Sweet history

IMG_1038Foy Allen Edelman decided she was going to travel North Carolina with her camera and tape recorder, to collect recipes, memories and food traditions before they faded away. She had no thoughts about what to do with all the information once she gathered it, but knew it was a project that she had to do.

I met Foy a couple of years ago, heard some of the history she collected and tasted some fine cooking. She has collected fascinating information about the way North Carolinians lived and fed one another.

And she found an outlet. “Sweet Carolina: Favorite Desserts and Candies from the Old North State” has just been published by the University of North Carolina Press. As the name indicates, the book focuses on the desserts from the material she has collected. (Hopefully, there’ll be other books; the world needs to read the tale of how to cook a bear.)

But the real tale is in the resilience and imagination of the cooks who provided their recipes and life stories. As Foy writes: “The ability to take anything you have, make something good out of it, and share it is perhaps the most characteristic tradition of all.”

You can hear about how to make sorghum molasses (with a recipe for Molasses Cake), the story of Chew Bread and vignettes of life throughout history. Recipes cover the range from cakes, pies and cobblers to ice creams and candies.

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