December 1, 2015

About Sarah Bryan

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, native Sarah Luisa Bryan grew up in the Carolinas and Virginia, in a family of Carolinian and Cuban heritage. She and her husband Peter Honig live in Durham, North Carolina. Sarah and Peter are both old-time fiddlers and 78 rpm record collectors.

Her mother, Cristina Freeman Bryan, is an author, publisher, and Civil War historian in Calvert County, Maryland; her father, James “Poddy” Bryan, was a literary critic, professor, and designer of miniature golf courses, from Myrtle Beach. Her brother, Will Bryan, is a filmmaker in Richmond, Virginia.

In addition to music, folklife, and old photographs, Sarah is interested in animal welfare, Tar Heel basketball, Mets baseball, and The Andy Griffith Show. Read more at

Cataloochee Prune Cake

by Sarah Bryan   In some ways the border between the Carolinas is fluid. The two largest towns that are on or a few miles from the state line—Charlotte and Myrtle Beach—seem mismatched with their respective states. Charlotte could be mistaken for a bustling, shiny, businesslike version of the self-image of the state to the south, and Myrtle Beach for a vacation outpost of its northern neighbor. Of … [Read more...]

Pickle Willie Cinnamon Cucumber Rings

  by Joy Salyers On October 27th, I headed to Sophia, NC just outside Asheboro for the Resourceful Communities annual convening. I took along Program and Development Director Evan Hatch, and as we drove through the absolutely stunning fall foliage of the Uwharries region of the state, I tried to explain to him what a treat he was in for. Resourceful Communities is a program of the Conservation Fund and … [Read more...]

Apple Brandy Beef

  by John Batchelor Seth and Jenn Church have operated Apple Brandy Beef since they graduated from college in 2004. Seth grew up on the family farm, then went to North Carolina State University, where he earned a degree in agriculture business management. He met his wife, Jenn, at N.C. State. Her degree is in animal science. She also operates Hidden Creek Stables, a facility for riding lessons and … [Read more...]

Martín Ramírez and the USPS

by Evan Hatch   In a quirky and remarkable gesture, the United States Post Office issued a limited-edition set of Forever stamps featuring the work of Sr. Martín Ramírez. This gesture is remarkable because this semi-famed Mexican American artist is considered by many to be a visionary artist - a category of artists generally relegated to the sidelines of the art game. Visionary art is often classified … [Read more...]

Calvin Trillin expounds on NC BBQ

by Evan Hatch Calvin Trillen's thoughtful New Yorker piece offers some insights into the battle over North Carolina BBQ, and into North Carolina culture. It is a pleasant piece and its greatest strength is to recognize the futility in defining North Carolina BBQ. We know what BBQ is. And we know what it isn't. No amount of written words can change … [Read more...]

Making Do With Fall Apples

by Joy Salyers I took my children with me to the North Carolina Folklore Society meeting in Cullowhee, NC October 9 and 10. I was confident that we would encounter learning opportunities to rival a day of school. We drove first to the Musuem of the Cherokee Indian, where they got Jerry Wolfe's autograph, sat riveted by the telling of traditional Cherokee legends, and fought over the camera to take their own … [Read more...]

Tyris Jones, Storytelling as a Craft

by Sarah Bryan By returning to his roots, Tyris Jones discovered a new path in life. The Laurinburg native lived away from his hometown for years, but when he came back to live in Scotland County, he was inspired to combine his professional background and his family traditions into a new career as a storyteller. Jones has always had a love for stories and performance. He remembers absorbing his older relatives’ … [Read more...]

Collards a lo Cubano

by Sarah Bryan Verlie Helsabeck Freeman was a vivid woman. She had a cat named Mr. Cat, a set of dentures that she took out of her mouth and clacked at frightened great-grandchildren, and—as she warned overly curious visitors who might snoop around the house—a booger in her basement. (To readers who aren’t from North Carolina, let me hasten to explain that a booger is like a goblin, a small, scary creature … [Read more...]

Coke Is It: A Love Story

by Sarah Bryan It’s a moment that a lot of Southerners have had: when folks from somewhere else single out a characteristic of our speech or behavior that is evidently outlandish to the rest of the world, but that, until that moment, we hadn’t realized was at all weird. “You carried your grandmother to the store? Like, in your arms? On your back?” “What do you mean the collards aren’t done? They’ve been boiling for … [Read more...]