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Savor Linda Kepley’s dumplings and slaw at Chicken & Pickin’

Chicken & Pickin'

What: Food, music and a chance to see a historic roller mill. A Rowan Museum fundraiser for maintenance and operations of the mill.

When: 5-7 p.m. Saturday.

Where: China Grove Roller Mill, 308 N. Main St., China Grove.

Food: Homemade chicken and dumplings, slaw, drink and desserts.

Music: MGM performs with Mary Gillespie on guitar and vocals; Graham Carlton, guitar and vocals; Melissa B. Adams, fiddle; Mark Jennings, bass.

Cost; $10, adults; $5, kids.


CHINA GROVE — Here she goes again.

It’s not enough that Linda Kepley is making her famous chicken and dumplings for the Chicken & Pickin’ this Saturday (5-7 p.m.) at China Grove Roller Mill. She’s also preparing gallons of her noteworthy German slaw.

“Nothing tastes like this slaw,” says Linda’s oldest grandson, Aaron Kepley, executive director of Rowan Museum.

Aaron has slyly persuaded his grandmother and mother, Tammy Kepley, to provide the main menu items for this second annual Chicken & Pickin.’

“It is a lot of work, and she and my mom do pretty much all of it,” Aaron said.

The proceeds from Saturday’s meal go toward the maintenance and operations of the roller mill. Rowan Museum owns the 1903 structure, which still has all its original milling machinery.

The three-story roller mill, located at 308 N. Main St. in China Grove, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

But you also get the feeling Aaron Kepley had a hand in creating Chicken & Pickin’ just so he could savor the dumplings and slaw.

Linda Kepley prepares the food in the kitchen of their church, Grace Lower Stone in Rockwell, and on Saturday all the food will be transported to the roller mill in industrial-size coolers.

Linda was making a batch of her German slaw at the church Wednesday afternoon.

“I still can’t eat other people’s slaw,” Aaron Kepley said, watching her shred the cabbage with a hand-cranked grinder. “Dr. (Gary) Freeze called this the best German slaw he’s had.”

Linda Kepley combines cabbage, tomatoes, vinegar, sweet pickles, sugar and salt in amounts she knows by feel and constant tasting. The longer it sits, the better it tastes.

“It’s best to leave it to the professionals,” Aaron said, constantly buttering up his grandmother. “This slaw has tasted the same as long as I remember.”

Aaron said Rowan Museum has bigger plans for the roller mill, and fundraisers such as Saturday’s two-hour Chicken & Pickin’ help keep the lights on and pay for staff when there are programs at the mill.

Future plans are for many students to be visiting the roller mill and hearing about its history through Rowan-Salisbury Schools’ Horizons Unlimited program. This summer and fall, the mill has hosted a baseball exhibit designed by Terry Holt and focusing on southern Rowan County.

Last year’s Chicken & Pickin’ didn’t have to turn anyone away, but it essentially sold out of chicken and dumplings.

The Kepleys have made enough this year to serve at least 250 people, probably more. The menu also includes desserts. (See the accompanying information box for details.) Music will be provided by MGM.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.


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