“Bluff City BBQ opened last month — in a New York suburb.

“And there’s Memphis Style BBQ Company. Location:  Seminole, Florida.

“And there’s Porky J’s Memphis Style BBQ in San Antonio.

“And there’s a restaurant chain called Memphis Barbecue Co. operating  in Fayetteville, North Carolina….

“There are, of course, other regional favorites such as Texas beef barbecue, Kansas City barbecue with its thick, tomato- and molasses-based sauce, and the whole-hog North Carolina barbecue featuring a vinegary sauce.

” ‘But the Memphis style is “right up there at the top,” ‘ said [Linda] Orrison, National Barbecue [& Grilling] Association president.

” ‘As far as the consumer is concerned, that’s the one word that solidifies barbecue to them.’ ”

— From “BBQ spots across U.S. lay claim to ‘Memphis’ name” in the Memphis Commercial-Appeal (Jan. 20)


On this day in 1862: Pvt. D.L. Day, Co. B, 25th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, writing in his diary at Hatteras Inlet:

“Witnessing boat collisions and wrecks is getting old and the boys are amusing themselves by writing letters, making up their diaries, playing cards, reading old magazines and newspapers which they have read half a dozen times before; and some of them are actually reading their Bibles.

“Of all the lonely, God-forsaken looking places I ever saw, this Hatteras island takes the premium. It is simply a sandbar rising a little above the water…. I don’t think there is a bird or any kind of animal, unless it is a dog, on the island, not even a grasshopper, as one would have to prospect the whole island to find a blade of grass, and in the event of his finding one would sing himself to death…. It is the key, or gate-way, to nearly all of eastern North Carolina.”


“Students at elite colleges are even richer than experts realized, according to a new study based on millions of anonymous tax filings and tuition records.

“At 38 colleges in America, including five in the Ivy League – Dartmouth, Princeton, Yale, Penn and Brown – more students came from the top 1 percent of the income scale than from the entire bottom 60 percent.”

— From “Some Colleges Have More Students From the Top 1 Percent Than the Bottom 60. Find Yours.” in the New York Times (Jan. 18)

By this standard the widest wealth imbalance in North Carolina is among students at Elon University, where 14 percent come from the top 1 percent vs. 9 percent from the bottom 60 percent. 

Also making the top-heavy 38: Wake Forest University (22 percent vs. 17 percent), Duke University (19 percent vs. 17 percent) and Davidson College (17 percent vs. 16 percent). 

At UNC Chapel Hill the ratio is 6 percent of students from the top 1 percent to 21 percent from the bottom 60 percent.



Bacon Snaps from Körner’s Folly cookbook.


Bacon Roll-Ups from Heavenly delights.


Japanese Bacon Wrapped Shrimp from Cooking on the cutting edge.


Crunchy Bacon Coleslaw from Heavenly helpings, seasoned with love : recipes collected from great cooks past and present of White Oak Baptist Church, Archer Lodge, NC.


Bacon Wrap-Ups from What’s cookin’? in 1822.


Bacon Balls from Favorite recipes of the Carolinas : meats edition, including poultry and seafood.


“Woman’s College alumna Virginia Tucker ’30 [was] a trailblazer for the female mathematicians — known as ‘computers – highlighted in ‘Hidden Figures.’

“Tucker was one of five women to join the first human computer pool at Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in 1935.

“When World War II broke out, more women were recruited as computers to conduct wind tunnel testing and other critical research. Tucker recruited heavily at institutions across the East Coast. According to Margot Lee Shetterly, author of the book that inspired the movie, what is now UNC Greensboro graduated one of the largest cohorts of women who went on to work as human computers.

“By the early 1940s, Tucker was the head computer…. Shetterly writes:

“ ‘Over the course of twelve years, Virginia Tucker had ascended from a subprofessional employee to the most powerful woman at the lab. She had done so much to transform the position of computer from a proto-clerical job into one of the laboratory’s most valuable assets. … Between 1942 and 1946, four hundred Langley computers received training on Tucker’s watch.’

“In 1947, Tucker left civil service for a position as an aerodynamicist at Northrop Corporation, [but] her legacy continued to pave the way for female mathematicians, including the three African-American women whose stories are told in the movie.’ ”

— From “UNCG shares unique connection to movie ‘Hidden Figures’ ” in UNCG Now (Jan. 5)

How an archivist struck gold while sifting through class notes. 


