Cooking as folk heritage is something barely starting to dawn on the awareness of cookbook writers. Here, one hopes, is a harbinger of things to come: concrete horse sense, tactile memories, awareness of what goes into any ingredient before it ever gets to the kitchen. Most of the recipes plainly belong to the era of modern appliances and store-bought staples, but they hark back in differing degree to the wood stoves, home-raised and locally ground grains, and home-butchered meat remembered by the contributors--people of just an age to recall, say, the impact of self-rising flour on biscuit-making. Recipe directions are rock-bottom simple, definitely for the self-reliant cook with an idea of what crackling bread or green beans with pork are supposed to taste like. The lore that accompanies them is an invaluable record of real food produced by and for real people through their own skilled efforts: curing pork, cutting up turtles, parching coffee (i.e., roasting the beans in a skillet), dressing game, ""gritting"" corn, choosing the right ""signs"" to pickle sauerkraut. Nobody is inclined to romanticize former drudgery, and there are mixed views on the merits of, say, wood stoves and open-kettle canning methods. Everyone, however, agrees that a lot of flavor vanished along with the black iron pot, and that the right varieties of beans for some things seem to have died out. Cook from this wonderful work if you like (sweet potato cobbler, Brunswick stew, half-moon pies), or simply comb it for the irreplaceable insights to be found on any page.