I’ve been working on a cookbook titled Bread & Beauty, A Year in Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve. Along with interviewing farmers and agricultural advocates, attending events, and developing recipes based on Ag Reserve produce, I’ve had the great pleasure of researching in the Library of Congress. I’ve found some interesting bits of Montgomery’s food history, some of which is not appropriate for the book, but are too good to leave in the stacks.
From American Vintage by Paul Lukacs, 2005
Searching for an American grape suitable for winemaking, in the early 1800s, Major John Adlum developed a variety of vines, one from “cuttings secured from a widow living in Montgomery County.” No one knew their source, and they looked like those used to make Hungarian Tokay, but they were later found not to be a European strain. Adlum called them what the widow had: Catawba. The Catawba grape was eventually developed into a white wine and a pinkish sparkling wine by a Cincinnati winemaker who developed a German-style wine that had broad appeal and came to be called Cincinnati Hock.