January 24, 2017

About David Cecelski

For the past five years, historian David has been NC Food’s primary blogger. Topics for his posts have ranged across the state and across cultures. David has written about liver mush in Kernersville, pickled hot sausages in Comfort, and churros rellanos at Durham’s Green Flea Market. He’s introduced readers to restaurants, markets, and interesting food customs from Murphy to Manteo.

Hatteras Farewell

A couple weeks ago, I was a guest at the Hatteras fishing community’s Day at the Docks. It’s a wonderful celebration of that Outer Banks village’s fishing heritage and living traditions, and I felt deeply honored to be part of it.  Originally founded after hurricane Isabel in 2003 as a day to celebrate the island’s recovery, this very special event now spans four days every September. There’s something for … [Read more...]

Yana’s Peach Fritters

A few days after my mother’s funeral, my daughter and I stopped for breakfast at Yana’s Restaurant in Swansboro, in Onslow County. We were bound for Bear Island, the site of remote beaches and salt marshes that were among my favorite places growing up. Perched over the White Oak River, Yana’s occupies an old building that once held a drugstore and soda fountain in the mid-20th century. Fish packinghouses, an … [Read more...]

Core Creek Crab Pot

12 large dressed hard shell crabs (crack claws)  3 cups canned tomatoes ½ cup chopped onion 1 tablespoon black pepper 1 quart water (approximately) 1 tablespoon salt 6 medium white potatoes 3 tablespoons hot sauce         Place crabs and claws in large kettle with water and salt.  Cook over medium heat for 1 hour. Add more hot water if needed, enough to keep crabs barely covered. Add black pepper, tomatoes, … [Read more...]

Honor Box Produce

HONOR BOX PRODUCE by David Cecelski This is a produce stand on the back road from my family’s old farmhouse and the little community of Mill Creek. It’s just a stone’s throw from an old cemetery that marks the former site of my great-great-great grandfather’s home. The cemetery is in a thick pine forest now, but we still visit it now and then. A lot of the local farmers have wonderful produce stands, and … [Read more...]


by David Cecelski “Save us some pluck,” the ladies at Fishtowne Seafood in Beaufort often tell the guys behind the counter.  They want them, they mean, to save the gizzards and livers from a popular local saltwater fish called jumping mullet when they clean them for other customers who do not share their fondness for fish organs. Long attached to the sea, many people here in Carteret County hold jumping … [Read more...]

Blue Crabs at Dusk

by David Cecelski My brother and my son and I rode bicycles down to the Cape Fear River to watch the sunset tonight. The day had been hot—103 in Wilmington—and most people stayed inside well past supper. But at dusk, crowds of people came out of the shadows and gathered at the river to fish and crab. Many brought fishing poles, cast nets, coolers, and bait boxes down to the shore. Others carried a twine line, a … [Read more...]

Carolina Beach Farmers’ Market

by David Cecelski Last week I explored the Carolina Beach Farmers Market while I was visiting my brother and his family. It’s held every Saturday in the summertime from 8 am to 1 pm next to the town pond just south of the boardwalk, and it marks an interesting new trend in the state’s farmers markets: bringing local produce and other farm goods to where beach-goers can find them. Several farmers from southeastern … [Read more...]


by David Cecelski In this sweltering heat wave, my family and I have been seeking cool treats in the city streets. We’ve become connoisseurs of our local sno-cone stands, frozen yoghurt shops, and ice cream trucks, including one that my neighbors call the “Sad Ice Cream Truck” for the curiously mournful airs, played in a minor key, that resound from its loudspeaker.  But nothing has refreshed us more on a 104 … [Read more...]

Bright Leaf Dogs

On my way to the swamps, I stopped at Kinlaw’s Supermarket andWelcome Grill in Fayetteville. I was there to get a quick lunch at the grill and to load up on provisions for a canoe trip, but what caught my eye was the cases of Bright Leaf brand hot dogs. Kinlaw’s is one of those places near I-95 where people stock up on Bright Leaf dogs on their trips home, yearning to carry a taste of eastern North Carolina to their … [Read more...]

Holy Week Fanesca

by David Cecelski The sudden richness and diversity of Latin American cookery here continues to surprise, awe, and delight me. My newest discovery is an Ecuadorian bakery in Raleigh called La Espiga.  It’s very popular with the region’s small but growing Ecuadorian community. But for newcomers to South American cuisine like me, the proprietors, cousins Cory Belonga and Iván López, also offer a wonderful … [Read more...]