February 12, 2016

Diner Food and Motorcycles

  By Ray Linville   What about cold temperatures makes us hungry for hot, homemade soup? When you’re traveling on a chilly winter day, do you look for a diner and hope that it has freshly made, steaming hot soup ready to serve?   As I was traveling on U.S. Highway 64 near the eastern edge of Asheboro in Randolph County, I spotted an interesting-looking two-story building. On one side … [Read more...]

Starting the New Year with Food (and Politics)

  by Ray Linville   A community can come together on special occasions, such as New Year’s Day. When the “good luck” foods of the South are provided free by elected officials and political candidates, the crowd can swell and create a huge waiting line, just the perfect opportunity for politicians to meet and greet voters and constituents to chat with their … [Read more...]

Boiled Peanuts for Sale

by Ray Linville   What makes boiled peanuts so enjoyable in the Old North State? “Boiling peanuts brings out a kind of mellowness to the nut which is ... like tasting ripeness in a pear,” says food historian David Shields.   Peanuts, planted in May, are ready for harvest in September and October. Although raw in the shell and roasted varieties are popular, this state has a long-standing … [Read more...]

Scuppernongs and Other Muscadines Are Ready

  by Ray Linville     It’s scuppernong time. The historic grape is ripe and ready across the state in grocery stores, at roadside stands, and from u-pick-it vineyards—along with other varieties of the muscadine. Autumn means it’s time to appreciate and enjoy these indigenous grapes. They sustained Native Americans, European explorers and colonists, enslaved and indentured workers, … [Read more...]

Collard Shack Revisited

by Ray Linville A trip to the small town of Ayden is usually for wood-cooked barbecue because it’s the home to two of the state’s premier BBQ establishments – Skylight Inn and Bum’s Restaurant. However, when I traveled there, I was searching for The Collard Shack as much as I was for chopped whole hog barbecue.   In 2011 when David Cecelski wrote about The Collard Shack in one of his legacy posts on … [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...]

Keeping Wild Foods in Our Culinary Culture

by Ray Linville Is cooking with wild foods out of place in today’s modern society? Because it’s so old-fashioned, I was surprised by how many kids had entered the Wild Food Cooking Contest in Richmond County.  It’s the event of the spring in Ellerbe, NC, when youth and adults show off their skills for cooking deer, moose, rabbit, beaver, squirrel, and other wild game. After the judges have scored each entry, … [Read more...]

Pruning Peach Orchards: A Lifetime Skill and Dedication

by Ray Linville Nothing says spring like the arrival of flower blossoms, particularly in the Sandhills and eastern North Carolina with blooms on acres and acres of peach trees. Many in North Carolina believe that our state’s peaches are the best (they’re right) and that peaches are native to the South (they’re wrong). Cultivated in China for more than 3,000 years, peaches arrived in the Americas in 1571 … [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...]

Enjoying Barbecue Prepared Like When You Were a Kid

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...]