Southern Food

Jason Thrasher

John T. Edge is a James Beard award-winning writer and author of the new book “The Potlikker Papers” (Penguin Press/ 2017). Edge grew up in rural Georgia eating biscuits and drinking sweet tea. He spent his career amassing stories of Southern food and the people who cook it.

A photo of a vintage Cheerwine delivery truck.
Courtesy of Cheerwine

It’s a big year for Cheerwine, the cherry-flavored soda with a cult-like following that has been run by the same family for 100 years.

Eno Publishers

A long wait for grape pie, the intricacies of hard crab stew, and a good life for a pig named Crisco are some of the stories in the new book "The Carolina Table" (Eno Publishers/2016).

Image of Sheri Castle on her first birthday
Courtesy of Sheri Castle

Note: This program is a rebroadcast from November 14, 2016.

Food and storytelling have gone hand in hand for Sheri Castle since she was a little girl. At the age of four, she wrote her first original recipe: a smoothie she called “Hawaiian Tropic Sunset Delight.”

Southern Season, Food, Gourmet Food, Chapel Hill
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Chapel Hill-based gourmet food retailer Southern Season was auctioned off today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Greensboro, before Judge Benjamin Kahn. 

Calvert Retail of Delaware acquired specific assets of Southern Season stores for $3.5 million.  The acquisition includes all of Southern Season's intellectual property, its website and the Chapel Hill store.

photo of a spread at Grady's Barbecue in Dudley, N.C.
Rien Fertel

North Carolina is the number two producer of pigs in America, and barbeque is by most accounts the state’s food. But historian Rien Fertel argues that most barbecue writing is hyperbole. 

In his new book “The One True Barbecue: Fire, Smoke, and the Pitmasters Who Cook The Whole Hog,” (Touchstone/2016) he examines the history of the southern barbecue art, and the wide range of mythology surrounding the meat and those who tend to it.

John Shelton Reed did not think of himself as a southerner until his classmates at MIT pointed it out.

The Tennessee native was going to school in the northeast just as the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s took off. It was the beginning of a career dedicated to the study of southern culture.

He came to it as a kind of outsider in his own home but quickly returned to his roots, helped create the Center for the Study of the American South at UNC-Chapel Hill, and has become one of the preeminent voices on the "correct" way to make North Carolina barbecue. 

Sandra Gutierrez is the author of 'Beans and Field Peas' and other cookbooks looking at Latin American and southern cuisine.
Matt Hulsman

From soft-shell crabs down east to baked beans cooked with a slab of pulled pork, crabs and beans are unquestionably essential to southern cuisine especially in North Carolina. 

Vivian Howard, Cynthia Hill, A Chef's Life
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Kinston is the heart of Lenoir County in eastern North Carolina.  Longtime residents say it was heart-breaking to see their hometown fall apart as traditional industries like textiles and tobacco disappeared.  But during the past decade a new, more diverse economic landscape has developed. 

One person who is getting a lot of credit for helping to transform her hometown of  Kinston is Chef Vivian Howard.

Nothing brings Kinston residents together like the annual BBQ Festival on the Neuse.

Image of Cliff Collins, owner of Cliff's Meat Market
D.L. Anderson

Cliff’s Meat Market has been a cornerstone of the food industry in the Triangle for more than four decades. Cliff Collins started the shop when he was in his 20s, and it’s now one of the last family-owned markets in the area. Many have noted that the key to Cliff’s success is his ability to evolve alongside the community he serves and create products to meet their needs.