Liz McCormick Published

Coal Country Keeps Holiday Traditions Alive And A Visit To Lost Creek Farm


This week on Inside Appalachia, we talk with James Beard-nominated West Virginia chefs Mike Costello and Amy Dawson, who serve up special dishes with stories behind them.

And, we’ll visit an old-fashioned toy shop whose future was uncertain after its owners died, but has a new chance at life because of a twist of fate.

We’ll also be sharing a few memories of Christmas past, which may or may not resemble yours.

In This Episode:

Apple Butter And Communion Wafers At Lost Creek Farm

Mike Costello and Amy Dawson are the husband-and-wife duo behind Lost Creek Farm. The couple hosts farm-to-table suppers and were recently semi-finalists for the James Beard Award. They’ve entertained classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the late Anthony Bourdain. Mike and Amy serve dishes rooted in Appalachia’s rich food traditions.

Along with the meal, they share 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 brought us this story.

Old-Time Toys In The 21st Century At Mountain Craft Shop Company

In a follow-up to our 2019 story about Mountain Craft Shop Company, a West Virginia toy maker that specializes in Appalachian folk toys, we checked back in with the company.

The previous owners, Steve and Ellie Conlon, have since passed away, leaving the future of the business in question, but after a surprising twist, the next chapter of the Mountain Craft Shop Co. is starting to take shape.

Folkways Reporter Zack Harold has the story.

Christmas Cookies For Fasting Before The Feast

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 a story about a Greek-Appalachian cookie recipe.

Season’s greetings, y’all.


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.