September 26, 2016

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...]

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...]

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...]

Benne for Good Luck

by Sarah Bryan   As Christmas of 2015 approached, I discovered yet another reason to be glad that I work for NC Folk. I already knew that my colleagues, Executive Director Joy Salyers and Director of Programs and Development Evan Hatch, are great folks to work with: they’re kind, smart, and deeply dedicated to NC Folk’s work of preserving and promoting the traditional cultures of North Carolina. What I … [Read more...]

Official NC Food Festivals in May 2015

by Deborah Miller It’s not like we don’t have anything good to eat around here. We arise food. We talk about food. We read about food. We drive miles out of the way for a “food” experience. What choice did North Carolina have but to honor and designate some long-existing events as“Official State Food Festivals?” April was mighty busy with festivals honoring food and wine in North Carolina. Just consider the NC … [Read more...]

Stan’s Pimento Cheese

by Evan Hatch Stan’s is one of those North Carolina answers. Like Duke’s. And Sweet. And “Yes I want slaw on that.” The question is, “What is the bestest pimento cheese ever?" It is rich. It is mayonnaisey. It is so creamy. It is from Burlington. I have not always taken a lot of pride in being from Burlington, North Carolina. Bur-Vegas it was called by bored teenagers. But looking back on it – Burlington proves to … [Read more...]

Making Mac and Cheese Better with N.C. Mountain Cheese

by Ray Linville What’s the most important ingredient in macaroni and cheese? Except for the love that the preparer personally adds, is one item more important than anything else? The questions may seem frivolous because today the recipe at home can be quite simple – unless you’re Thomas Jefferson, who was so consumed with serving the perfect macaroni that he bought a pasta-making machine in Europe. For his … [Read more...]

North Carolina’s Official State Symbols That Taste Good, Part 2

by Deborah Miller These are the things that keep me up at night. I'm an unashamed "wonderer."  My friends all laugh at me when I'd ask "those" questions.  You know, "why are some raindrops big and some little?" and "who ever figured out how to eat an artichoke in the first place?"  Yes, they'd even air quote me when they saw one coming. I'm content to stay curious, now and forever more. Somebody warn me if I ever … [Read more...]

Lenten Fish Fries in 2015

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...]