Reader Queries

Each month, The Kentucky Explorer magazine receives literally scores of letters from our faithful readers. Among those letters we often find queries, ranging from requests for words to songs and poems to trying to locate former classmates and military buddies of long ago.

Here are a few queries from

October 2009

Wants Recipe For Starter
Dear Editor:
As a youngster in Blackey, Letcher County, Kentucky, I remember a fruit mix in a gallon jar that had to be started from an original mix. I don't remember what it was called, but I do remember having a piece of cake made from this mix, and it was delicious.
I would really appreciate information on how to make the starter.
Richard Cornett
2208 Patricia Drive
Kettering, OH 45420
Editor's Note: This cake is called a Friendship Cake or 30-Day Cake.

Info. Wanted On Singing
School, Knox County

Dear Editor:
I am presently and for several years been a subscriber to The Kentucky Explorer. Several past generations of my family are Kentuckians, including my parents.
I recently found a photo taken in 1920 of the Knox County Singing School, Flat Lick, Kentucky, of which several of my relatives, including aunts, grandfather, and mother, were members. Marion McKinney was the teacher at that time.
The photo can be viewed at:
I would like any information on the Singing School.
John R. France
208 Granite Lane
Clayton, NC 27520
[email protected]

Sassafras Tea
Dear Editor:
As a young boy, 13 or 14 years old, I made some tea from sassafras root. I peeled the bark, put it up to dry out, and then boiled it to enjoy sassafras tea.
Recently, I dug up two roots to make tea for my 13-year-old grandson. The roots did not smell very strong of sassafras.
I would like to know the complete process for making sassafras tea, from when to dig the root, how long to dry the root and where, and the boiling time.
Any help would be appreciated.
Richard Pinkerton
2223 Cannon Drive
Ashland, KY 41102