November 29, 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.

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...]

Ramp Seasoning

While I've been enjoying the sun of the last two days -- walking down to the river by my house (accompanied by my two cats who stalk about like they think they are local bobcats), and especially enjoying the spectacular sunsets -- my sister in Des Moines has been posting about the first major snow of the year there.   Quite a contrast! So many of our various Solstice and Yule celebrations are … [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...]

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...]

The 3 Bs of Snacky Time

by Evan Hatch     Snacky time exists not on conventional timepieces, but everyone knows when it is. And when snacky time strikes, snacky place is the only destination. For NC Folk staff, snacky place was the baked goods aisle at the BP station’s Family Fare convenience store at the corner of Hillandale Drive and Croasdaile Drive in Durham. In this blog, NC Folk staffers are celebrating the … [Read more...]

Scuppernongs and Other Muscadines Are Ready

  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...]