May 6, 2016

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.

First Local Berries of the Season

By Ray Linville Finding locally grown strawberries is a sure sign that spring has arrived. As I was driving in the Monkey Junction area of Wilmington on the last weekend in March, I noticed a berry stand that had been closed for months was open. North Carolina, the third largest producer of strawberries in the United States, has the country’s largest fresh market for strawberries. Finding fresh local … [Read more...]

The Art of Making Pupusas

by Joy Salyers There was so much to share from our visit to Manny's Universal Cafe in Greensboro that we had to make two blog posts about it! Last week Evan Hatch told you about the owners, Manny and Margarita, and the amazing food we ate (and ate, and ate). This week, we have a special treat for you -- a pupusa-making lesson! Evan, you see, is the consummate fieldworker. Even while we were eating, he was … [Read more...]

Manny’s Universal Cafe

by Evan Hatch The Southside neighborhood in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina, stands as a prime example of successful urban revitalization.  Historic homes line the landscape, interspersed with historic businesses and combined commercial/residential properties. Urban planning experts often cite Southside as an example of renewal done right. A 2003 winner of the National Planning Award for Implementation from … [Read more...]

Taste the Redbuds

  By Ray Linville   The eastern redbud tree is one of the first heralds of spring. Underneath the pine trees of our state, this flowering tree creates a magnificent sight as temperatures begin to warm. Because the redbud is so prominent as an ornamental, we tend to overlook its role in our food culture. When I was out for a daily walk, I passed a redbud tree at its flowering peak. I … [Read more...]

Smokey’s BBQ Shack

by Evan Hatch One Wednesday, after a North Carolina Folklife Institute Board of Directors meeting, a great hunger announced its presence. I wanted barbecue.  When asked of a good local spot, President André Nabors replied, “Smokey’s.” Mr. Nabors was only working under assumption - he’d not yet had Smokey’s BBQ. But when I asked its location, his answer convinced me to try it. “It’s on the right down Chapel … [Read more...]

Recalling Fishing Camps of the Past

by Ray Linville   Fishing camps in eastern North Carolina were once where farmers could seek short-term employment in the fishing industry when the season arrived and, as described by NCpedia, “make a pile of money” by catching fish. Some camps were built on the coast, and nets were set from the beach to capture seasonal runs of several fish species. Other camps were built by sounds and their … [Read more...]

Keeping the Business in the Family

by Ray Linville A nondescript building on a rural road is not the typical place where I stop for food. In Rennert, a town of fewer than 400 residents in Robeson County, I found “E.&H. Bar.B.Q. Hut” painted on a faded, decades-old Coca-Cola sign on a whitewashed structure that marked my destination. Although another sign in a window where walk-up customers once were served says, “No Trespassing,” a window … [Read more...]

Creating a Welcome Table

by Ray Linville In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. eminently said, “ . . . the church is still the most segregated major institution in America. At 11:00 on Sunday morning… we stand at the most segregated hour in this nation.” Although much has changed in the intervening years, much still needs to be done to improve race relations, as seen by congregations and their denominations that have racial … [Read more...]

Get Out Your Calendars!

  It may be hard to believe while it's still so cold outside, but fields, orchards, and arbors in North Carolina will soon be turning those amazing shades of young, bright green that last only a few precious days before the real warmth of spring sets in.  Here at NC Folk we're already thinking about the agricultural festivals that await in 2016, showcasing the wealth of products that grow in North Carolina. … [Read more...]

Collard-Stealing Night

by Sarah Bryan Here in North Carolina we’ve eaten up the winter collard greens, and are eagerly anticipating the early spring crop. Thinking about collards put us in mind of a tradition we learned about some years back, Collard-Stealing Night. Though it may have been practiced in various parts of North Carolina, it seems to have been most especially a Pender County “thing.” (The following text is excerpted from … [Read more...]