Taproots of Tennessee

Historic Sites and Timeless Recipes

  • Author(s): Patterson, Lynne Drysdale
  • Series:
  • Imprint: University of Tennessee Press
  • Publication Date: 2019-06-15
  • Status: Active
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What was served at President James K. Polk’s White House dinners? What foods graced the table of John Sevier, Tennessee’s First Governor? In Taproots of Tennessee, Lynne Drysdale Patterson answers these questions and more, exploring nearly two centuries of Tennessee foodways. Readers will discover that Tennessee taste encompasses the exquisite, such as President Polk’s French-inspired Croquettes Poulet with Bechamel Sauce and General James Winchester’s spoils-of-the-hunt Roast Goode with Wild Rice and Wild Fox Grape Stuffing, to simpler fair, including Dr. Humphrey Howell Bate’s fried pies and Alex Haley’s boyhood menu of sweet tea and Southern staples.

Patterson takes readers on a historical and culinary tour of the Tennessee Historical Commission’s seventeen state historic sites with a collection of period foods from each site and menus with updated recipes for the twenty-first century food enthusiast. Patterson’s site histories provide readers with a journey through the accounts of Tennessee’s early settlers, their homesteads, cookery, schoolhouses, stage coach stops, and religious life. Her site recipes range from historic offerings, such as peaches from General Daniel Smith’s Rock Castle State Historic Site orchard fashioned into a delectable peach pound cake-potentially shared with neighbors Andrew and Rachel Donelson Jackson-to more modern representations of historic foodways, such as Scottish-influenced Scotch Barley Soup and Scotch Egg likely eaten by Sam Houston.

From homes of Tennessee’s first families to stagecoach stops in the 1830s, from Civil War command posts to rural schoolhouses, foodies and academics alike will delight in this compendium of Southern recipes, served with a generous helping of history.

LYNNE DRYSDALE PATTERSON is a Christian singer/songwriter, whose songs have been recorded on Grammy and Dove Award-winning records by Ricky Skaggs, Greater Vision, and more. She has also appeared on local and national television programs as cookbook author and guest chef. She lives in Nashville.