We try to acquire all of the latest barbecue literature, and have just received a copy of Wilber W. Caldwell’s Searching for the Dixie Barbecue: Journeys Into the Southern Psyche (Pineapple Pres, 2005).

The restaurants Caldwell visits are primarily in Georgia and Alabama, but there is a short discussion of the Red Pig Barbecue in Concord, N.C. We admire Caldwell’s scientific approach to his subject. In a comprehensive side dish survey of fifty restaurants, he found that the dishes that most commonly accompany barbecue are cole slaw, baked beans, and potato salad. At the bottom of the list we find rice, apple sauce, greens, and black-eyed peas. The numerical approach returns in the appendix which includes a “Funk Factor Rating Guide.” Searching for the Dixie Barbecue is nicely illustrated with black and white photographs of restaurants throughout the South.

Movers and Shakers

Recent editions of the Polk City Directory include a “Movers & Shakers Section.” We’re guessing that this section was compiled to appeal to marketers trying to reach people described by the publisher as “the most affluent individuals, professionals, business owners and key executives within the community.” Since librarians are, typically, neither affluent nor would we be described as “key executives,” we were surprised to find a few of our colleagues listed as Movers & Shakers. We always knew how important our work was, but it’s nice to see it confirmed in print.

Are you a “Mover & Shaker”? Polk City Directories are available for most larger towns and cities in North Carolina. Stop by your local library or contact us at the North Carolina Collection to see if there’s a directory for your community.

Yardley on Franklin

Jonathan Yardley reviews Mirror to America: The Autobiography of John Hope Franklin in yesterday’s Washington Post. Franklin, currently Professor Emeritus of History at Duke and one of the nation’s pre-eminent historians, has a long connection with North Carolina. His doctoral dissertation at Harvard was on free African Americans in antebellum North Carolina and was later published by the UNC Press in 1943 as The Free Negro in North Carolina, 1790-1860. Franklin has taught at a number of colleges and universities including North Carolina Central.

Jonathan Yardley is a Tar Heel himself, a 1961 graduate of the University of North Carolina, and former editor of the student newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel.

Tar Heel Cookery

North Carolina cooking is getting lots of attention these days. UNC Press has recently published Marcie Cohen Ferris’s Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South and Mildred Council’s Mama Dip’s Family Cookbook. Another well-known Chapel Hill chef, Bill Smith, has just come out with Seasoned in the South: Recipes from Crook’s Corner and from Home.

Naturally, we started to wonder how all of this began and searched our catalog for the oldest North Carolina cookbook that we could find. We came up with the book The Family Token, or Book of Practical Arts and Sciences, by “An Eminent Physician,” published in Greensboro in 1854. There is an impressive amount of information in this slim volume. It contains not only recipes, but home remedies and moral advice. Thus, not only can you learn how to roast mutton and fowls, the author gives advice on treating a common sore throat (gargle salt, vinegar, pepper, and water), and killing weeds in a brick walk (keep them moist with brine three weeks in spring and one week in fall).

As a service to our readers, we present the following recipe from The Family Token:


One cup of sugar, one of cream, three eggs, a tea-spoon of saleratus; cut in strips, twist and fry in lard.

If you don’t have any saleratus in your cupboard, baking powder is an acceptable substitute.

David Sedaris on Dogs

Sedaris The North Carolina Collection attempts to acquire translations of novels and other works by North Carolina authors. We’ve been particularly successful acquiring translations of popular novelists such as Orson Scott Card, Patricia Cornwell, and Nicholas Sparks. Hundeleben is something a little different—original verse (dog poems!) by Raleigh native David Sedaris, translated into German and amusingly illustrated.

Fall Book Preview

The Washington Post has published their great fall book preview, which includes a few works by North Carolina authors to which we can look forward.

The Life Around Me by Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons is a long-awaited sequel to her 1987 novel, Ellen Foster. Mirror to America, the memoir of John Hope Franklin, acclaimed historian and emeritus faculty member at Duke, will be published in November. And we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the publication this month of Driven From Within, the fifth book by Michael Jordan.

Jesse Helms on TV

Jesse Helms’s forthcoming memoir, Here’s Where I Stand, is scheduled to be published this fall by Random House. The News & Observer’s Rob Christensen had a preview in Friday’s paper. Christensen included several quotes from Helms’s television editorials. Longtime North Carolinians will remember that Helms first came to the public’s attention when he delivered the nightly editorial, entitled “Viewpoint,” on WRAL-TV in Raleigh. His editorials were often picked up and re-run througout the state on the Tobacco Radio Network. Helms appeared regularly on the station from 1960 until 1972, when he left to run for the Senate.

The North Carolina Collection has a full set of transcripts of the “Viewpoint” editorials. These are continually one of our most popular resources, with students and faculty using them to trace the development of Helms’s political philosophies, and to study his growing influence in North Carolina and national politics. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any way to view the editorials as they were originally televised. We asked WRAL several years ago and they said that they never kept copies of the editorials. In the days when broadcasts were filmed, it was simply too expensive to keep archival copies of everything, and they were recorded over.