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A Winter Hike, Homemade Wine, And The Story Behind The Marmet Slaw Dog

Yellow slaw hotdog at Chum’s hotdog stand in Marmet, W.Va.
Zack Harold/ WVPB
/
Yellow slaw hotdog at Chum’s hotdog stand in Marmet, W.Va.

For some, winter can be a difficult time -- dark and cold. For others, time outside in the winter is a powerful experience. Getting outside can also be one way to help with the stress. In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll go outside into a cold, crisp forest on a winter hike.

We’ll also learn about a group of Italian immigrants who escaped religious persecution and moved to the mountains of North Carolina. They brought cultural traditions, including winemaking, to this small pocket of Appalachia. And we’ll also delight in one town's twist on the classic West Virginia slaw dog — the “Marmet yellow slaw dog.” The dish has been around since the 1930s but isn’t widely known outside the tiny town in Kanawha County where it’s made.

In This Episode:

Herbalists In Tennessee

The forests don’t have many plants growing now, but later this summer, they’ll be bursting with life. Some of these plants are even foods you can eat — like elderberry, which supposedly has health benefits. Herbal remedies, like elderberry syrup, have experienced a renaissance in recent years, for example. Industry trackers have reported an explosion in sales and prices, but these remedies have been a path to wellness and independence in Appalachia for centuries.

Last spring, reporter Heather Duncan went to meet herbalists who are reviving these traditions in Tennessee.

Birds Of Winter

Andy Kubis, a producer for The Allegheny Front, headed out for a winter hike with Gabi Hughes, an environmental educator at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve north of Pittsburgh. The reserve is run by the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania. Their aim was to find out what there is to see and hear in the coldest months of the year.

Revival Of The Yellow Slaw Dog

Have you ever heard of the Marmet yellow slaw dog? The dish has been around since the 1930s, but isn’t widely known outside this tiny Kanawha County town. Folkways reporter Zack Harold has been digging into this story. He called up Inside Appalachia co-host Caitlin Tan to talk about this unique take on the iconic West Virginia hotdog. Click here to see the abbreviated recipe for the yellow slaw dog.

Making Wine

In the 1890s, a few dozen Italian immigrants settled in Valdese, North Carolina. They built communal bread-baking ovens, they made a special type of sausage, played bocce ball and they made wine. Rebecca Williams has the story.

 

Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. The fiddle music you heard in today’s show is from the archived field recordings at the Augusta Heritage Center, recorded in the 1990s by Gerry Milnes. Other music this week was provided by Dinosaur Burps, Dr. Turtle and Jason Shaw.

Roxy Todd is our producer. Eric Douglas is our interim executive producer. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens. Zander Aloi also helped produce this episode. You can find us on Twitter @InAppalachia.

You can also send us an email to InsideAppalachia@wvpublic.org.

Caitlin Tan is working as Inside Appalachia’s folklife reporter, as part of a Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies grant. The goal of her reporting is to help engage a new generation in Appalachian folklife and culture.
Roxy Todd joined West Virginia Public Broadcasting in 2014 and works as the producer for Inside Appalachia. She's the recipient of a National Edward R. Murrow Award for "Excellence in Video," for a story about the demands small farmers face in West Virginia. She also won a National PMJA Award For "Best Feature" for her story about the history of John Denver's song "Country Roads." You can reach her at rtodd@wvpublic.org.