Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 71

Carolyn Carter of Rockford General Store in Dobson,
North Carolina, presents a dish of sonker not long out
of the oven.

their families, too. Johnson and Reynolds went to a class for small-business
owners, scraped their money together,
and opened the restaurant, first on
busy Highway 89. It has since moved to
downtown Mount Airy.
"If you were to come to my house,
you could find just about everything that
we've got on our menu," Johnson tells us.
"Stew beef, meatloaf, country-style steak.
I'm a simple Southern cook." Sonker fits
her philosophy and her schedule perfectly. "I don't have to spend half a day making a cake or a pie," she says. Sonker is on
the menu at the Down Home Restaurant
every day.
Sonker is always served warm. "That's
when it shines," Johnson adds. Some
cooks prepare what is called a dip to accompany the sonker. It is usually made
of milk or half-and-half, sweetened with
sugar and flavored with vanilla extract
and served warm. The sonker bakers we
talked to never thicken theirs. In some
kitchens, cornstarch and even eggs are
occasionally used as thickeners, but most
sonker dips are not that involved. Gussy-

ing would run contrary to the dessert's
simple legacy.
"It's a poor person's dessert," Johnson asserts. "If you lived in Mount
Airy, you grew up eating sonker. Maybe
not the elite city folks, but we country
folks sure did."
Sonker ingredients and procedures
may be simple, but the lineage is profound and far-reaching. Long before the
advent of wheat flour, Native Americans
combined cornmeal "doughs" with berries. Sonker, too, is clearly influenced by
the pie-making traditions of the British
Isles. And New World sweet potatoes
connected African American cooks in
North Carolina back to the yams of their
African homeland.
Three continents converge to bring
bowls of warm, milk-soaked sweet potato sonker to North Carolina's tables. It's
a sugary symbol of Southern ingenuity
in Surry County.
Fred and Jill Sauceman study and celebrate the foodways of Appalachia and the
South from their home base in Johnson City,
Tennessee. ī†

THE FOLK SCHOOL
CHANGES YOU.

Engaging hands and hearts since 1925. Come enjoy making crafts and
good friends on 300 natural, scenic acres in western North Carolina.

JOHN C. CAMPBELL FOLK SCHOOL
folkschool.org
BRASSTOWN

1-800-FOLK-SCH
NORTH CAROLINA

September/October 2017 71


http://www.folkschool.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017

Features
Romance, Reunions and Family Fun for Summe
Mountain Summer: A Photo Essay
When Asheville Took over the 1970sā€™ Paper Dress Fad
Bateaux along the James River
On the Appalachian Trail, the Easy Way
BBQ!
Departments
Letters / Worth a Click
Contributors
From the Editor
Mill Creek Stories
Creature Feature
Mountain Report
The Good Walk
Country Roads
Singing in the Garden
Festivals & Events
Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Letters / Worth a Click
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Contributors
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Mill Creek Stories
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 18
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - The Good Walk
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Romance, Reunions and Family Fun for Summe
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Mountain Summer: A Photo Essay
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - When Asheville Took over the 1970sā€™ Paper Dress Fad
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Bateaux along the James River
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - On the Appalachian Trail, the Easy Way
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - BBQ!
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Singing in the Garden
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 68
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 69
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 70
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 71
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 72
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 73
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 74
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Cover4
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