That concern would have a nigh 80 year run before shuttering in 2008 as downtown Barbourville slowly turned into a ghost town. No matter, by then offshoot Mitchell Foods had already been in operation for nearly a decade providing frozen food service products to quick marts across Appalachia.“Y’all making the chili from scratch?” I’ve just walked into Eaton’s Handi Mart, six miles south of the burgeoning Appalachian town of Corbin. “Naw honey, we use Mitchell’s”
I’m starving and in dire need of a chili bun so I place my order and ramble around the well-stocked store for a minute while I wait on the counter lady to fix my lunch.
Eaton’s is a classic old-fashioned country market where you can get a ‘baby chick starter’ for $16.50, a salt block for your cows for right at ten bucks or a pound of pickle loaf for $5.19.
Need a spool of bailing twine for your haybaler? They’ve got that too.Unfortunately they don’t have homemade chili but Mitchell’s will do in a pinch. A soft, white flour hot dog bun has been generously filled with chili meat, mustard, and chopped white onions. The chili is a fine grind beef with pork and a bit of textured vegetable protein thrown in for good measure. Dominant flavor? Tomato puree.
Not every country market has a little granny woman plying her trade in the chili game. Nowadays when you get your fried baloney biscuit from a gas-n-go on Heifer Creek that clerk hustling around behind the counter probably defrosted most of your food early that morning.
Change has come to the foodways of Appalachia
Eaton’s Handi Mart