Benita McCoy Lyons is a descendant of the Hatfield-McCoy feud of American folklore. The Hatfields and McCoys, who now live in peace in the Tug River valley on the Kentucky-West Virginia border, came together in front of TV cameras and officially ended their feud in the 1970’s. Benita states, “My great-great Grandfather was the first person killed in the feud and his son shot the last shot with a Winchester rifle.” That same rifle is now one of Benita’s family heirlooms.
While the Hatfield-McCoy feud is famous, Benita says she would rather feed a Hatfield than shoot one. She is committed to spreading the rich culinary traditions of her native Appalachia.
Benita’s cook book title, Scratch Cooking refers to a hands-on approach to making meals from good elemental homegrown ingredients – not the sort of cooking that uses packaged foods. Most of Benita’s recipes have been handed down from her McCoy ancestors with namesake recipes such as Florene’s Fresh Apple Cake, Aunt Loretta’s Corn Pudding, and Idy Mae’s Sour Dough Bread. Benita’s interest in flavorful traditional and regional foods has given her a collector’s skill and her cook book offers a delightful array of recipes to choose from when planning a meal.
Works by Benita McCoy Lyons can be found regional booksellers and at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, Berea, KY.