January 24, 2017

Nick’s Grill

Text and photos by Madison Heltzel Like many sub-rural stretches of Western North Carolina, my neck of the North Asheville woods is graced with an abundance of small burger-and-shake joints. In fact, there is one located directly across the street from my humble abode. However, whenever that inevitable burger-craving hits, I usually find myself hopping on a bike and riding a bit farther up the street to Nick’s … [Read more...]


Text and photos by William Ritter As the leaves begin to fall and cold weather (sort of) begins to set in, pumpkin pies, pumpkin soups, and pumpkin ales start popping up on menus across the state. Historically, though, many western North Carolina families let the pumpkins go to the hog pen, and it was candyroaster squash that graced the table instead. Don’t get me wrong, I love a pumpkin pie, but the orange … [Read more...]

Beyond the Music: Feeding the Merlefest Masses for Community Causes

Text and photos by Leanne E. Smith When 75,000 people gather for four days at a music festival, they will eat a lot of food. If that festival is Merlefest, they will have plenty of choices from longtime favorites to newer offerings. Food vendors are scattered throughout the festival grounds at the Wilkes Community College campus in Wilkesboro, NC, but the center of the morning-to-night food scene is the circus-sized … [Read more...]

“I Can Feed You”—Farming, Activism, and Food Justice

Text and photos By Virginia Hamilton This summer was a particularly rough one. While wading through a host of personal issues, I was also absorbing a constant onslaught of images of bloodied, dust-covered children being pulled from wreckage and black bodies dying on shaky cell phone cameras. Refugees, soaking and sinking. Too little water and way too much water. White men yelling endlessly on television. A … [Read more...]

Livermush Monday at the Grocery Basket & Grill in Ferguson, NC

by Leanne E. Smith At the Grocery Basket & Grill in Ferguson, North Carolina, Labor Day Monday is Livermush Monday. On the day after the Happy Valley Fiddler’s Convention, Livermush Monday is a somewhat new music gathering celebrating an older foodways tradition and the longtime local eatery. Traveling from the festival towards Wilkesboro, the first left after the parking lot shared by the Ferguson Fire … [Read more...]

Cataloochee Prune Cake

by Sarah Bryan   In some ways the border between the Carolinas is fluid. The two largest towns that are on or a few miles from the state line—Charlotte and Myrtle Beach—seem mismatched with their respective states. Charlotte could be mistaken for a bustling, shiny, businesslike version of the self-image of the state to the south, and Myrtle Beach for a vacation outpost of its northern neighbor. Of … [Read more...]

Ramp Seasoning

While I've been enjoying the sun of the last two days -- walking down to the river by my house (accompanied by my two cats who stalk about like they think they are local bobcats), and especially enjoying the spectacular sunsets -- my sister in Des Moines has been posting about the first major snow of the year there.   Quite a contrast! So many of our various Solstice and Yule celebrations are … [Read more...]

Making Do With Fall Apples

by Joy Salyers I took my children with me to the North Carolina Folklore Society meeting in Cullowhee, NC October 9 and 10. I was confident that we would encounter learning opportunities to rival a day of school. We drove first to the Musuem of the Cherokee Indian, where they got Jerry Wolfe's autograph, sat riveted by the telling of traditional Cherokee legends, and fought over the camera to take their own … [Read more...]

Pat Franklin’s Mama’s Banana Pudding

by Leanne E. Smith When Pat Franklin buys fifty pounds of bananas at one time the second week in June, the cashiers at Ingles grocery store in Marshall, North Carolina, give her funny looks. What could someone possibly do with the contents of a cart loaded with bunches of bananas, boxes of Nilla wafers and vanilla Jell-O pudding, a few gallons of milk, and several containers of Cool Whip and sour cream? Of course: … [Read more...]

Where Food Is More Than Only Something to Eat

by Ray Linville Food is more than simply sustenance. Kitchens are more than places to prepare and eat meals. No place is better for demonstrating the value in society of food and kitchens than The King’s Kitchen in Charlotte, NC. As its customers enjoy the menu of the day, the unemployed, underemployed, difficult to employ, and recently released prison inmates learn culinary and food service … [Read more...]