December 19, 2014

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.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Credit Playing Futures: Applied Nomadology / Flickr/Creative Commons

by Deborah Miller The holidays seem to turn the nostalgia dial up to eleven for many of us, especially when it comes to food.  We find comfort in the familiarity of the menu and we want them prepared the exact same way we had them at our table.  I certainly wouldn't put my mother's green bean casserole up against anyone else's because it was just green beans, cream of mushroom soup topped with fried onions, but it … [Read more...]

My Turkey Lesson

"Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)" by Franco Folini is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

by Malinda Fillingim Although I was the teacher, I was the one who had a lesson to learn. As the fourth grade teacher at Haliwa-Saponi Tribal School in Hollister, I had an open door policy when it came to parents and tribal leaders who wanted to observe or volunteer in my classroom. Tribal leaders and their relatives had visited us and taught us pottery, origami, beading, and traditional dance steps. Such … [Read more...]

“A Martin County Thing”—Chicken Mull

1st Annual Chicken Mull Festival, Bear Grass, NC - 10/25/14

by Leanne E. Smith Sixty-five gallons of chicken mull disappeared in less than a couple of hours on Saturday, October 25, 2014, when the town of Bear Grass in Martin County, NC, held its First Annual Chicken Mull Festival. Bear Grass is in the middle of Martin County in Eastern North Carolina, about 20 miles northeast of Greenville and eight miles southwest of Williamston, the county seat. As of the 2013 … [Read more...]

Kitchen Memories

kitchem memories_two_1

by Malinda Dunlap Fillingim One of my favorite past-times is finding old kitchen tools and utensils in thrift stores. A museum of culinary history awaits me each time I hold an old spider pan, French fry cutter, pewter pitcher, or in a recent visit at the Habitat For Humanity Thrift Store in Southport, an old clamp-style apple slicer. I was admiring the well-used device when an elderly man approached me and … [Read more...]

The Zack Attack

Zack's combination hot dog.

by Evan Hatch Many mistakes are made by those individuals not initiated to the Zack’s Hotdogs Experience.  Those individuals refer to a menu before they order.  They try to pay with a debit card.  They try to explain what they want to their waiter instead of using accepted jargon. They misunderstand the double line, first seating policy.  They order a cheese dog, expecting it to have meat. Largely, these neophytic … [Read more...]

Plum Granny Farm: Old Land, New Passion

plumg Stripping garlic

by Malinda Dunlap Fillingim When Cheryl Ferguson graduated from South Stokes High School back in the mid 1970’s, chances are she wasn’t planning on returning to her family’s King homestead farm to live as an adult and become a USDA Certified Organic small family farmer. But that’s exactly what she did. The land, now called Plum Granny Farm, has been in Cheryl’s family well over 140 years, growing tobacco … [Read more...]

Would You Order Livermush at a Classic Family Diner?

A livermush sandwich for lunch at The Hub definitely sustains you all afternoon.

by Ray Linville Want to step back in time and explore early food traditions of our state? Then stop at a family-owned diner that has been in business for more than 50 years. When you do, expect to find items on the menu that link back to days long ago. The menu boards immediately caught my attention when I entered The Hub, a place popular for breakfast and lunch in Anson County. Located about 50 miles east … [Read more...]

Van Loi II. Heaven.

Van Loi

by Evan Hatch My parents used to live in Graham, North Carolina. The burgs of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Durham were cultural destinations. Only 20 minutes down the road were concerts, exotic food, funky places to drop money, a better selection of cheeses. In July, 2014, my parents moved to Whitsett, North Carolina. Only 20 miles west of Graham, but much farther from the triangle, culture needed a new destination. … [Read more...]

Mobile Food for the Literati

Chick-N-Que served “Wicked Chicken,” spicy buffalo chicken tenders on a bun, at the festival as part of its menu.

By Ray Linville Where do you go for food when you’re at a literary festival on a weekend and the places open on weekdays are closed? When the N.C. Literary Festival was held this year in Raleigh, the answers to feed the hungry public were food trucks. The festival drew thousands to author readings and discussions, performances, book signings, and children activities. Can you imagine how hungry these events made … [Read more...]

A Different Taste of Life

Burmese_3

by Malinda Dunlap Fillingim Recently, I was able to participate in a Burmese feast. Students and others brought dishes representing the rich cuisine of the Burmese people. I delighted in the best sticky rice I have ever eaten, enjoyed sugary potatoes, drank something I think was coconut based, and consumed foods with layered textures. This was not the food I grew up on, nor the food I cook in my home. There was no … [Read more...]