for making turnip kraut, cracklin’ bread, egg pie, apple stackcake, and other traditional dishes, More Than Moonshine is more than a cookbook. It evokes a rural way of life in the mid-twentieth century that centered on kitchens at home, the warmth from the wood-burning stove, the smell of coffee, and the family gathered around the table to eat, talk, and share each other’s company.
Sidney Saylor Farr makes a major contribution to the lore of Appalachia. She captures some of the rich culture and, thereby, preserves on the printed page a world destined to disappear with the passing of time. Both her recipes and recollections make for fine fare.
Sidney Saylor Farr (1932–2011)was a special collections librarian at Berea College in Kentucky, and also the editor of Appalachian Heritage from 1985 to 1999. Her writing appeared in Mountain Life & Work, Appalachian Journal, Organic Gardening, and other publications.