Brasstown is a rural community where old Appalachian foodways never died. In its small population are folks from all over the world, and mountain families like Jan’s who have been here for generations. Artists, musicians, craftspeople, designers, writers, farmers, brewers, and cooks. Interesting people, makers. They make good food. Brasstown is also the home of the John C. Campbell Folk School, a place where new people come every week to learn to make things including food.
Potluck, a meal where folks bring a dish is our usual mode of sociability in Brasstown. The fact that there is no planning of the dishes is what makes it a matter of luck as to what’s in the pot. So we are evoking the spirit of the shared meal, and at the same time, declaring that this blog may look at food from anywhere, from a Brasstown perspective. Sharing and loving each other’s food is a path to understanding and bringing people together.
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I was born in Johnson City TN, grew up in Georgia, and have lived for most of my life in Brasstown, NC.
In 1999, I created the cooking program for the John C. Campbell Folk School and served as the Resident Artist in Cooking, where I planned a curriculum of forty cooking classes a year ,taught by a diverse array of instructors, for the past twenty years.
I have been a restaurant cook, caterer, baker, cooking teacher and food adventurer—at a Mother Earth News Fair, I built a wood-fired brick oven and baked hundreds of biscuits and oatcakes to share with fair attendees.
I have also been a professional weaver, a charter graduate of the Haywood College professional craft curriculum, and am a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild.
A Morris dancer, I founded “Dame’s Rocket,” the Northwest Clog Morris team that became the first international side to win the coveted Wickham Cup in North Yorkshire.
I authored the newly published The Folk School Cookbook : A Collection of Seasonal Favorites from John C. Campbell Folk School which features over two hundred recipes.
Jan Davidson, my husband and partner, holds the record for years served (25) as director of the John C. Campbell Folk School. During that time, the school became year-round, attendance doubled, campus buildings and studios expanded, scholarships and an endowment were created. He retired from that position in March 2017 so he could play more banjo, write books, and pet the cat.
Honor graduate of UNC, he studied at Edinburgh, earned his Ph.D. from Boston University in History, Folklore and Museum Studies, received the North Carolina Award, the state’s highest honor, and an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Sewanee, the University of the South.
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