For those that don’t know me, I am from Coalwood, West Virginia. Now I only lived there until 11 years old, but I do take pride in being from there. 30 years of being here in Maryland just can’t seem to wash it away either. I still have the best aunts, uncles, and cousins living there. I surely have my memories of growing up in tough financial times. Not to say I don’t have the memories of good either. I threw a rock AT the stream one time to try and splash my Uncle Greg. I can’t explain it, the rock never went to the water, just straight across the stream and nailed Greg right in the eye. LOL At that age I couldn’t figure out if my grandfather was more mad about Greg’s eye or that he had to waste a good piece of meat laying it on his eye. Come to think of it, I think they had meat that night for dinner. hahaha!! My mom and dad were able to escape the coal mine crisis of the early 80’s and find work here in Maryland. To top it all off I had a sister with Sickle Cell Anemia that would later need a life saving plasma transfusion. To which we later we found out was tainted with HIV. Another story for another time, but times were hard and as such we depended on dad’s gardening skills! I was so blessed to live with an awesome family and friends and as such never realized the difference between having it tough and having it good. As far as I am concerned, I had it good.
Now as a kid, I didn’t like lots of foods that I have come accustomed to liking these days. Ha, that’s all of us right? I used to spit the Lima beans out in my hand and try to feed to the dog. The damn dog wouldn’t even eat those things. I would smash them up under the table after mom and dad would leave me at the table to “finish my dinner”. I am still not a Lima bean fan, but if you invite me over I won’t smash them up under your dinner table either. Now if I figure out your dog is a vegetarian, well, no promises there. So I find it fun to listen and read online posts of old-time dishes and cooking procedures. They are always attached to great stories. Ever notice that? Food and good times go together. We even mourn the loss of our loved ones with food. There is nothing more attached to the very fiber of our past than food. Okay okay maybe that nasty dirty stuffed teddy bear you have hidden in your closet, but I am not blogging about that.
So one food I could never wrap my head around that all the “older” folk liked when I was young(er) was chow chow. I hated it. Which by the way, my theory on why kids never liked anything as kid, our taste buds actually WORKED. So now I am little older and taste buds are a little dead. Let’s go down memory lane and make some chow chow. Now, depending on who you ask, the recipes are all over the place. Which is the signature line of frankenspam.com. So it seems fair to me anything goes with making chow chow. As long as you keep with using veggies that are associated with late season harvest. If you like it sweet, you’re probably from Pennsylvania and the hotter the chow chow the further south you go. It also seems Pennsylvania to West Virginia recipes had a more wet/thinner base where as the further south you go the thicker the base. I like the idea of a thicker base, but I am going to try my best to keep it West Virginian. So I am making two batches, one with smoked jalapenos and a few extra spices and the other what I’d call “normal”. haha.
Here’s the recipe(s).