Sunday, October 11, 2009

Who's Cookin in Bath County?

This week I visited the kitchen of Patsy Craig Clarke, an Owingsville resident who has lived in Bath County her entire life.

“I love to be in my kitchen”, Clarke said. “I am as country as corn and when I am feeling stressed out by everyday life, I head right to my kitchen.”

With her Granny Craig’s farm near her childhood home in Slate Valley, Clarke had ample opportunity to learn how to tend to chickens, gather eggs and how to raise a garden.

“My granny Craig taught me a lot about cooking”, Clarke said. “I also learned quite a bit from four years of Home Economics under the guidance of Mrs. Betty Ruth Conley and Mrs. Ruby Riddle at Bath County High School.” “But it was at my grannies side that I grew to love everything about country cooking and home canning”.

One of Clarke’s earliest memoires of farm life was when her granny taught her how the fried chicken on the table came to be.

“I must have been around five years old when my granny took my little sister Carol and me out to the brood house to catch some chickens”, Clarke said. “I remember she taught us to grab the young chicks by their legs and we tied them with fodder twine. Then granny would hang the squawking birds on the clothes line where she would chop off their heads; then we dipped them in a cast iron pot of boiling before we plucked the feathers off.”

Fried chicken at the breakfast table is one of Clarke’s fond memories.

“Well, since granny raised a lot of chickens, we ate fried chicken for breakfast many a mornings”, Clarke said. “Granny would also stir up some homemade biscuits and gravy.”

When asked is she missed life down on farm, Clarke said, “In some ways I do, but farming is a lot of hard work, that I don’t miss. But I do miss having a bigger garden space.”

The following is one of Patsy Clarke’s favorite family recipes.

Homemade Apple Pie

“I like to use homegrown apples such as Granny Smith or Red Rome. October is the month for apple harvest....fall apples I should say. June apples are also good eating apples for cold salads and such.”


Patsy used Red Rome apples from her neighbor Mr. Earl Snedegar for her pie.

6-8 Tart apples

2-Heaping TBS. Cinnamon

1-tsp. ground nutmeg

2-cups sugar

1-stick softened butter

Wash, peel and slice apples. Mix apples with spices until thoroughly blended and pour into pie crust.

Cont. at bottom of page

Add top crust; cut 4 1 inch slits for steam to escape in top crust, flute side; brush with butter then sprinkle with granulated sugar.Bake in 350 degree oven 1 to ½ hours. (Oven tempts. May vary)


1-cup all purpose flour

Pinch of salt

2-Tbs.very cold water (may vary on water) ¼ -Cup Crisco

Cut shortening into flour and salt mixture until crumbs are coarse and granular.

Add cold water; mix quickly and evenly through the flour until the dough just hold together. Roll thinly on to lightly floured cutting board. Do not over kneed.

Roll dough about one-eighth inch thickness. Place in pie pan; allowing ½ inch crust to extend over edge.

Repeat steps for top crust.

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