Blue Ridge Country May/June 2021 - 63

F L AV O R S

At Oak Hill School, relocated to
Jonesborough, Tennessee in 1996, students
spend the day under the tutelage of Jean
Smith as they re-create the way things were
in 1892, including having beef jerky for
lunch.

tips make a good design. Squirt out in
3-inch strands on an ungreased cookie
sheet. Bake from 10 to 12 minutes depending on your oven and the pan you
use. Darker pans bake more quickly.

Cheese Straws
Fred: My mother, Wanda Sauceman,
acquired this recipe when she worked
for Greene Valley Developmental
Center in Greeneville, Tennessee.
She brought cheese straws to family
picnics, wedding anniversary celebrations and holiday dinners. They keep
well for several days, although these
didn't stay around long enough to
test the exact duration of the shelf life.
½ pound butter (2 sticks)
½ pound New York sharp cheddar cheese or any other
sharp cheddar (Do not use pre-shredded)
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon hot sauce
½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2 cups plain, all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Shred the cheese.
Cut butter into cubes, ½ to 1 inch in size. Place cheese
and butter into a food processor with the cutting blade
and process. Add cayenne pepper, hot sauce and salt, and
process again. One cup at a time, add flour and process
until smooth and creamy. Place cheese dough in a cookie
press or pastry bag with any decorative tip you like. Star

" Iron " Sandwiches
Fred: It was the pre-panini era. A time
long before George Foreman started
making grease-draining grills. When
I was growing up, my mother made
" iron " sandwiches. They were, in actuality, simple grilled cheese sandwiches,
made with the very same iron used on
clothes. At our house, " iron " sandwiches began around the time of Permanent
Press.
I suppose you could take a highbrow
approach, with a French baguette, artisanal cheese and garlic aioli. But Wonder Bread, singles of pasteurized prepared cheese
product and Miracle Whip work just fine. In fact,
they're a better fit for the working-class profile of
the sandwich.
Here's how we make them. First, we heat our
40-year-old G.E. iron on the " cotton " setting. Then
we coat the insides of the bread with Miracle Whip
or mayonnaise and place one piece of cheese between the slices of bread. We spread salted butter
on the top side of the sandwich, in five places, like
the pattern on a die.
Then roll out 12 inches of aluminum foil to
make a square. Fold the ends over the sandwich just until
they meet, and then roll up the other ends to make handles so you won't burn your fingers. Place the hot iron
on top of the sandwich. Listen and smell. My mother advised us to keep the iron on pretty high. On the " cotton "
setting, two minutes per side and the bread is browned,
the cheese properly melted.
Is the memory better than the sandwich? Well, when
I tested the recipe for one of my books, I hadn't eaten an
" iron " sandwich in probably 40 years. I ate three.
Fred and Jill Sauceman study and celebrate the foodways
of Appalachia and the South from their home base in Johnson
City, Tennessee. They are at work on a cookbook, to be published by Mercer University Press in Macon, Georgia.

MAY/JUNE 2021

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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2021

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