October 10, 2015

NCFOOD is the North Carolina Folklife Institute’s blog exploring our state’s traditional cooking and foodways. Every highway and byway in the state is a potential jumping off point for a food adventure, whether discovering the Restaurante Rosa de Saron in Sampson County or the Pakse Café in Greensboro.

You’ll find stories and personal experiences about farmers and food artisans, local recipes, and great traditional eateries -- a celebration of the rich and diverse food traditions of North Carolina. Celebrate the magic that happens when many cultures come together around a common table.

Scuppernongs and Other Muscadines Are Ready

Scuppernong grapes are ready for picking in North Carolina.

  by Ray Linville     It’s scuppernong time. The historic grape is ripe and ready across the state in grocery stores, at roadside stands, and from u-pick-it vineyards—along with other varieties of the muscadine. Autumn means it’s time to appreciate and enjoy these indigenous grapes. They sustained Native Americans, European explorers and colonists, enslaved and indentured workers, … [Read more...]

Pat Franklin’s Mama’s Banana Pudding


by Leanne E. Smith When Pat Franklin buys fifty pounds of bananas at one time the second week in June, the cashiers at Ingles grocery store in Marshall, North Carolina, give her funny looks. What could someone possibly do with the contents of a cart loaded with bunches of bananas, boxes of Nilla wafers and vanilla Jell-O pudding, a few gallons of milk, and several containers of Cool Whip and sour cream? Of course: … [Read more...]

Big Oak Drive In & BBQ


by Deborah Miller A long weekend on Emerald Isle was in the works and as visions of sun, sand, and seafood swam in my imagination, a light bulb moment pushed through the haze of vacation anticipation. NC Food was about to publish a guest post by John E. Batchelor, author of Chefs of the Coast: Restaurants & Recipes from the North Carolina Coast.  Could we coordinate a dual post of one of the restaurants in … [Read more...]

Waxing Fig-Tastic: The 2nd Annual August Fig Festival on Ocracoke Island


by Leanne E. Smith It was a fluke that the 2014 Fig Festival was held in August. The fig cake bake-off that had been part of the July 4th celebration was postponed last year by a few weeks because of Hurricane Arthur. It was a success, so the organizers with the Ocracoke Civic and Business Association tried it again on Friday, August 14, 2015. Now, they hope the “fig-tastic” event, as it was called in some … [Read more...]

Collard Shack Revisited

The luscious collard leaves at The Collard Shack can inspire any novice grower.

by Ray Linville A trip to the small town of Ayden is usually for wood-cooked barbecue because it’s the home to two of the state’s premier BBQ establishments – Skylight Inn and Bum’s Restaurant. However, when I traveled there, I was searching for The Collard Shack as much as I was for chopped whole hog barbecue.   In 2011 when David Cecelski wrote about The Collard Shack in one of his legacy posts on … [Read more...]

B&G Pies

B&G peach pie in wrapper

by Joy Salyers I don't usually think of a gas station right off the interstate as the go-to place for regionally made treats. But the corner BP Station's Family Fare Convenience Store by our Durham office stocks a surprising array of North Carolina food products, including pork skins from Henderson, and Apple Uglies from Salisbury. They also have 89 cent fountain drinks, which I've been living on this hot … [Read more...]

Chefs of the Coast: Meet Chef Thierry Moity of Caprice Bistro in Wilmington

Chefs of the Coast: Restaurants & Recipes from the North Carolina Coast

by John E. Batchelor Note:  We love seafood! So much that we practically licked our lips all afternoon when we received a copy of John E. Batchelor's newest offering Chefs of the Coast: Restaurants & Recipes from the North Carolina Coast. John agreed to a special post for NC Food. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did! ~Editor, NC Food The Chef Thierry Moity has cooked in what were, at the time , some … [Read more...]


Preparing the dough for platsindi.

by Tat'yana Berdan My mom doesn’t really use recipes. The few she has, she keeps written down in an old journal she brought with her when my family immigrated to Charlotte, North Carolina from Tiraspol, Moldova 14 years ago.  When I asked her for a recipe to feature in this blog, she told me I had to come home and cook with her, that’s the only way I’d learn. We would make one of my favorites: platsindi, a … [Read more...]

Where Food Is More Than Only Something to Eat

Chef-in-training Horace Pressley spreads a big smile when someone raves about his mac and cheese.

by Ray Linville Food is more than simply sustenance. Kitchens are more than places to prepare and eat meals. No place is better for demonstrating the value in society of food and kitchens than The King’s Kitchen in Charlotte, NC. As its customers enjoy the menu of the day, the unemployed, underemployed, difficult to employ, and recently released prison inmates learn culinary and food service … [Read more...]

A Recipe for Chess Cake

The finished chess cake product, ready for eating!

By Lea Efird Almost all of my earliest memories take place in Albemarle, North Carolina in my grandparents’ old house, one they sold when I was four or so. I remember constantly playing with my cousin Hunter, only 10 weeks older than me, as if he were my twin brother (we did look just alike, after all). I remember getting hit in the face with a metal toy bulldozer, losing my favorite Barbie, and camping out during … [Read more...]