Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Foxfire and Moonshine

Just finished re-reading the first book of the Foxfire series last night, and once again I was transported back to a simpler time.

If you are unfamiliar with the Foxfire series – you are really missing out.

In the late 1960s, Eliot Wigginton and his students created the magazine Foxfire in an effort to record and preserve the traditional folk culture of the Southern Appalachians.

F1Setting out to capture pure Appalachian Americana, most of which was originally passed down orally, would be a daunting task no matter what – but to be taken on by high school students and transcribed directly how people spoke is a great accomplishment.

Now totaling 12 volumes (and several side books) – The whole series is a great read – covering forgotten subjects such as making apple butter, banjos, basket weaving, beekeeping, butter churning, corn shucking, dulcimers, faith healing, Appalachian folk magic, fiddle making, American ginseng cultivation, long rifle and flintlock making, hide tanning, hog dressing, hunting tales, log cabin building,midwives, old-time burial customs, planting "by the signs", preserving foods, sassafras tea, snake handling and lore, soap making, spinning, square dancing, wagon making, weaving, wild food gathering, witches, and wood carving.

Yes, I know – quite the list of subject matter, but that is only scratching the surface. 

Of course, this wouldn’t be S&B without some type of alcohol tie-in, and in this case…..It’s MOONSHINE.

Book 1 spends a good 30 pages (with pictures, diagrams and recipes) on making Moonshine the old fashioned way.  They speak to bookleggers, police officers and locals on the various ways to produce, hide and run White Lightning.  They tell stories of when things went well, and when they went bad. 

A quick, fun and interesting read – this is a must for any Booze historians out there…..as this was how it was.

I highly recommend this book (and the entire series) and honestly feel I could run ‘shine based off the instructions.  If Hugh Farnham would have been a few years later….this series would have been in his collection.

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