Oral Histories and Foodways
I conducted a number of interviews with native southerners in doing research for my book Hog and Hominy. The interviews provided a window into local foodways throughout different U. S. southern counties. Lamenta D. [Watkins] Crouch agreed to an interview for the book. She was born in 1947 in Greenbay, Virginia, in Prince Edward County, about ninety miles from Richmond. During her childhood she spent many Sundays eating at other people’s homes as the daughter of a father who served as a local pastor and a pastor at several churches out of town. For dessert southerners in Virginia served Lamenta Crouch and her family pound cake, chess pie, and “very rarely apple pie.” I had never heard of chess pie before the interview. There are many theories of where the name comes from (English for cheese or custard type pies or a southern pie chess where folks stored pies) but know one really knows. Please share your comments, recipes, and stories about chess pie below.