In Good Taste: Hot Topics At The Table

Sep 29, 2015
Dirck Hals, Amusing Party in the Garden, c. 1621 / Wikimedia Commons

Dear Etta Kate: Recently I was invited to a casual dinner at a neighbor's home. I was shocked at the dinner conversation. I was always taught there are certain topics never to be brought up at the table – such as sex, politics, and money. Has this changed? Are the rules different based on the formality of the occasion? Please help!

Tastelessly Titillated

Peach-less In Carolina

Sep 21, 2015
Amy Rogers / WFAEats

Unless you're a peach farmer, you may not have noticed that 2015 was a terrible year in the Carolinas. 

But that's what we discovered when we pulled up to Dori Sanders' place for our end-of-season expedition a few weeks ago. There were no peaches for sale at the Sanders' family farm stand in Filbert, S.C. The wooden plank shelves were all but empty. 

Up the hill, we could see the trees laden with rosy-gold fruit under a bright blue sky. What could explain such a scene?

Storey Publishing

Here’s a must-have book for all food lovers. The Food Activist Handbook by Ali Berlow is not a cookbook, but it’s guaranteed to satisfy another kind of appetite: our hunger to make a difference.

Some of the ideas will be familiar: Contribute to a food pantry, plant a school garden, join a food co-op.

Mecklenburg County Cooperative Extension Service/Family and Consumer Sciences

Are you sick of pickles? After a season slammed with cucumbers, your friends at WFAEats were ready to say goodbye to that summer staple.

Once again, Mecklenburg County Cooperative Extension Service came to the rescue with this fun and simple recipe for Garden Cucumber Chips – using nothing more than a home dehydrator and a handful of readily available spices.

1 and ½ large cucumbers, peeled and sliced thin (about 4 cups)

½ teaspoon of olive oil

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon dill weed

Courtesy Carolina Farm Trust

Are you savoring the farm to table movement? Love farmer’s markets? Think about this: While you are shopping and dining, North Carolina is losing more than 100,000 acres of farmland a year to development.

Tamra Wilson

I remember my first dish of homemade ice cream. I was five years old and my parents had been invited to a preacher’s house. Adults sat on webbed lawn chairs while the minister and others took turns cranking the metal handle attached to a wooden bucket. After an eternity, the canister was opened. Inside was the most wonderful soft vanilla ice cream I had ever tasted.

Growing up, I coveted our neighbors’ ice cream freezer. They had an electric model that would buzz and grind forever until we were invited over to partake of vanilla custard heaven.

Cocktails: The Answer To All That Mint

Aug 12, 2015
Amanda Clark

As Southerners, we’re used to this summer heat. Stifling as it may be, it means many of my favorite things: juicy peaches, ripe watermelon, drippy ice cream cones – and one thing I try and tackle each year – using up all this mint. If you’re like me, you have it growing out of your ears. I’ve often wondered, “What can I possibly do with all of this mint, besides garnish a pretty dessert?”

CSA Love: A Bushel And A Peck

Aug 2, 2015
Joanne Joy

This year, I finally bought a CSA share. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a way for consumers to connect with and support local farmers while reaping the benefits of wholesome local meats and vegetables. You pay a lump sum, usually a few hundred dollars, at the beginning of the season for a “share” of meat or vegetables, or a combination of both. Then, each week your farmer puts your share together in a box for pick up.

All About 'Aquafaba'

Jul 22, 2015
Erin Zimmerman/Vegan Meringue -- Hits and Misses

Here are two words we never see together: “vegan” and “meringue.” That’s because meringues, those sugar-browned peaks atop lemon pie, are made from egg whites. So are macarons, the French cookies sandwiched around jam or other sweet fillings.

Replacing whole eggs in desserts with applesauce or other fruit-based products is easy. But replacing just the egg whites needed for meringue – with an ingredient a home cook can sweeten, whip, and bake – has been almost impossible.

Tarun.real/wikimedia commons

Want a different kind of nibble on these long summer days when it’s too hot to cook? Graze your way through a bountiful buffet of food poems. Here’s a sampler of some favorites (with links to the full works on

Start the day with Elizabeth Bishop and “A Miracle for Breakfast”: