Amy Rogers

Coordinator of WFAEats

Amy Rogers is the author of Hungry for Home: Stories of Food from Across the Carolinas and Red Pepper Fudge and Blue Ribbon Biscuits. Her writing has also been featured in Cornbread Nation 1: The Best of Southern Food Writing, the Oxford American, and the Charlotte Observer. She is founding publisher of the award-winning Novello Festival Press. She received a Creative Artist Fellowship from the Arts and Science Council, and was the first person to receive the award for non-fiction writing. Her reporting has also won multiple awards from the N.C. Working Press Association. She has been Writer in Residence at the Wildacres Center, and a program presenter at dozens of events, festivals, arts centers, schools, and other venues. Amy Rogers considers herself “Southern by choice,” and is a food and culture commentator for NPR station WFAE.

What’s your favorite childhood food memory? Watching my mother in a gorgeous cocktail dress sneak into the kitchen before a party so she could eat some real food.

What’s your typical breakfast? Coffee, with a side order of extra coffee

What can you always find in your fridge? Half-and-half. Because you can put it in coffee, tea, cereal, frittatas, and lots of leftover things like tomatoes, potatoes and shellfish to make cream-of-whatever soup.

Kitchen tool(s) you can’t live without? I lived and cooked wonderful meals for literally decades with only one chef’s knife. I now have others but rarely use them.

If you aren’t in the kitchen, where are you? Visiting farm stands, markets, cafes, friends’ homes – anywhere there’s food to be sampled and enjoyed.

Amy Rogers’ website

bacon chocolate candy
Amy Rogers / WFAEats

When it comes to making holiday treats, I have a guarantee. Everything is “So homely that you know it’s homemade.”

This pre-emptive statement came in handy recently when I experienced my first melted chocolate failure. Yes, failure. The chocolate would. Not. Melt.

This was something I’d done a hundred times before. I put white chocolate chips in a glass bowl, heated them in the microwave according to the directions on the bag, removed the chips, and stirred with a wooden spoon.

Peter Pham / Flickr https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The invitation sounds innocent, fun even. “Come to a holiday cookie swap!” But be warned: You may find competitive bakers showing off – and showing up the rest of us.

Some people are cookie artisans. They bake edible embodiments of beauty. They create miniature masterpieces too pretty to eat.

runningtothekitchen.com/

Thirty million. That’s the number of pumpkin recipes a casual search will find on the internet. Now that it’s full-on fall, we’re skipping right over pie recipes to sample some of the more intriguing pumpkin preparations.

Start the day with a Pumpkin Pie Green Smoothie from the expert juicers at Hummusapien. Chia seeds and spinach make this green drink extra healthy.

Halloween apple bites
Angela Liddon / ohsheglows.com

Take away the blood and gore of Halloween, and what’s left? Not much for vegans – until now.

Creepy cupcakes, edible eyeballs, and frightful fruits; most everything can be made without animal ingredients.

Cover of the book 'treyf'
NAL/Berkley

On the day Elissa Altman visits North Carolina to speak at UNC-Chapel Hill, there’s a protester with a sign that reads “Stop Sinning” in front of the building where the author is headed.

“I actually had to laugh,” she says. “What is ‘Treyf’ about? Rule breaking. The forbidden and the ambiguity of life.”

The Hebrew term has a complicated meaning. Used most often to describe prohibited foods such as shellfish and pork, it can also refer to a person who is undesirable or improper. 

Spilled candy.
davebloggs007 / Flickr https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Lots of otherwise sensible people follow what’s known as the “5 Second Rule.” They believe if they drop food on the floor and pick it up fast enough, the food will avoid contamination from whatever nasty microbes are living and growing down there.

Turns out, they’re wrong. Recently, researchers at Rutgers University conducted experiments proving that food will basically behave like a sponge as it soaks up bacteria.

honeybees
Amy Rogers / WFAEats

George McAllister has the best-smelling basement in all of Charlotte. That’s where he extracts honey from his backyard hives – and invites other beekeepers to join him – on his annual honey harvest day each summer. It’s an awfully sticky business with a pretty sweet result, which we’ll describe in a moment. Until then, just imagine breathing in soft air that’s scented with candles made of sugar and the fragrance of a million flowers.

drawing of a painting from the caves of Cueva de la Arana
fr:Utilisateur:Achillea [GPL (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Around 8,000 years ago, when Stone Age humans hunted woolly mammoths, they also dug into rock crevices and climbed trees in search of wild honey.

How can we possibly know this, without the written language that wouldn’t be developed for at least 2,000 years?

A cave painting near Valencia, Spain, shows a prehistoric hunter bravely pulling honey from a tree hive while angry bees swarm all around.

woman in a bee suit
Amy Rogers / WFAEats

That buzz you hear isn’t just the honeybees – it’s the interest in keeping and gathering honey from “apis mellifera” that’s growing in the U.S.

Right now, we’re suiting up in protective gear so you don’t have to, and we’re smoking out the stories and lore to share with you next week.

But why wait? Here are some thoughts to whet your appetite until then.

blueberries growing on a bush
PhreddieH3, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Silly gardeners. While we've been sweating and struggling in the summer heat, the smart folks at the NC Cooperative Extension Service have been coolly building a giant online resource for us. Sponsored by N.C. State University, the Extension Gardener Handbook can solve just about any problem -- and enhance the experience of gardening for everyone. So pour yourself a cold beverage, find a shady spot, and check it out. 

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