May 27, 2015

Pepper’s Pizza

Pepper's Pizza 2

by Evan Hatch I always wanted to be a part of Pepper’s Pizza in Chapel Hill. Pepper’s hid in plain sight on Franklin Street, two doors down from the Varsity Theater, a narrow squeeze of a restaurant with checkerboard floors, whacked art hanging and a cast of incredible characters working the kitchen. It was Chapel Hill’s coolest anti fraternity.  The kitchen was an open space (the first one I’d ever seen) blaring … [Read more...]

Lenten Fish Fries in 2015

FishFrybyJeffreyW_tn

by Joy Salyers North Carolina historian David Cecelski helped start NC Food, delighting readers for the blog's first five years with his explorations of state foodways and his musings about food's connections to place, family, and all that is good in life. In 2011, he noted in a food blog post that “It’s one of the nice things about Friday nights this time of year: you can often find a fish fry at your local … [Read more...]

Enjoying Barbecue Prepared Like When You Were a Kid

A high billboard helps new customers know which exit to take to find Hill’s.

By Ray Linville Have you ever passed a restaurant, wondered how good its food is, but didn’t stop because you were saving money by not eating out? That’s my story about North Carolina barbecue when I was growing up. I grew up in the Piedmont in a stable but modest neighborhood of Winston-Salem. In the heart of “Lexington-style” barbecue, the closest restaurant was less than a mile from my house. Although it … [Read more...]

Old Havana Sandwich Shop

The "Not-So-Cuban" Sandwich is made with turkey and avocado.

by Evan Hatch The Old Havana Sandwich Shop faces Main Street in downtown  Durham, North Carolina. Business and life partners Elizabeth Turnbull and Roberto Copa Matos surely pinched themselves when they first saw the limestone edifice that became their restaurant.  Arched porticoes, vaulted windows and polished wood floors lend this space a warm and historic feel, redolent of Cuba. The Old Havana Sandwich Shop is … [Read more...]

Cabbage

Holubsti-Ukranian Cabbage Rolls

by Sally Parlier Every few months or so when I was young, my parents would get a craving for some fried cabbage, served with pinto beans, cornbread, and a tall, cold glass of milk. This was the food of their youth in Watauga County – filling, homegrown, and low cost – and still staples of our home in Deep Gap. But I was, and still am in many ways, a notoriously picky eater. I ate my pintos sulkily, trying to avoid … [Read more...]

A Food Sisterhood Flourishes in North Carolina, and then some

eliza

Just in case you weren't paying attention, North Carolina got some seriously good props this week from the New York Times. The North Carolina Food Sisterhood, to be exact, and it's a nice change from all the athletic and political press we've grown used to. We've always been an agricultural state and women have long worked the gardens and the fields. Now they are running them! Award-winning author and Atlanta … [Read more...]

North Carolina’s Official State Symbols That Taste Good, Part 1

Blueberries photo by Scott Bauer, courtesy of USDA Agricultural Research Service

by Deborah Miller Every state has its official list of chosen symbols. We all know, or should know, that our State Bird is the Cardinal and State Tree is the Dogwood. But why, and how, do such random things like dog, reptile, and even dance become official? In case you just moved to the Tar Heel state or have lived here your whole life but need a scorecard for all we hold near and dear, check out this very … [Read more...]

Recipe for Belonging

cookbok

by Malinda Fillingim Back in 1972, when I first moved to my step-father’s hometown of Walnut Cove, I was a lonely 13 year old surrounded by people who had grown up together and whose families had lived in the same community for generations. I had to find my own path and create my own sense of place, which can be a hard thing to do when some kids, like a boy I’ll call Phyllis, constantly told me I didn’t belong and … [Read more...]

Neuse River Fish Stew – a guest post by NC barbecue expert Bob Garner

Fish stew contains rounded, perfectly-poached eggs

by Bob Garner [Editor's note: We were so excited to receive an email from Winston-Salem's John F. Blair Publishing asking if we'd be interested in having Bob Garner write a guest post for NCFood. Bob Garner? THE North Carolina barbecue expert? You bet your prized hog, we were interested! Especially since his new book Foods That Make You Say MMM-MMM just came out. Bob is a television personality, restaurant … [Read more...]

Collards a lo Cubano

My (NC) family's dining room table in Ellerbe.

by Sarah Bryan Verlie Helsabeck Freeman was a vivid woman. She had a cat named Mr. Cat, a set of dentures that she took out of her mouth and clacked at frightened great-grandchildren, and—as she warned overly curious visitors who might snoop around the house—a booger in her basement. (To readers who aren’t from North Carolina, let me hasten to explain that a booger is like a goblin, a small, scary creature … [Read more...]