Exhibit: Cooking and Food Preparation: Milling
Mills demonstrate the intensity of Kephart's interest and observations.
His personal album includes several views of Wilson & Cook's mill
(right) at different times of the year. A photograph of this mill also
appears in Our Southern Highlanders where on page 31 Kephart observes
that, "Scattered about the settlement were seven tiny tub-mills for
grinding corn, some of them mere open sheds with a capacity of about a
bushel a day."
Corn was also milled by hand using a "gritter" demonstrated
in the above photograph. In Journal 2, page 453 Kephart recorded a quote
by his friend, Bob Barnett, with the claim, "'Be damned if I can't
take a good gritter and run that mill to a cold trail."
Curiously, while Kephart's research notes for Our Southern Highlanders
indicate that "Gritted Bread" is "not so palatable,"
he praises it as "delectable" in Camping and Woodcraft.
From Volume 1 of Camping and Woodcraft, page 354:
"'Gritted Bread' - When green corn has just passed from the tucke,
or soft milky stage, and has become too hard for boiling, but is still
too soft for grinding into meal, make a "gritter," as follows:
Take a piece of tin about 7x14 inches (unsolder a lard pail by heating,
and flatten the sides); punch holes through it, close together, with a
large nail; bend the sheet into a half cylinder, rough side out, like
a horseradish grater; nail the edges to a board somewhat longer and wider
than the tin. Then, holding the ear of corn pointing lengthwise from you,
grate it into a vessel held between the knees. The meal thus formed will
need no water, but can be mixed in its own milk. Salt it, and bake quickly.
The flavor of "gritted bread" is a blend of hot pone and roasting
ears - delectable! Hard corn can be grated by first soaking the ears over
his early writings and album, Kephart
refers to moonshine stills as "mills."
This includes a series of articles
entitled "The Mountain Moonshiner"
published in Forest and Stream
in 1906. Much of this material and
additional accounts were added to
the second edition of Our Southern
The following account is from Our Southern Highlanders, pages
132-133 of this second edition.
"After the blockaders have established their still, the next
thing is to make arrangements with some miller who will jeopardize himself
by grinding the sprouted corn; for be it known that corn which has been
forced to sprout is a prime essential in the making of moonshine whiskey,
and that the unlicensed grinding of such corn is an offense against the
law of the United States no less than its distillation. Now, to any one
living in a well-settled country, where there is, perhaps, only one mill
to every hundred farms, and it is visited daily by men from all over the
township, the finding of an accessory in the person of a miller would
seem a most hopeless project. But when you travel in our southern mountains,
one of the first things that will strike you is that about every fourth
or fifth farmer has a tiny tub-mill of his own. Tiny is indeed the word,
for there are few of these mills that can grind more than a bushel or
two of corn a day; some have a capacity of only half a bushel in ten hours
of steady grinding. Red grains of corn being harder than white ones, it
is a humorous saying in the mountains that "a red grain in the gryste
[grist] will stop the mill." The appurtenances of such a mill, even
to the very buhr-stones themselves, are fashioned on the spot. How primitive
such a meal-grinder may be is shown by the fact that a neighbor of mine
recently offered a new mill, complete, for sale at six dollars. A few
nails, and a country-made iron rynd and spindle, were the only things
in it that he had not made himself, from the raw materials."