The scene could not have been more classic. A cock was scratching in the dirt, an open fire was burning fifteen feet from the front door, and an old man was sitting on a steel chair in the shade whittling.

Such was the tableau at Peace’s Grocery in Siler, Kentucky on a recent visit. After a meal of chili buns and Grippos potato chips, we had a moment to chat with Pat Hill, the lady who had prepared our food.

Ms. Hill was real busy, her 4 burner range was groaning under the weight of several big stock and soup kettles though lunch was still a full two hours away. Like thousands of cooks across Kentucky, Hill was hard at work getting the menu for the day knocked out for what promised to be a hell of a rush. As folks are wont to do in Kentucky when strangers meet, we all discussed our various lineages and neighbors til we stood on common ground. As long as there are at least a couple names that can be bandied about as shared marques, the conversation can continue to flow.

Hill’s been a cook her entire life and is in good stead at Peace’s, a tiny country grocery/cafe perhaps 10 miles from nowhere. The menu runs towards burgers and dogs with lunch specials that fit in the category known as country cooking.

If we had better proximity to the diner we would love to work our way through Hill’s canon, as we are prone to do when we meet a cook who shows promise.

Unfortunately, Peace’s Grocery is 1200 miles from home {Austin} so we’re only left to dream of her chicken and dumplings, meatloaf and what are certainly some of the best biscuits to come out of the Cumberland Highlands.

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