WHEELING - Patricia McDaniel has eaten her way along Historic National Road from Maryland to Illinois. Wheeling, she said, is one of her favorite stops.
McDaniel is the founder of the Historic National Road Yard Sale and editor of the Historic National Road Yard Sale Cookbook, the fifth volume of which was shipped out last week and features West Virginia. Pictured on the cover of the 220-page, spiral-bound book are Joe Coleman of Coleman's Fish Market and Janet Richardson of Valley Cheese, posing beneath the iconic concrete pig on the side of the market house.
"Anything they cook at Coleman's is fabulous," said McDaniel, adding "Just don't serve me squid or octopus; I'm allergic." McDaniel, who is 65, also had high praise for Charlie Schlegel at Ye Olde Alpha Restaurant in Wheeling, who is featured on the new cookbook's back cover; in particular, she noted his shrimp coated in Cap'n Crunch cereal and his homemade chips and salsa.
The cover of the Historic National Road Yard Sale Cookbook, Volume 5, featuring West Virginia is shown. Pictured on the cover are Janet Richardson of Valley Cheese and Joe Coleman of Coleman’s Fish Market, both located at Centre Market in Wheeling.
"I couldn't eat everything I could've eaten in Wheeling. They just want to feed you," she said.
Every year, the cookbook highlights one state along National Road, but it contains recipes from every state. This year, "West Virginia has really gone all out," McDaniel said. Included among the 40 West Virginia pages are recipes from individuals, restaurants and businesses.
Local contributors include Coleman's, Valley Cheese, The Honey Hole and the Eckhart House. In the past, the Alpha and Chef James Burress also have contributed.
This year, Coleman's submitted its fish sandwich recipe. Yes, THE fish sandwich, the one for which it is famous across the country.
"It's as close to ours as it's going to get without coming down here to the market," said Jodi Coleman, the fourth generation to help run the 99-year-old business.
Sarah Cerciello-Clark from The Honey Hole submitted a recipe for pumpkin cognac cupcakes, and Richardson from Valley Cheese has Hamburger Blue Cheese Cupcakes in this year's volume.
"I think (the cookbook) is a wonderful idea," said Diane Todd, a Valley Cheese employee whose Oven Baked Habanero Burgers was in last year's volume. "I'm always trying to promote it because it's something we're in and I think it's interesting." The cookbooks are for sale at Coleman's, Valley Cheese and the Wheeling Artisan Center in downtown. The Ohio County Public Library also carries the volumes.
"(Patricia) is always looking for West Virginia recipes because we're the smallest part of the National Road," said Artisan Center director Chris Villamagna. West Virginia claims only 16 of the historic byway's 800 miles. Anyone in the state can send in a recipe.
McDaniel said she doesn't print duplicate recipes, and she accepts only regionally significant ones. "I pattern my cookbook after the symphony and Junior League cookbooks," she said.
So, for instance, there's no banana bread recipe in her book because "Do you and your husband have a banana tree in your backyard?"
"But I got a hickory nut bread recipe once that made it in," she said.
The state wildlife division has recipes in this year's edition, and readers will find several recipes using ramps, she said.
"There's a lot of variety in it," said Jodi Coleman of the cookbook. She has been part of the cookbook for several years, and this year for the first time saw it in the draft stage. "It's incredible, everything that goes into it. ... Every year, it's different, which is kudos to her," she said referring to McDaniel. The book also is interspersed with food-related or other anecdotes collected by McDaniel.
At least one contributor is well-known to most people: the author Nora Roberts. Roberts has a bookstore in Boonsboro, Md., and has hosted McDaniel there for two book signings in 2009 and 2012.
McDaniel founded the Historic National Road Yard Sale in 2004, and at first it was limited to Indiana. In 2006, for the bicentennial of the roadway, she promoted the sale across all six states.
That spring, she and her dog traveled the length of the road - "I would rather travel with a dog than a person because they don't look at their watch and they don't get impatient and they are wonderful conversation pieces."
They made a stop in Wheeling, where she was overwhelmed by the beauty of the blooming forsythia bushes. She had been to the city several times on road trips - she always travels by back roads, she said, and never eats at chain restaurants.
"The town just has an aura to it. You know, well, there's the Wheeling stogie sign, and all the narrow streets that snake up the hills. It's the first town (heading east) that really has an eastern feel." She returned in 2008 and 2012 on additional promotional tours, and she said she looks forward to returning. On her website, www.oldstorefrontantiques.com, she lists Wheeling among her top 10 favorite National Road towns.
"I only have one complaint about Wheeling, I don't get there often enough," McDaniel said.
An antique and collectibles dealer with a small historic brick storefront along National Road (she and her dog, Mr. Boos, live in the back), McDaniel said the yard sale was a way for everyone to get involved with the road's bicentennial celebration. She had heard some cities and towns were planning elaborate affairs or dinners that were quite pricy to attend.
"What I wanted was for everybody interested to be able to do it."
The sale is always the Wednesday through Sunday after Memorial Day, and people do not have to sign up to participate. Church, school and civic groups can take the opportunity to sell food or items to make money for their causes, she said.
She started the cookbook four years ago. The first state to be featured was her home state of Indiana, followed by Ohio, Maryland and Illinois. Next year, Pennsylvania will be highlighted.