Vegan Recipes, Omni Restaurant Reviews

Welcome to Eating Appalachia! I’m Jes, a lover of food, the outdoors, poetry, bicycles, my ex-feral cat Miss Dorian Gray, and a host of other things. Back in 2007 I found myself extremely bored at work (university work study jobs just aren’t that exciting) and discovered food blogs. The first one that really caught my eye was Susan V’s FatFree Vegan Kitchen and through her blogroll, I found hundreds of other amazing and inspiring vegan blogs.

While I wasn’t a vegan at the time, I had recently switched to a vegetarian diet and through a combination of cooking for two vegan friends and through thinking about sustainability issues (I was an Environmental Studies & English double-major), I decided, on July 7, 2007, to make the vegan commitment. From then until November 15, 2009, I led a vegan lifestyle. But, while I had eaten some meat, I didn’t “come out” about it on my blog until August 1, 2010 and, trust me, that post was one of the harder ones I had to write. For almost a year, I’d been living a 95% vegan lifestyle—rarely eating meat or dairy or any animal products—but it wasn’t the truth because I did eat animal products occasionally and I increasingly found that with the sustainable animal options in agrarian southwest Virginia, I wanted to talk about that non-vegan part of my life that was becoming ever more important.

So I fessed up. And it hurt—I received plenty of emails condemning me and my choices, my readership fell by 600%, and, overall, I felt pretty attacked. But I got over it. The question of veganism, for me, was never centered on animal rights. It was 100% sustainability focused. And, to eat animal products in Atlanta, Georgia, especially back in 2007, wasn’t sustainable (or economical) at all. Free-range, organic meats were trucked in from over 100 miles away, free-range, local eggs were non-existent. But here, in Roanoke, Virginia, my friends raise animals and make cheese from their goats or sheep on their homesteads, free-range, less-than-ten-miles-away eggs are the norm, and, for me, I ethically find an omnivorous diet to be sustainable.

Thus I created Eating Appalachia. While Cupcake Punk still applied to my recipe posts, I wanted to explore more of the region I now call home. I’m a Georgia girl at heart, but Virginia has captured my imagination. Not to mention a certain lovely fellow named G. So what will you find on this blog? You’ll find oogles of delicious, creative, sometimes healthy & sometimes not so healthy vegan recipes—I love veganizing other’s recipes, I love hunting around for the most creative and soul-satisfying vegan recipes on the internet and in cookbooks, and I love love love inspiration from fellow bloggers (I love what blogging is all about—community & sharing & relationships). You’ll also find restaurant reviews of restaurants in Roanoke, the region, and across the globe. Eating out is a big thing in my life—I love food. Period, end of statement. My restaurant reviews are not 100% vegan though—you’ll find out that I do eat foie gras and hamburgers and other ethically-fraught dishes. But I don’t make these meals a regular part of my repertoire. In fact, I eat a 95% vegan diet still—plant-based is the way that I’m the happiest and healthiest. I’m with Michael Pollan—“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

And, in case you’re wondering, all photos on this blog are taken with a 6.5 megapixel Cannon Rebel EOS Digital SLR with a 18-55 mm EFS lens. One day I’ll update the camera, but for now, she’s doing a good job. I also trek around with a Porteen Gear bag that I adore—check out the Etsy shop if you’re on the market for a camera bag.

In short, welcome to Eating Appalachia and I hope you find some inspiration in what I cook and write about, and I hope that you help me make food blogging—vegan, veg, or omni—a great community. Feel free to drop me a note at eatingappalachia [at] gmail [dot] com or to comment anywhere on the blog. I make it my goal to always get back to people when they have comments, complaints or suggestions. I simply ask that you respect me and my views in the same way that I respect you—we live in a diverse world with a milieu of beliefs and ethical structures, let’s keep our world unique!

22 Responses to “About”
  1. floatingfaster says:

    i think both eating and enjoying nature are incredibly sensory experiences that grow you in different ways. am always on the lookout for people who think that too :}

  2. Alice says:

    I’m always happy to find food blogs pursuing your philosophy. Eating well is definitely a way to enjoy and appreciate nature.

  3. Caroline says:

    Cheers for Georgians! I’m a Duluth native myself and a third year undergrad (but not in Georgia…in North Carolina). : )

    I’m delighted to have discovered your blog!

  4. David says:

    The New York Times writer was Julia Moskin. I enjoyed that article when it came out, too. It’s online at: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/24/dining/24vega.html

  5. How goes it woman.. been a while now since we’ve spoken/emailed. 🙂

    Do get back to me. I just happened to come across your blog 🙂

    The ones I remember were tara_randi and ca va sans dire on livejournal 🙂

  6. chris says:

    Hi, Jes, and welcome to Roanoke! I’ve added you to our blogroll on BlogRoanoke.com and look forward to featuring your blog in the near future. When you have a chance, please stop by and introduce yourself–we’ve just gotten started and would love to hear what you have to say.

