Dig into the culture, history of NC food at conference

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, May 6, 2015

CHAPEL HILL — The history, geography and culture of North Carolina food will be the focus of a two-day conference May 29 and 30 at the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education.

Registration for “Carolina Cornucopia: A Conference on Foodways of the Tar Heel State” is now open via the conference website at http://ncfoodways.web.unc.edu/. The North Carolina Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Wilson Special Collections Library is sponsoring the event, which is free except for an optional dinner program.

The conference goal is to explore “what we eat, how we eat, and how we talk about food in North Carolina,” said one of the conference organizers, John Blythe of the North Carolina Collection.

Panelists will dig into topics ranging from food in early North Carolina to recent food documentaries and food in blogs, podcasts, and social media.

Chef and food writer Moreton Neal will be part of a panel centered on her late husband’s book, “Bill Neal’s Southern Cooking.” This year marks the 30th anniversary of Neal’s now-classic exploration of the region’s cuisine.

Guests at the wine reception and dinner on May 29 ($40 per person) will hear from UNC-TV personality Bob Garner and food writer Carroll Leggett about their favorite food finds along North Carolina’s highways and back roads.

Blythe said the inspiration for the conference is the library’s growing collection of local and community cookbooks. A selection of these will be on view over the summer as part of a free public exhibition in Wilson Library. “From Brunswick Stew to Barbecue: The Cookbook as Cultural History” opens June 18 and will be on view through October 4.

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