"You'll never be hungry in Helvetia," I was told, and it's true. There seems to be a great cook in every house—Margaret Koerner, her white hair in neat braids, frying doughnuts, barefoot in her spotless kitchen; Bernadine Wooten, round and comforting in a flowered dress, plying me with raspberry cobbler still warm in an iron skillet. I've come away from people's houses with tomatoes from the garden, slices of pie, homemade wine, mason jars of ramps, venison, and peaches. Even perfect strangers give away food as a kind of "hello." Lucky Farrar's shy wife didn't say a word when we met, but knocked plums off the tree in her yard and filled my pockets with them.