  7. chris says:

    Welcome to Roanoke. River mentioned you were newish here. Sounds like you are finding your way around. Your blog is wonderful–the pictures, the food, ahhh. My girls and I are mostly veggie/vegan leaning, with some deviations here and there. You have done a nice job describing the balance.
    Take care, and enjoy exploring and writing.

  8. Jay Bender says:

    Hi Jes and welcome to Roanoke!

  9. Beth says:

    Greetings and salutaions to you Jes! There is a vegan meet up group here in Roanoke that has potlucks. you might enjoy checking it out. meetup.com ..enjoyed your cooking demo on the news… I’ll see you around at the co-op or farmers market.

  10. Grace says:

    I went to your demo in the main library last week and thought you ideas were great. My husband took notes for me as I couldn’t be there the whole time. My one question for you is – do you have nutritional facts and calories on any of your recipies? If not, could you please try and put them on the recipies? I am on a very strict food lifestyle change whereby I cannot eat any dairy (eggs, milk, ice cream, cheese) nor whole wheat and my calorie intake is somewhat restricted. It would be great to see the nutritional facts on the recipes so I can see the minerals, vitamins I am “eating” with some of these wonderful recipes. Thanks a million!

  11. SeanAriel says:

    I like this site. I live in Roanoke. I am vegan. I used to do Food not Bombs, back when we had one in Roanoke, & am now in a band here, Appalachian Autonomous Zone.

    Sorry I was out of town when you did the presentations at the library.

  12. brandi says:

    Hi! I just found you through BlogRoanoke, looking for local bloggers 🙂 I’m near Blacksburg! I love that picture of your kitchen.

  13. Joe Kluk says:

    great garlic scape pesto, it was delicious

  14. Joe Kluk says:

    great vegan recipes, thanks

  15. Di says:

    Welcome to Roanoke! Would enjoy following your blog but I use Blogger. How do I follow you? Did not see a follow button.

    Good luck with this new blog and I look forward to watching your new digs grow.

    The Blue Ridge Gal
    Roanoke, VA

  16. Ms EM says:

    You have a very interesting blog. And a whole lot of work here. I love your home. My husband would absolutely kill for it! (don’t worry figure of speech only) I can’t wait to dive into your writings.

  17. JO says:

    I just read your comment on Gluten Free Girl about making the blog switch from vegan to sustainable raised meats and more. Can’t believe you received crap about that. I live in Chattanooga and work in Dalton, GA so I’m close-ish and work with two vegetarians. I don’t consume a lot of meat but would love to have my own farm…if I could prevent myself from getting attached to the animals we have! Three chickens on our “urban” farm is all we have now.

    I can’t wait to read more!

  18. erik says:

    Ity sucks that you eat meat and eggs and shit, sorry i dont want to be a hater but this is fucking discusting. I grew up in the countryside in the north of sweden, im not a citykid, just want to say that killing is never ok. never. not even if its local.
    Sad that you called yourself punk once.

    Dont get upset or sad from my comment, i just want you to get reactions for ditching a compassionate lifestyle.

    I will not read your reply, im deleating your blog from my bookmarks.


  19. Laura Gomez says:

    Hi Jes — My name is Laura Gomez. My husband and I are the owners of the new PACO’S TACOS Mexican Taqueria at 1613 Williamson Rd. We are having a Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony this Friday June 24th at 11:00 am and we would like to invite you to it!! Hope to see you there!! — Laura

    PACO’S TACOS Mexican Taqueria
    1613 Williamson Rd., NE Roanoke, VA
    Friday, June 24th 11:00 am

    ***1 FREE TACO and FREE DRINK all day Friday***

  20. Mary says:

    Sad. Lame. Inconceivable from my view, but then again you were never an ethical vegan in the first place. Go watch one of Gary Yourofsky’s lectures on YouTube, and educate yourself about the conditions on factory farms and then ask yourself “who the f*** am I to be eating the bodies of sentient beings who were treated as mere objects and subjected to literally unimaginable pain and misery and robbed of their dignity and everything natural about their lives before being slaughtered in cold blood? Or to drink bodily fluids stolen from a mother who was forcibly raped and then had her baby snatched from her to be killed for veal while she was left behind powerless to do anything about it? Again and again until being sent to an early grave?” All so useless hypocrites like you can fancy yourselves “foodies.” Look at us we’re sustainable and hip! Those are some disgustingly warped priorities IMHO.

  21. jillianmckee says:


    I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could e-mail me?


  22. Gentry says:

    hi jes, i’m new to the area as well. i’ve spent about 4 years in the vegan/veg/local omni scene and i’d love to set up some pot lucks and info shares. just let me know if you’re interested or if you know anyone

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