I love barn quilts and as we traveled to our son’s house recently, I saw several of them along the country roads we favor when traveling. We tend to drive the state and US highways when we travel. It is less busy and gives the trip a much more leisurely feeling. Yes, it takes us longer, but that is okay. We are retired and enjoy our time on the road. I also think you can come so much closer to the real America when you stay off the interstate.
So, anyway, back to the barn quilts. They appear to be quite popular in southern Indiana, in Ohio, and in Pennsylvania. Barn quilts have enjoyed a rebirth in popularity over the last decade, but the decorating of barns has been done for over 300 years. Originally the barn decorations were folk art motifs. The introduction of paint made them easier to produce and even more popular.
Painting a decoration on a barn, a barn quilt, was originally introduced in this country by German-speaking Europeans, the so-called Pennsylvania Dutch, who brought the tradition with them when they immigrated to America. By putting the painted quilt block on the side of the barn, the immigrants celebrated a tradition from the old country, as well as brightening the landscape with bright colors and bold designs. Many of the designs had special meaning to the immigrants and helped them adjust to their new homes.
In 1989, Donna Sue Groves and her mother purchased some property which included an old tobacco barn. Donna Sue decided she would like to paint a barn quilt on the side of the barn, both to improve its appearance and to honor her mother’s Appalachian heritage. Instead of just her barn, however, she worked with her neighbors in Adams County, Ohio to create a trail of barn quilts throughout the county. When completed, in 2001, Adams County had twenty quilt blocks on twenty barns. This became the first barn quilt trail in the country. Today, many quilt trails exist around the country, brightening the countryside and the spirits of many travelers.
Comforting Chicken Pot Pie
There are few things that say comfort food as well as a good chicken pot pie made with real ingredients. This recipe for chicken pot pie, adapted from a cookbook I found along the way entitled Southern Casseroles: Comforting Pot-Lucky Dishes, is really good. It gives you that good feeling you get when you know that everything in your meal is real food, no artificial anything. It was written by Denise Gee, and published in 2013, by Chronicle Books. The cookbook includes recipes for making several sauces that can be substituted for those “”cream of_________” soups you can find in a can. One of the sauce recipes was the inspiration for the sauce I used in my pie.
For the Pie:
- 1-12 oz. bag of frozen mixed vegetables
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups of diced, cooked chicken
- homemade cream of chicken sauce (recipe follows)
- 1 tsp. Italian herb seasoning
Cook the frozen vegetables for half the time stated on the package. Drain well. Combine the chicken, vegetables, homemade cream of chicken sauce, and seasoning. Place in a deep dish pie plate, and set aside while you prepare the biscuits.
Homemade Cream of Chicken Sauce
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- Dash of nutmeg
Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a medium saucepan. Add the flour and whisk vigorously for about two minutes. You should notice that the mixture is beginning to bubble. Add the half-and-half and the chicken stock slowly, continuing to whisk until it begins to boil. Then, turn the heat to low and continue to whisk until it is a nice, thick sauce. If you go too far and the sauce gets too thick, as mine sometimes does, just add a little more chicken stock. Season with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Baking the Pie
Prepare your favorite biscuit recipe. You can make either roll or drop biscuits. Place the biscuits on top of the chicken and vegetable mixture. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
I hope you will enjoy this comfort food from our southern heritage, and that you will look into the idea of making your own real food, like the “cream of _______ soup” substitutes I found reading my brand new cookbook. Enjoy!