April 17, 2014

Asparagus – Shoots and Roots

new asparagus shoot

by Joy Salyers My friend (and amazing artist) Jessica Clark posted this pic on Facebook Tuesday. While she was rejoicing in it finally being the time of year when your nails are dirty for all the right reasons and things are sprouting, when I saw the beautiful asparagus spear, what I thought of was not shoots but roots. Let me explain. Asparagus is a perennial, the fruit tree of vegetables. When you settle … [Read more...]

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

Brooks Crossroads, NC

by Deborah Miller Daddy was a traveling salesman. As regional sales director for Blue Cross/Blue Shield in the late 50’s/early ‘60’s, he drove all over North Carolina trying to sign up companies for a new plan called “group insurance.” He was gone a lot, and often late for dinner, but he was still the guy who came home every so often with a trunk full of Hostess Cupcakes, Twinkies, and SnoBalls compliments of one … [Read more...]

A Pot of Hospitality

Pinto Beans by Basswulf/cc2.0

by Malinda Dunlap Fillingim A big pot of pinto beans lived at Mama Dunlap’s Stokes County home. Her cast iron frying pan held golden cracklin’ corn bread she made each morning before the sun woke up. When her oven got hot enough to melt the unmeasured lard, she put the cornbread batter in, telling me to keep an eye on it, lest it burn. Her large, heavy iron pinto pot never held anything else. She’d shake seasonings … [Read more...]

Simmering Stew Brings a Community Together

A tasty pot of Brunswick stew draws a crowd in Mount Gilead.

by Ray Linville The center of small town is not always a town hall, courthouse, or church. Sometimes it’s a pot of bubbling stew as it is each fall in Mount Gilead, a community of slightly more than 1,000 residents in Montgomery County. Although the community is small, just about everyone knows about the Brunswick stew served when Brown’s Hardware has its open house. Incorporated in 1899, Mount Gilead … [Read more...]

Sweet Potatoes: Providing Fresh Food for the Needy

Sweet potatoes number in the hundreds of varieties that range from white and mild to dark red and very sweet. Omar Quintamilla, driver of the truck, cuts open a sweet potato to show that it is a white variety.

by Ray Linville North Carolina produces about half of all the sweet potatoes grown in the United States, and it has consistently ranked as the top producing state for more than 30 years. More than half of the state’s sweet potatoes are grown in only three counties – Sampson, Nash, and Johnston. These counties in eastern N.C. are prime growing locations with their rich, fertile soil and their hot, moist … [Read more...]

Christmas Cookies at Nana’s


by Laura Fieselman This is a ritual of the finest sort. It begins with dutiful contemplation and moves slowly through a prescribed set of dance moves. It requires specific equipment and traditional music. It crescendos with a pile of dishes in the sink and closes with the same narration each year. This is Christmas cookies at Nana's house. Nana, you must know, is my adopted grandmother. I have had the great … [Read more...]

Lumbee Fish Market: As Fresh as Being on the Coast

A quick fry prepares the croaker for supper.

by Ray Linville Drive to the beach along U.S. Highway 74 and tune in a local radio station. If you do, you might hear an ad for Lumbee Fish Market in Pembroke  that is so intriguing that you want to visit. It’s a market with fish that you might not expect in a location about two hours inland from coastal waters. Native Americans have lived in this region for centuries because streams and artesian wells … [Read more...]

The ultimate melting pot: Ethiopian Thanksgivikah


by Alison Aucoin As I made my shopping list for our Thanksgiving dinner, NPR inundated me with side dish suggestions for the hybrid holiday, Thanksgivikah. And just to keep the momentum of cultural stereotypes going, they added the traditional Jewish guilt: Thanksgiving won’t happen during Hannukah again for 80,000 years. Gah, 80,000 years is a lot of pressure, people! So as I looked at my menu and grocery … [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...]

Time for Persimmon Pudding

Persimmons recently picked and on display at the Colfax Persimmon Festival.

by Ray Linville Cool temperatures mean fall fruits and vegetables. When the summer temperatures drop, one tree becomes more noticeable as its round fruit ripens and takes on an orange-brown hue. Is it time to pick persimmons and make pudding? Many of us remember days from childhood when we asked if the persimmons could be picked. Impatiently we had to wait until the fruit was ready. Picked too early, persimmons … [Read more...]