Collection

A Place at the Table: Food Histories

A Place at the Table is not about recipes. While there’s a lot of good food here, A Place at the Table is more about food traditions and foodways: the ways that food connects, nourishes, sustains, and honors family and community. Here you’ll hear about some of the many ways that neighbors produce, make, and share food, whether as part of gardening, farming, cooking, teaching, feasting, working, serving, or protesting for rights to eat at the same counters as whites and to receive fair wages for food service. A Place at the Table is an invitation to break bread with Northside neighbors. Pull up a chair.

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 Gracie Webb - On her family, growing up in Northside, and changes in Northside

Throughout Gracie Webb’s life she has seemingly always been in the Northside and Cedar Groves area of Chapel Hill-Carrboro. Reminiscing through the memories of her childhood, Mrs. Webb talks about her most fond experiences of cooking with her mother and grandmother, eating with her family on…

 Amanda Ashley - On food during her childhood and learning to cook

Amanda Ashley describes her experiences with food in her childhood as the interviewer introduces the Food Ministry. Amanda shares how her mother’s occupation as a nutrition teacher influenced her food intake. Food in her household was less processed. Amanda describes her learning experiences in…

 Lavisha Williams - On food, cooking, and eating

Lavisha Williams grew up with her maternal grandparents as part of the household, and learned to cook watching them and her parents. Most of the foods and meals she grew up with had been passed down from her great-grandparents without cookbooks or precise recipes. Most of what she ate with her…

 Williestine McLean - On her childhood, parents, food, and farming

Williestine McLean begins the interview by sharing her childhood background of living in Darlington, SC with 12 siblings. She also includes her battle with cancer and having to attend UNC Hospitals for treatment. Willistine describes her parents’ relationship; her father was in his 20s and her…

 Robert Revels - On working in the food industry

This interview includes the interviewee’s background and his occupational history with food. He considers his first kitchen to be at the Carolina Inn in the 1940s and 1950s. His favorite dish to cook at the Carolina Inn was roast beef. Revels states that his favorite place to cook at was the Zoom…

 Regina Merritt - On food bringing people together

In this oral history, Regina Merritt discusses what her life was like growing up on a farm. From the beginning of the interview, it is clear that her grandmother was the centerpiece of her family. She cooked for not only her own family members, but also for anyone in the community who needed food.…

 Euzelle and R.D. Smith - On food and cooking

R.D. and Euzelle Smith have lived in Pottersfield in Chapel Hill since the 1940s. Both worked as educators in Chapel Hill for decades, and R.D. served as a member of the Town Council. They then became the namesakes for Smith Middle School when it was constructed. This interview was done as part of…

 Kathy Atwater - On food

Ms. Atwater gives an overview of food access in the community when she was growing up and how her family’s attitudes toward food have developed over the course of her life. Starting with a discussion of her mother’s kitchen and garden, she describes the role of food in her family and in the…

 Keith Edwards - On the importance of food

This interview includes Keith Edwards’s viewpoint on the importance of food in the home and in the community.  She recalls specific recipes in the interview. Edwards was born and raised in Carrboro where Domino’s Pizza is now located. She was one of eleven children in her household, and she…

 Donny "Hollywood" Riggsbee - On his childhood, food memories, and working at UNC

Donny Hollywood Riggsbee, a bachelor, gemini, grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He remembers the last few decades in North Carolina, reflecting on the fond memories of his family and friends. He reflects on his time at UNC, working in housing and Lenoir dining hall. He shares his entertainment…

 Roberto Gonzalez - On food, immigrating, and his relationships with Northside neighbors and the Chapel Hill Latino community

This interview is part of the Marian Cheek Jackson Center’s A Place at the Table Series. Roberto Gonzalez, a resident of the Northside neighborhood and tenant of St. Josephs CME church, immigrated from Mexico to Chapel Hill when he was about 26 years old. After arriving in 2007, he was introduced to…

 Joyce Long - On the connections between food, family, and memory

Having lived in New York City before moving to Chapel Hill, Joyce Long has seen firsthand the differences between Northern and Southern cooking. Her father owned a restaurant in Harlem, but she and her mother did most of the cooking in the home. Her mother taught her to be a creative cook, and…

 Martrina Morrow - On food and food accessibility

This interview provides discussion of food, especially the process of getting food, and the amount of food you could buy. Furthermore, Morrow describes the change in money changes to affect how much food you can buy. She also demonstrates how money affects traditions. Her area had no farmers market…

 Lillie Edwards and Juanita Washington - On food and cooking

Lillie recounts on her first experiences with cooking bread as a young girl. She was the designated cook of the family. She also talks about her mother’s cooking style since her mother does not use standard recipes to cook. Juanita speaks about Mama Dip (her aunt) being the head cook in her family.…

 Willie Mae Patterson - On cooking and food

As a part of the Jackson Center’s food ways project, Willie Mae Patterson speaks to her experience with food and cooking. White Patterson grew up with a very small kitchen, her grandma taught her how to cook and always had lots of vegetables in her garden. Some of Patterson’s most popular dishes…

 Mildred Council - On food, business, and Mama Dip's

Food is inextricably woven into Mildred Council’s life story. She grew up on a farm outside of Chapel Hill and cooked mostly out of necessity, and her main concerns were cost and practicality. She started learning from her father when she was nine years old, and as she grew up she held different…

 Freddie Mae Mitchell - On her family and food

Ms. Freddie Mae Mitchell grew up on Graham Street, and as the oldest daughter in her family, she helped her parents by cooking for the rest of the family. Her cousins owned a farm, and her family would get food from them. When she got married she moved to Gomains Street, where she lived for ten…

 Katherine Council and Lillian Alston - On Heavenly Groceries, St. Joseph's Church, and the importance of volunteering

This interview is a part of the Marian Cheek Jackson Center’s A Place at the Table series. Katherine Council and Lillian Alston talk about their time volunteering with Heavenly Groceries. Katherine describes the origin of the food ministry before both women discuss their ties to the community and…

 Katherine Council - On food, cooking, and recipes

In this interview, Mama Kat, a cooking and baking extraordinaire, shares some of her kitchen expertise including tips and favorite recipes. Mama Kat learned how to cook from her parents and grandparents, and now writes down her recipes in cookbooks for others to follow. She discusses how products…

The Lenoir Strike:  A Story of Food and Fearlessness

The UNC Food Workers Strike, or what is commonly known as the Lenoir Strike, of 1969 catalyzed concern about the working conditions of cafeteria workers at UNC, many of whom were Northside residents. Led by Mary Smith and Elizabeth Brooks, the nearly year-long strike put gender and race at the…

Dishing It Up at Heavenly Groceries

The food ministry at St. Joseph C.M.E. began in 2004 as part of Rev. Troy F. Harrison’s vision of a “church without walls.” Initially a bread ministry stocked with loaves and coffeecakes donated by an Entemann’s Bakery Outlet, the ministry has grown to a grocery-style, no-documentation-needed, fresh…

On and Off the Midway

In 1957 in Chapel Hill, only 3 restaurants in Chapel Hill were desegregated, those owned and run by the immigrant Danziger family. Otherwise, Jim Crow laws kept Black residents from sharing a lunch counter, much less a table with whites. Breaking bread together would be one of the last thresholds of…

The Porches of Northside

The front porch.  The space between inside and outside, private and public worlds.  A place for friends and family to gather and to renew the essential connections that make up community.  A place to sit and watch out; a place from which to receive the waves of passing neighbors and strangers as…