Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Appalachian Word of the Week -- PICKLED BALONEY

One of my earliest memories is of a general store on top of Pine Mountain, Kentucky. On our way to my grandmother's rustic cabin hidden below the main road near the Pine Mountain Settlement School, we always stopped at the store. I still remember the bang of the screen door as we entered the dark room packed with an assortment of staples and foods. A cooler stood near the counter, humming as it cooled a variety of soft drinks (pop) -- Nehi Grape, Peach, Squirt, RC Cola, Coke, and Chocolate Soda come to mind.

A variety of sweets tempted me, but I skipped right past those to the rough-hewn wooden counter. Candy didn't cut it today.

The main reason we always stopped at this store sat on the end of the counter in a large glass jar with a red lid. A rope of PICKLED BALONEY.

My dad chatted with the proprietor as I anxiously waited for the big purchase. Finally, the grocer unscrewed the lid and pulled the PICKLED BALONEY rope out of the jar until my dad said, "That'll do." A knife neatly sliced the rope and he wrapped our piece in white butcher paper.

Saltines to tame the PICKLED BALONEY

I barely controlled my anticipation as Daddy paid for the PICKLED BALONEY and a sleeve of saltines (crackers).

Back in the car, Dad handed the PICKLED BALONEY to my mom to rip off a piece for each of us.

I grabbed my piece and peeled off the casing (pork gut) and bit into the PICKLED BALONEY. Heaven! Saltines were passed around, too, to calm down the pickled exuberance in the PICKLED BALONEY. The strong flavor of the pickling spices are what made it so glorious, but it was a tad strong on the tongue.

The last bite, with licks to my fingers, always brought sadness. I LOVED my PICKLED BALONEY.

I loved PICKLED BALONEY so much that I often received a jar of it (smaller than the one at the store) as one of my Christmas gifts.

My health has caused me to slow down on my PICKLED BALONEY consumption the past several years. I truly miss it. Thankfully, I don't have many options to be strong and resist its charm, since it's not as available in Georgia. But there are days when my mind wanders back to that dusty old country store and the joy I received from that PICKLED BALONEY. I truly believe it was the very best PICKLED BALONEY in the whole world.

My son never acquired a taste for PICKLED BALONEY. Whenever I ate it, he stood back and pinched his nose in disgust. PICKLED BALONEY never made it past his nose. Ah, well, it meant more for me.

Pickle some boiled eggs
You never throw out the juice from a jar of PICKLED BALONEY. It can be re-used. My mom often used it to pickle boiled eggs or beets. I imagine a few other things were pickled in that juice, too. I preferred PICKLED BALONEY.

Do you have a love affair with PICKLED BALONEY? Share your story.


Do you have a love affair with PICKLED BALONEY? (Click here to tweet)

Appalachian Word of the Week - PICKLED BALONEY (Click here to tweet)


  1. My grandma lived a half mile from that store! I believe our cousins owned it. I have the same memories of picled baloney

  2. That was my Aunt Goldie and Uncle Hobert's store. I have the same wonderful memories of going there. My grandma and grandpa lived right done the road from the store. Thanks for the memories.