Almost Hungry, West Virginia

15 Oct

This is another post about food.  With all the TV and food posts you may be tempted to think all we do is sit around watching TV and eating.  Don’t we wish!  But if you recall from posts past, we do occasionally go to festivals, read a book and dislike things.

This article about pepperoni rolls showed up in our hometown newspaper the other day, clearly reeling from the fact that the NY Times published this article a couple weeks prior, showcasing our state’s proudest invention.  How did we get scooped on our own state food??  Before we’re made fools again by the likes of the “Dining and Wine” section (trust me, if there’s anywhere a pepperoni roll doesn’t belong, it’s alongside wine), let me set out West Virginia’s unique delicacies and their greatness.


Pepperoni Rolls, obviously, go first.  These were invented by the wives of Italian coal miners in the early 1900s when the miners needed to eat lunch one handedly so they could still carry their pick-axes.  You see, those were the days before mine goblins were eradicated and anything you set down was likely to be stolen by sneaky evil elves, and you’d better believe you had to pay for it.  Not to mention spend the rest of the day mining with your teeth.

These delicious and handy little meat cocoons, best when warm, did for pepperoni what nachos did for ground beef—that is, take something that’s kind of clumsy and unsightly on it’s own and turn it into an institution.

Tudor’s Biscuit World.  Really, this deserves a post on its own, and I won’t lie, I am likely to post about Tudor’s again and again.  It’s that fantastic.  Tudor’s houses the biscuit’s entire royal family and its subjects.  They only hold court from 5:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., so you must be timely.  Changing of the guards from breakfast to lunch happens around 11, but you can eat hot delicious fresh homemade biscuit sandwiches the size of DVDs all day.  Like the Ron with sausage egg and cheese; the Mickey with bacon, egg and melty cheese; the Dottie (my vegetarian friends’ favorite) with a hashbrown, egg and cheese; or if you are so inclined, a Thundering Herd with sausage, egg, a hashbrown and cheese.

Mountaineer Dog

The West Virginia hot dog.  The hot dog isn’t really specific to WV, but the toppings are.  We put chili, onions, mustard and slaw on our dogs, and that might sound weird (Chicago, New York), but we also don’t discriminate.  Hot dogs are nothing to get angry about.  This is not the only tasty combination out there, but it is a welcome mix of hot/cold, crunchy/soft, tangy/sweet for your tummy.  On a related note, an unnamed faithful reader and I embarked on a mission this summer to sample and rate all the local hot dogs.  We even documented our progress, but unfortunately the entertainment factor of said documentation was low (e.g., “chili was warm and kinda spicy,” “slaw kernels optimal size,” “chili not very good,” “bun stale,” etc.).   Plus there’s already a blog out there dedicated to WV hot dogs.

Those are the only WV foods that I’m really invested in.  I suppose there are more, and I can go ahead and list those but don’t expect too much enthusiasm.

Ramps: funky onions

Apple butter: who doesn’t have apple butter?

Buckwheat: see Buckwheat Fesitval

Pawpaw: sour banana


22 Responses to “Almost Hungry, West Virginia”

  1. Beefer October 15, 2009 at 8:49 am #

    Wow-give credit where credit is due. The hot dog Claude to your Bonnie, like the weiners at Swiftwater Cafe, was Big and Beefy.

    • Beefer October 15, 2009 at 8:58 am #

      Wait, who the hell is Claude?

  2. danakennedy October 15, 2009 at 9:50 am #

    Oh, boy! I’m sitting here in Northern Ohio, craving a Tudor’s biscuit sandwich. I haven’t been to WV for about ten years, but this post really has me missing the food I used to enjoy there!

  3. Pretty Project October 15, 2009 at 10:12 am #

    That is a SERIOUS hot dog! My goodness! 🙂

  4. raiselm October 15, 2009 at 10:36 am #

    I live in NY area but grew up in eastern PA. I ALWAYS have apple butter in my pantry. And I eat hot dogs with cole slaw, mustard and onions too. I guess I’m from VA and never realized it. Hi neighbor!

  5. Rosalie October 15, 2009 at 11:24 am #

    omg. I am coming to WV right now. Seriously, it has been almost 2 years since I had a Dottie! In a gas station somewhere near Morgantown — it was pretty much the classiest brunch I have ever eaten.

    Also, what is a “slaw kernel”? I think that slaw and chili on a hot dog is less weird than the pickle and celery salt they put on there at the Weiner’s Circle, so carry on.

  6. Michelle October 15, 2009 at 1:02 pm #

    these make me feel hungry in the middle of the night..

  7. Anna October 15, 2009 at 1:24 pm #

    Hey, did you chaps borrow the Pepperoni roll thing from the English tin miners’ “Cornish Pasty”? The idea there was that the pastry ‘handle’ meant the miners could eat with dirty hands and throw the ‘handle’ away.

