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”:

Sally's Pimiento Cheese

Jul 2, 2015
Amanda Clark

My grandmother’s pimiento cheese is the best in the world. Whether it’s spread on a salty cracker or between two slices of grilled, buttered bread, there’s no wrong way to enjoy it. Being an aficionado and a self-proclaimed pimiento cheese expert, I’ve had my fair share of the “Caviar of the South,” as it’s often called.

Some might wonder, “What could possibly be more unhealthy than cheese and mayonnaise?” when the question they should be asking is: “How can I incorporate this into every single meal?”

Charlotte Jewish Film Festival

Ziggy Gruber wants to taste your chicken soup. And he’s traveling all the way from Texas to do it.

Gruber’s career as a lifelong “Deli Man” has been featured in a documentary film of the same name. And he’ll be making an appearance in person at the Charlotte Jewish Film Festival’s 2nd Annual Fan Appreciation Day on July 19. That’s where he’ll head up a panel of professional soup-slurpers that will choose the best chicken soup in all of Charlotte.

Tamra Wilson

Pie or cake?

From time to time, a southern magazine or newspaper will pose that question and invite readers to weigh in. That only goes to show how Southerners don’t know pie like they should.

Where I grew up in Central Illinois, the dessert question is this: What kind of pie shall you have? Ice cream is the consolation prize when all the pie is gone. Cake, banana pudding, and cheesecake aren’t in the running.

Mecklenburg County Center of the N.C. Cooperative Extension

How hot is hummus these days? It’s everywhere from cookouts to cocktail parties. But most of the time, it’s pretty bland and uninspired.

So we were happy to see this recipe for a lively green hummus, courtesy of our friends at the Mecklenburg County branch of N.C. Cooperative Extension agency. It’s perfect for those days when the herb garden goes wild, when you’re drowning in dill, overrun with oregano, buried under all that basil.

In Good Taste: 'Entertaining' Neighbors

Jun 2, 2015

Dear Etta Kate: Now that the season of outdoor parties is upon us, I need your help. I like to host cookouts at my place. It can be hard to contain the noise -- not to mention the aromas -- from all the activity. My neighbor Heidi lives next door. A friend told me I must invite Heidi to my next cookout. Is that true? What are my obligations to my neighbors? I want to enjoy my summer. Sincerely, Cookie