There is hardly a person alive who could disagree that "Home Cookin'" is the best there is, especially the Home Cookin' you grew up with. As varied and as excellent as the restaurants are in Vermont, there is absolutely nothing that can beat what is prepared with all the love and care the cook can provide, right there in the kitchen in front of everyone sitting around the table gabbing.

At its best, it is a group effort, each person contributing toward the end result, whether it be helping with the prep work, the actual cooking, setting the table or serving the food.

The specialness of home cooking is exemplified by the six-year-old who was asked to offer the blessing before a meal:

"Dear God", she said, "Thanks for the best food in the whole world!"

If you're new to Vermont, there will be some raised eyebrows. One potential coming to mind is "Sugar On Snow", the centerpiece of many a springtime event. For some reason, the idea of hot new maple syrup drizzled over fresh snow (or crushed ice, if the weather isn't cooperative), served with sides of pickles and doughnuts is not a concept the virgin Flatlander easily comprehends.

This is not intended to be a "Regional Foods Only" Cookbook, rather one by Vermonters (or, in sincere sympathy to folks "living away", those known to have originated in Vermont). What we're looking for is what you would serve if we came to dinner (breakfast, lunch) at your house, assuming you made enough.


A great way to experience home cooking in Vermont is the community meal. Usually for the benefit of this or that, the buffet version was once commonly known as a "Dime-a-Dip Supper": ten cents a scoop for whatever you put on your plate. Inflation has long since retired this wonderfully simple alliterative description, but the events themselves continue, and are a bargain even at three, four or five times the price. You get so much more than a meal.

Make the time to go. Watch for bulletins posted in public places and hand-lettered signs at the side of the road as you drive past churches, Town Halls and schools (the further off the beaten path, the better). Sit at a long table and eat with a bunch of strangers (the woman across from you made the casserole you're enjoying so much). You'll sample some excellent food and there will be fewer strangers when you're done. You will have tasted the true flavor of Vermont.




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May 06, 2016