Bill Lynch, Mason Adams, Kelley Libby, Zander Aloi, Margaret McLeod Leef, Nicole Musgrave, Zack Harold, Connie Bailey Kitts Published

A 2022 Holiday Encore, Inside Appalachia

Two adults, a man and a woman, lean over a table preparing food.
Mike Costello and Amy Dawson top communion wafer crackers with homemade apple butter for a dinner event. The couple serves story-rich, heritage-inspired cuisine at their dinner events, including these two recipes.
Lost Creek Farm Archive

This week, we usher in the season of lights with our holiday show from 2022.

James Beard-nominated West Virginia chefs Mike Costello and Amy Dawson serve up special dishes with stories behind them. We visit an old-fashioned toy shop whose future was uncertain after its owners died – but there’s a twist. 

We also share a few memories of Christmas past, which may or may not resemble yours. 

You’ll hear these stories and more this week, Inside Appalachia.

In This Episode:

A Trip To Lost Creek Farms

Mike Costello and Amy Dawson are the husband and wife duo behind Lost Creek Farm in Harrison County, West Virginia. The couple hosts farm-to-table suppers and were recently semi-finalists for the James Beard Award.

Mike and Amy serve dishes rooted in Appalachia’s rich food traditions, along with stories behind the recipes. 

To open their dinners, Mike and Amy typically kick things off with an appetizer mashing up two food traditions from their childhoods.

Folkways Reporter Margaret Leef brings us the story.

A Toy Story, Too

An elderly man sits in a chair and smiles for the camera. Around him are old-fashioned, wooden toys.
Steve Conlon demonstrates a traditional “limber jack” dancing toy in his workshop.

Credit: Zack Harold/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Last year, we did a follow-up to our 2019 story about Mountain Craft Shop Company, then run by Steve and Ellie Conlon, who made Appalachian folk toys.

Since that visit, Steve and Ellie died, leaving the future of the business in question. But after a twist of fate, the next chapter of the Mountain Craft Shop Co. is starting to take shape.

Folkways Reporter Zack Harold had the story.

Fasting Cookies

Recipes for the Christmas feast, like pecan pie, get handed down for generations, but what about recipes for a Christmas fast? 

At St. Mary’s Orthodox Church in Bluefield, West Virginia, parishioners spend the 40 days before Christmas abstaining from eggs, meat and dairy – but that doesn’t mean they still can’t enjoy something a little sweet. 

Folkways Reporter Connie Bailey Kitts had this story about a Greek-Appalachian cookie recipe.  

The Gingerbread Of Knott County, Kentucky

Fresh baked gingerbread usually conjures up thoughts of Christmas and maybe little frosted houses, but in southeast Kentucky, when people of a certain age hear “gingerbread,” they think of Election Day.

Folklorist and Folkways Reporter Nicole Musgrave traced the surprising history of gingerbread in Knott County, Kentucky from everyday treat, to election time tradition, to fundraising champion.


Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. Other music this week was provided by The Sycomores, Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., Jim Hendricks, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton and Bob Thompson.

Bill Lynch is our producer. Our executive producer is Eric Douglas. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens. Zander Aloi also helped produce this episode.

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Inside Appalachia is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.