    Mind you, I’d rather be a Cornish miner; pasties are BIG, whereas are those pepperoni rolls as teeny as they look?!?

    And we don’t have apple butter in England; what is it? The name sounds deeeelish!


  8. Stephanie October 15, 2009 at 1:39 pm #

    Sounds yummy! I LOVE biscuits! Too bad I live in South Texas, far far away from places dedicated to them!

  9. David Brown October 15, 2009 at 1:55 pm #

    OK Where is Tudors? I’m thinking road trip.

  10. thehallspace October 15, 2009 at 2:28 pm #

    As someone from WV I am proud to see your blog talk about two of my favorite aspects of WV cuisine, namely the slaw dog/ schooner and the joy that is Tudor’s Biscut world.
    Living in Cincinnati makes me miss the ability to go to a drive through for biscuts at any time of the day. Whenever I am in WV I like to make at least one stop for a Mickey or a mountaneer (depends on how hungry I am)
    and my family still makes our hotdogs the WV way. I have introduced several of my friends to the our style of hot dogs, and my wife, who was raised on Cincinnati’s coney’s (that’s a chili dog with a mound of cheese) is now a conver to the WV slaw dog.
    Great Blog!

  11. ashleythinks October 15, 2009 at 2:50 pm #

    I never thought I would find meat in a bun so desirable until now.

  12. Milena October 15, 2009 at 3:46 pm #

    i think u r obsessed with food. anyway i liked the way u put energy in your article.i hope u comment my website

  13. carriemcmahondietz October 15, 2009 at 5:52 pm #

    Crazy that I stumbled upon this posting just now. We’re headed to Morgantown tomorrow morning. Only been to WV once a couple years ago but here’s what I learned: Pepperoni rolls rock, WV football fans are more than a bit crazy and Moonshine really does taste like gasoline. Sign me up!

  14. script4 October 15, 2009 at 6:19 pm #

    This is what you call a HOT dog, awesome

  15. Kaitlin October 15, 2009 at 6:34 pm #

    I saw that article and was shocked. It’s so typical of the New York Times. But they ARE delicious.

  16. Misteriousness Al October 15, 2009 at 6:49 pm #

    My gosh, I’m waiting for dinner, and this is only making the wait worse. Though I’m enjoying it at the same time.

  17. Megan Milian October 15, 2009 at 9:02 pm #

    The pepperoni rolls look delicious…no fair I’m hungry…

  18. WVgirl October 16, 2009 at 9:25 am #

    First off, let me clarify that moonshine in fact does not taste like gasoline, carriemcmahondietz . Sounds like you got a bad batch. It can kill ya, you know 😉 Have you ever tasted grain alcohol or cheap vodka? It burns going down, its not smooth, but it doesn’t have a *taste* unless flavors are added. Yup, now they even make it in different flavors: peach, grape, watermelon, etc. It is actually very yummy! Smirnoff ain’t got nuttin’ on us!!
    Getting back to the subject of the article, I never realized how fortunate I am to live within 3 miles of a Tudors Biscuit World. Tudors originated in our capital city, named after its founders, Bill and Mae Tudor, in 1980. In each and every one of their 50+ stores, biscuits are made from scratch every morning, starting at 4am. My mother in law happens to be a “biscuit maker” at one of them for over 20yrs now. Oh, and they have wonderful hot dogs, too.
    How to prepare a WV hot dog: steamed white bun+choice wiener. Ketchup down one side, mustard down the other. Top with sweet, tomato-y, ground meat chili (no beans allowed), spread some creamy, sweet cole slaw on top, and sprinkle with chopped, raw onion. YUM! Hope to see ya in WV!


  1. Hawt DOG! « 141characters - November 3, 2009

    […] In hopes of keeping his image even cleaner, Sanchez donated 1,000 hot dogs, hamburgers, and buns to a New Jersey soup kitchen.  Whoa!  Careful not to break the bank, Sanchez!  As the article points out, that random act of kindness is likely to set Sanchez back close to $750, a meaningless little deduction from his guaranteed $28 million contract.  Still a generous thing to do and all, but c’mon.  That’s all you could donate?  How many hours can that little donation even sustain a soup kitchen?  And you couldn’t donate anything healthier?   More importantly, did you even think to donate condiments?  (Some chili, slaw, onions and mustard, perhaps, to West Virginia up their hot dogs?) […]

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    […] me yesterday as we ate lunch at a lovely downtown café; in order to set the scene, I was eating a West Virginia Hot Dog and we were discussing this […]

  3. Mondoo’s Mailbag « 141characters - December 29, 2009

    […] top five posts of all time include the following:  Love/Hate: Christmas Decorations (2,105 views), Almost Hungry, West Virginia (1,762 views), Festival Foods- Not Fair, FABULOUS! (934 views), Love/Hate: Football (368 views), […]

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