Telling the stories of twelve North Carolina heritage foods, each matched to the month of its peak readiness for eating, Georgann Eubanks takes readers on a flavorful journey across the state. She begins in January with the most ephemeral of southern ingredients—snow—to witness Tar Heels making snow cream. In March, she takes a midnight canoe ride on the Trent River in search of shad, a bony fish with a savory history. In November, she visits a Chatham County sawmill where the possums are always first into the persimmon trees.
Talking with farmers, fishmongers, cooks, historians, and scientists, Eubanks looks at how foods are deeply tied to the culture of the Old North State. Some have histories that go back thousands of years. Garlicky green ramps, gathered in April and traditionally savored by many Cherokee people, are now endangered by their popularity in fine restaurants. Oysters, though, are enjoying a comeback, cultivated by entrepreneurs along the coast in December. These foods, and the stories of the people who prepare and eat them, make up the long-standing dialect of North Carolina kitchens. But we have to wait for the right moment to enjoy them, and in that waiting is their treasure.