Tamra Wilson

WFAEats Contributor

Tamra Wilson’s mother hated to cook and take-out in their small Illinois farm town was Dog ‘n’ Suds or Dairy Queen. Somehow Tamra escaped the pre-packed world of boxes and cans to win the Betty Crocker Award in high school. She learned about the greater food world through travel, imitation and (what else) the big orange Betty Crocker Cookbook. She’s a writer at heart and recently published her first collection, Dining with Robert Redford & Other Stories. The Wilsons have lived in North Carolina since 1979.

Favorite Flavor: maple

Who would you most like to have dinner with? Robert Redford

Most Exotic Food I Ever Tasted: Squid cooked with the ink sac. The dish, served in a bowl, resembled a boiled tire. There is probably a name for this; I call it “never again.”

What can you always find in your fridge? Open bottle of Chardonnay, skim milk, leftovers, farm-fresh eggs, home-canned zucchini relish and more leftovers.

If you got to choose your last meal, what would it be? Lobster. I did not go to the University of Southern Maine for nothing.

Best kitchen gift ever received: A handwritten cookbook my Dad made for my grandmother in 1936. The personal notations are priceless.

Most Memorable Kitchen Disaster: Unbeknownst to me, our oven was on the blink when I baked a red velvet cake for a church potluck. Not realizing the inside of the cake was raw (trust me on this), I iced the cake and took it to the picnic where people oohed and ahhed about the unusual “pudding.” After the meal, a large Labrador retriever leaned across the table and gobbled what was left, thus ending further questions about the recipe.

Pages

WFAEats
12:46 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

If You Can't Beat It, Eat It

Kudzu covering a field and trees.
Credit *Kid*Doc*One*/Flickr

News bulletin: kudzu is a food.

You can fry the leaves, chop it for casseroles and quiches, candy, jelly and more. Just as the folks at May’s Chapel United Methodist Church near Maiden. They’ve celebrated kudzu dishes for years. I dropped by there last month.

Of course most consider kudzu a scourge of the South, a once-welcomed Asian import to cure soil erosion, a monster whose tendrils choke trees, smother shrubs, and turn entire fields and hillsides into snake havens.

Read more
WFAEats
12:00 am
Thu September 20, 2012

Yes, We Have Livermush

Livermush sandwich with fried egg, at a restaurant in Durham NC
Flickr/ross.grady

The Livermush Belt. You in the Piedmont know what I’m talking about…that string of counties from Cleveland to Guildford, where you can order a livermush sandwich on any given day.

Poor man’s paté they call it, a meat substance so indigenous to North Carolina that Tar Heel ex-pats have been known to to smuggle it out in coolers to far reaches of the country.

I first encountered the stuff when I moved here in the 1970s. I’d grown up with cornmeal mush in the Cornbelt, but livermush? I eyed the khaki-gray block suspiciously in the grocery store cooler.

Read more
WFAEats
12:00 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Lunchmeat, My Beach-Time Treat

Lunchmeat

Nothing captures the spirit of Myrtle Beach like lunchmeat. Salami, bologna, pickle loaf and all the rest are bad for you, but whoever said a place that sells saltwater taffy is good for you?

The Grand Strand is all about having fun and instant gratification. So what if it’s fattening and unhealthy? What else is a beach trip for?

Read more
WFAEats
12:00 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Yes, I Can… Vegetables

Canning season has come early this year. Pee Paw’s garden is overproducing, Syl says. She picks and stems the beans; I own the canner. We share the lids, rings and the jars.

This all began last year when we decided to eat more local and healthy. I invested $99 in a  pressure canner and attended a canning clinic at Home Extension.

“Follow the rules,” the agent advised. “Treat this like a science project,” which meant scalding the jars, sterilizing the lids, discarding rusty rings.

“Botulism can kill you. You must process properly to kill the varmints inside the jar.”

Read more
WFAEats
12:00 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Meat And Potatoes

Meat seeks potato for long-lasting friendship.
Credit whatwehadfordinner/Flickr

You can’t have a decent meal without meat and potatoes, my mother insisted. True to her Irish roots, both were mandatory for a balanced meal – especially the potatoes.

Going on a picnic? Lunch meat or hotdogs were the meat and potato chips or potato salad was the side dish.

Having fried chicken? Mashed potatoes were expected. Meatloaf? Mashed potatoes again.  Steak? Baked potatoes came into play.

Read more

Pages