“GATESVILLE, N.C. — Gates County historian Linda Hofler pointed to a tiny place on the map where the boundary between North Carolina and Virginia turns just a little.

“About a half-mile is all.

 “ ‘It’s one of those quirks, and you wonder why in the world,’ said Hofler, who taught history in Gates County… for more than 30 years.

“Well, there is a story behind that entire line, including the southward jog, that mostly involves collecting taxes and avoiding swamps….”

— From “Along North Carolina-Virginia border, a tiny turn in the map and a history of lies and controversy” by Jeff Hampton in the Virginian-Pilot


“The Government Publishing Office [is] officially changing the designation from ‘Indianian’ to ‘Hoosier’ in all federal documents….

“Indiana’s U.S. senators pushed for the change, saying in a letter to the office’s style board chairman that those living in the state ‘have always called ourselves Hoosiers.’ The senators argued that while ‘Indianian’ might follow the style for describing state residents — such as Floridian or Californian — ‘Indiana residents do not use this word. In fact, we find it a little jarring to be referred to in this way’….

The government style book keeps variations on the state names for all other U.S. residents. No ‘Tar Heels’ for North Carolina or ‘Sooners’ for Oklahoma. ‘Hawaii residents’ is the only other break from standard form.”

— From “Federal government: Indiana residents officially ‘Hoosiers’” by Tom Davies of the Associated Press (Jan. 12)

Of course, Indiana lacks North Carolina’s ferocious intrastate competition among colleges, which would make the  Government Publishing Office instantly regret designating all residents as Tar Heels.

“Sgt. John Dwyer, who was not listening to the radio, was on the desk at the Charlotte Police Department that Sunday night. He became aware of the hysteria when a woman walked in, an infant in one arm, a Bible in the other and a trembling boy clutching at her dress. She asked for protection from Martians.

“ ‘Sgt. Dwyer admitted that it was the strangest request the department had ever had,’ The Charlotte Observer reported the next morning beneath the banner headline: ‘Thousands Terrified By Mock-War Broadcast.’ He did his best to assure her all was well and sent her home.

“She was but the vanguard of Charlotteans who would be appealing to police that night, most of them by phone.

“At the Observer, calls poured in seeking information on the invaders’ advance. After answering 100, those on duty lost track of the number.

“ ‘Many of them refused to believe that what they heard was a play,’ the paper said. ‘Others seemed panic stricken.’ ”

— From “Remembering the night WBT dominated the scarewaves” by Mark Washburn in the Charlotte Observer (Oct. 30, 2013)


“In June [1948] we went down to Rocky Mount, North Carolina, for the annual June German Dance at the Tobacco Planters’ Warehouse, and according the newspaper reports we played two sessions that added up to over 24,000 people. The first session was from 10 to 1, and the second session was from  2 until 5 in the morning. That was the biggest crowd that they had ever had….Naturally, that many people couldn’t get inside the warehouse. There were loudspeakers which carried the music to the acres and acres of people outside.”

— From  “Good Morning Blues: The Autobiography of Count Basie” (2002) 

At least in this account, Count Basie doesn’t mention the black community’s June German on Mondays following the white June Germans on Fridays.


Robert Warren, an ecologist at Buffalo State University who lived for years in North Carolina, [noticed] something peculiar about a tree species sprinkled through the southern Appalachians. Honey locusts are covered with enormous, glossy thorns, some as long as your hand, and they bear long brown seed pods. They prefer poor, salty soil. But Warren was seeing them scattered in the lush river valleys….  ‘One day I was out in the field,’ he recalls, ‘and it dawned on me that every time I saw a honey locust, I could throw a rock and hit an archaeological site.’

“It took years to develop and verify the insight that he published in a PLOS One paper: The honey locust’s distribution seems to be more closely linked to the existence of centuries-old Cherokee settlements than to its ecological niche. The signature of people forced off this land by Andrew Jackson more than 150 years ago still remains in the form of these trees.

“With the permission of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Warren surveyed their land, as well as national forests and other private land, for trees. He also investigated whether the trees could have been borne to their destinations by cattle or deer or on rivers….

“[But] the explanation that fits best is that people brought them along for food and other purposes…. He once thought he had found a honey locust with no tie to an archaeological site, in North Carolina. But this one, too, turned out to have a human connection. The friend who brought Warren there explained that a Cherokee man used to live nearby. The night before he was forced to leave for Oklahoma, Chief Rabbit had signed the property over to a new owner, and a tree from that time is still standing….”

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