Jeffrey "LONER" Gray
AT Class of 2012
(EXCERTS AND EXTRA MATERIAL FROM THE BOOK PAINTED BLAZES.)
Brown Mountain Creek in Virginia, is a beautiful, wooded valley, former home to a community of freed slaves turned sharecroppers from the time of the Civil War to the early 1900’s. As we hiked a mile or so along the creek, we saw old stone walls, foundations and cemetery grave markers from the past. Weathered interpretive signs told the story of the area’s rich history, and former resident, Elie Taft Hughes, provided many of the reflections. He was born here in a log cabin, where he lived with his mother, father and 8 brothers and sisters. One story that I will never forget was about Taft’s mother making “ash cakes” for the children… After baking bread from scratch in the fireplace stove, she would sweep the hearth clean and put handmade cornmeal cakes onto the warm rocks, covering them with ashes and hot coals. Taft described these treats as the shape and size of a terrapin (a small turtle). After a while, she would sweep the ash off with a hand broom made from a corn stalk, and wash them. He remembered, “They were much sweeter than if you baked them in a stove - much sweeter. I wished I had one now. It would be impossible to match that flavor.
Montebello, Virginia. Dutch Haus Bed & Breakfast was a beautiful log cabin where owners Lois & Earl were over the top friendly with no “Budget Inn” - tourist trap tricks. For decoration, a funny sign with skulls and crossbones read: “Many have eaten here, few have died.” No worries; our lunch was wonderful: Mac & cheese, candy carrots, orange slices, brown sugar apples and to drink - cold lemonade & iced tea mixed together (it’s a southern thing). The absolute best was dessert: peanut butter pie with whipped cream and chocolate chips on top! According to nutritional facts for a recipe I found on a cooking website, each slice is worth a whopping 745 calories and 16g of protein. That’s what I call hiker fuel!
Ingredients: (Makes 8 servings.)
1 (9inch) prepared graham cracker crust
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ confectioners’ sugar
(16 ounce) container frozen whipped topping thawed
15 miniature chocolate covered peanut butter cups, unwrapped
Mix the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and peanut butter together until smooth. Fold in 1/2 of the whipped topping. Spoon the mixture into the graham cracker crust.
Bake: 10 min.
Place the remaining whipped topping over the top of the peanut butter mixture and garnish with the peanut butter cups. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.
1 piece: 745 calories, 51g fat (22g saturated fat), 86mg cholesterol, 604mg sodium, 63g carbohydrate (42g sugars, 3g fiber), 16g protein.