Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 63

F L AV O R S
Breakfast at Boone Street
Neal Smith learned to appreciate the flavor of trout when
he was a young boy, on Sunday fishing trips with his father and grandfather in the waters of Northeast Tennessee. He learned to make omelets as he cooked his way
across the country, in a West Virginia ski resort, a Cajun
restaurant in Ohio, and a 127-year-old crawfish joint in
Oregon.
In his kitchen today, those Tennessee memories and
that culinary experience come together as he crafts buttery omelets filled with smoked trout.
For this Stoney Creek native, that kitchen is close to
home. It's inside the Boone Street Market in Jonesborough,
where Smith prepares breakfast every Saturday morning.
Boone Street has become a culinary community center
for Tennessee's oldest town. A walk through the market is
a refresher course on the region's food history and traditions and a reminder of the tremendous seasonal variety
of food in Appalachia. The offerings there change by the
seasons. In the fall, space once occupied by Turkey Craw
Beans and Cherokee Purple Tomatoes yields to sweet potatoes and persimmons.
Boone Street Market isn't large. It doesn't need to be.
In fact, it shouldn't be. The space, once the site of a gasoline station, matches the mission perfectly. It's the very
antithesis of the mega-market, reminding its grateful patrons that small businesses matter.

ame seed bagel and the seeds are only on the
top, once you cut it in half, you've got half of
a sesame seed bagel and half of a plain bagel."

Stellar Views and Vinegar Pie
It's one of those dishes that tastes better than
it sounds. Vinegar pie. But The Clinch Mountain Lookout Restaurant, in Grainger County,
Tennessee, has been serving it for well over
half a century.
"Vinegar pie pretty much takes care of
the restaurant, and people drive hundreds of
miles to get it," says owner Krystal Scott.
In the recipe, apple cider vinegar takes the
place of lemon juice. Scott says that during
the Great Depression, lemons were expenKrystal Scott has built a
sive. And in rural, isolated areas, they were business around vinegar
scarce. So cooks did what hard times have pie.
always forced them to do. They improvised.
A vinegar bottle was almost always in the larder. A few
tablespoons cost next to nothing.
Vinegar pie belongs to a classification sometimes referred to as "desperation pies." Another is a mock apple
pie, consisting of a filling of mashed and seasoned soda
crackers and no apples whatsoever.
The late Anthony Bourdain found vinegar pies on his
travels through West Virginia. He preferred to call them
"innovation pies," because of the ingenuity that created
For This Former Policeman, Bagels are the Ticket them.
Vinegar pie likely reaches furThey arrive squeezed into Spanther back in American history
dex, fresh from the gym. They
than the Great Depression. Our
arrive toting laptops and ready
guess is that it extends at least
to get a head start on the work
as far back as the American Civil
day. Some breeze in only long
War in the 1860s. One writer
enough to get a cup of coffee
suggests that vinegar pie may
for the road. Others loaf and
have even been served during
linger for half the morning.
the Colonial period.
In a short time, Wheeler's
The view from the restauBagels in Johnson City has built
rant's parking lot is one of the
a clientele that is as varied as the
prettiest in East Tennessee.
menu. Expatriate New Yorkers
Sometimes Scott's grandchilbuy bags of Eric Wheeler's badren and their friends will sleep
gels and take them back home
under the stars on the trampoas proof that you really can find Eric Wheeler says New Yorkers are impressed with his
line in summer.
a good bagel in East Tennessee, East Tennessee bagels.
"And the sunrise never looks
a region known for its biscuits.
Wheeler's Bagels is a place where retired businesspeo- the same," she says. "It's one of the most photographed
ple gather to analyze world affairs while mothers of for- spots in East Tennessee, about 23 miles from the Kenmer Science Hill High School band members reunite and tucky line. We overlook Cherokee Lake, which is 30,300
remember. It's that kind of place, well-lit and welcoming. acres of water. People love the view. They write in our
Wheeler had been a police officer in the city of Sebas- books all the time about being closer to God and feeling
tian, Florida, for 15 years. But before that, he was a scratch like they're in Heaven."
baker, having learned the craft when he was 12 years old.
"At most bagel shops, if you get a sesame seed bagel, Fred and Jill Sauceman study and celebrate the foodways of
they only put the sesame seeds on top. I do the top and Appalachia and the South from their home base in Johnson
the bottom, because the way I look at it, if you order a ses- City, Tennessee.

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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020

Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 3
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