Back to Homepage of Horace Kephart: Revealing an Enigma

Online Exhibit: Cooking and Food Preparation

Pots and pans hanging from Cabin Wall.

Pots and pans hanging from cabin wall.

Camp mess kit.

Making sorghum.

Breaking Sorghum.

Gritter diagram.

Hidden moonshine mill.

Meat Grinder.

Water Wheel.

Bee Gum.

Yerba Mate Gourd and Bombilla.

Camp cooking ring.

All varieties of cooking and food preparation particularly interested Kephart. This interest manifested itself through his writings. When observing life in Southern Appalachia, he often commented or noted food techniques of the people. He commented on gritted corn, making kraut, on the preferences of food such as the insistence of "well-cooked" meat. In addition, Our Southern Highlanders reflects the basic needs of people.

When discussing camping, Kephart was interested in ways to make camping a more enjoyable experience. He emphasized foods that were light-weight, practical for the camper, and ideally gourmet or at the least palatable. He wrote the book Camp Cookery, which was incorporated into the first volume of the 1916 revised edition of Camping and Woodcraft. As an expert consultant for outdoor magazines, his advice was sought on methods and techniques. In several letters, he expressed a desire to learn more about new methods, such as dehydration, that might prove useful to campers.

Kephart's personal research journals and album further reflect his fascination of the subject. Overall, Kephart's observations provide details on every aspect of food processing and comments about all types of foods and foodways.

Kephart's Kitchens

Many artifacts related to Kephart's cooking demonstrate his use of simple and somewhat impermanent cooking facilities such as camps and small cabins.

Sorghum Molasses

Processing sorghum into molasses syrup provided sweetener for foods and an opportunity to meet with neighbors.

Milling Corn

While living in the Smokies, Kephart recorded many different ways to mill corn for human consumption ranging from hand methods to more complex machinery.


The sport of bee hunting captivated Kephart. Gathering and cultivating honey appears as a topic in many of his publications.

International Flavors

Besides his interest in Appalachian foodways and standard camp fare, Kephart sought new food items from unexpected places to satisfy the palate of hungry camping enthusiasts.

Camp Cookery

Kephart particularly excelled in his knowledge of camp cookery. His publications include a book devoted to the subject. He also served as an expert on camp cookery for Adventure magazine.

Original spelling and syntax retained in all quotations within this exhibit.


Kephart Cooking.


Reflector Oven.

Boiling Sorghum.

Gritting Corn.

Mill iced over in winter.

Bee-keeping notes.


Tub Mill.

Wooden utensils.