About Barbara

Barbara Swell bio

I baked you a pie. Come into my cabin kitchen for a slice and a chat by the wood cookstove.

My West Virginia grandmother, Maudie, taught me to make pies and biscuits and to garden, can, and hang my laundry to dry in the fresh mountain air. Standing elbow-to-elbow at her big white enameled drainboard sided sink is where I learned how to cut a sugar cookie, what seeds to plant, how to get (and keep) a man, and that rum doesn’t count as alcohol if it’s drenching your fruit cake.

When I was 21, I moved into what would become a long succession of off-the-grid 19th century dilapidated farm houses in rural southwest VA, complete with chickens, pigs, bunnies, bees, and a donkey.  With a well bucket in one hand and a chainsaw in the other, I made myself a home-spun life. Inspired by those homesteader years, the women in my family, and my many elderly Appalachian farm women friends, I’ve spent a lifetime learning about old-timey cooking, home-making wisdom, and heirloom gardening and gathering. And that’s what I’m sharing with you … in my blog and in my cooking classes and cookbooks.

The teakettle’s whistling, let’s eat that pie!








  1. Too Much Of A Good Thing | Small Measure says:

    […] of gut-bustedness was completely, entirely, unequivocally worth it. We 3 Englishes headed to Barbara Swell‘s 10th Annual Retro Pie Contest, where the categories of pie on display were many, the […]

  2. Introducing Evergreen’s 2014 Storybank Nominees | Evergreen Environmental Education says:

    […] Barb Swell  ?  Barbara has been on the Slow Food’s Appalachian Food Storybank committee for years and is an invaluable resource for her experience and knowledge of Appalachian culture and food history.  She writes books and teaches classes out of her cabin kitchen.  To read more about Barbara, visit her blog, Log Cabin Cooking. […]

  3. Suzanne Roark says:

    Love your books! If you are still writing books, how about one on the history of the canning jar and canning? Just bought 5 more of your books for a total of 8 on my shelves. Hope to get a few more too!

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