Local traditions and culture in North Carolina

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Most Viewed Local Customs in North Carolina

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    4th of July Bryson City

    by Florida999 Written Aug 2, 2010

    Some of the smaller towns in the U.S. do just a great a job celebrating holidays as larger ones. We spent the 4th of July in Bryson City, and they had a lot of entertainment going on, on the 4th, including Elvis:)
    I prefer smaller towns for this event, since it is easier to get in and out. Large cities always have traffic problems, plus there are often just too many people there.
    But, usually the fireworks are not as elaborate as they would be in a large city.

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    North Carolina barbecue

    by b1bob Updated Sep 1, 2007

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    You often hear of North Carolina barbecue. Well, there is no single kind of North Carolina barbecue. What is generally regarded as North Carolina barbecue is the Eastern variety, for which whole pigs are usually cooked with a vinegar-based sauce and served with white or yellow slaw. There is a tomato-based version in the western part of the state which is often incorrectly called Virginia barbecue. This style of barbecue only uses the shoulders and served in a tomato-based sauce with red slaw. The line of demarcation for barbecue should not be the state line, but rather the fall line. There are numerous barbecue festivals across North Carolina, but the biggest one is in Lexington.

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    Calabash seafood

    by b1bob Updated Sep 1, 2007

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    Calabash, North Carolina is home to a style of dining. This small southeastern North Carolina town has become synonymous with a style of cooking that involves corn meal battering and frying. Fresh seafood is caught in the Atlantic and the locals like to fry it up, pile it high on the plate, and accompany it with fries, hush puppies, and a side of malt vinegar. Calabash style dining isn't for those who are minding the calories or the cholesterol, but I say, try it once and live a little! Many restaurants across parts of the United States attempt to imitate the style and call themselves "Calabash seafood restaurants" even though they may be hundreds of miles away.

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    Try Cheerwine

    by b1bob Updated Sep 1, 2007

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    Why is this cherry-flavoured soft drink called Cheerwine? In the early 1900s, soft drinks were often named for their appearance, hence the names root beer and ginger ale. Therefore, it made sense to name a burgundy-red, bubbly, cherry concoction- Cheerwine. Cheerwine is fairly unusual amongst sodas for what the company calls its intense cherry taste and rich burgundy colour not to mention the higher carbonation level. Cheerwine is widely available throughout the Carolinas and the southern tier of Virginia. Cheerwine is my favourite American soft drink. I like it almost as much as the Brazilian Antarctica guaraná. So, every time I visit my Grandma (right on the North Carolina border) I bring back a couple cases from Clarksville, Oxford, or South Boston.

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    Where Krispy Kreme got its start

    by b1bob Updated Sep 1, 2007

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    Many Americans and even foreign travelers are familiar with the chain of doughnut stores called Krispy Kreme. However, very few people from outside the South are aware that the chain had its humble beginnings in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In 1937, Vernon Rudolph bought a secret recipe from a French chef in New Orleans. He rented a building in Winston-Salem where he sold his first doughnut on 13 June 1937. They became so popular, that Mr. Rudolph opened the original Krispy Kreme store which still operates today.

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    The State Things

    by davecallahan Updated Apr 5, 2007

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    The State Motto is: Esse Quan Videri which is latin for "to be rather than to seem to be"

    The State Flower is: the dogwood. I love these trees. My neighbor has a flowering dogwood and they (the trees, not the neighbors) smell so sweet in the spring.

    The State Bird is: the Cardinal

    The State Beverage is: milk

    the state seal: figures of Liberty (with cap on pole) and Prosperity (Ceres with cornucopia) to signify freedom and plenty; Liberty is also holding a copy of the Constitution; Ceres is also holding heads of grain; there is a ship on the water to indicate the importance of commerce; the state motto spans the bottom

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    TARHEELS !

    by DAO Updated Mar 17, 2007

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    WHAT IS A TARHEEL? Once used as a term of derision, it has come to symolise the strength of North Carolininas in the face of adversity. During it early days as a British Colony, North Carolina was an important source of tar and pitch used by ships of the Royal Nay. As much as 100,000 barrels of this gruesome goo was shipped back to England every year. The writer Walt Whitman was famous for calling the local people "Tarboilers" as an insult. The name evolved to become Tar Heel. In the American Civil War, units from North Carolina made the furthest advance at the Battle of Gettysburg and held their position. Legend has it that a Confederate General said “God Blees those boys from North Carolina. They have stuck to their position like they have tar on their heels”, or so the legend goes. So Tar Heels get stuck in and hold on through even the toughest fight. It is also the name for students at The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

    By thw way, yes, I am a TAR HEEL!!!!

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    CAROLINA BLUE

    by DAO Updated Mar 17, 2007

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    Q. HOW DO YOU KNOW GOD IS A TARHEEL?

    A. BECAUSE THE SKY IS CAROLINA BLUE!

    The sky is Carolina Blue and there is nothing like Carolina Sunshine and a Carolina Blue Sky. Please note: These photographs were all taken in North Carolina. Accept no substitutes!

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    Moravian cookies

    by b1bob Updated Aug 26, 2006

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    Moravian cookies are traditional Christmas cookies in Moravia, Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakian immigrants settling in North Carolina (the Winston-Salem area) brought this cookie to the United States. Matt and I picked up tins of these cookies at the cashier's desk at the perfectly awful food court at Mount Vernon, Virginia in mid-October, 2004 and they turned out to be the best part of the meal.

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    Tar Heel Pie

    by b1bob Updated Aug 26, 2006

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    North Carolina's nickname is the Tar Heel State. The recipe for Tar Heel Pie is from an old North Carolina recipe:

    1 cup chocolate chips
    1 stick butter, melted
    1 cup chopped pecans (out of their shells)
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1/2 cup plain flour
    1/2 cup white sugar
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    2 eggs, beaten

    Pour warm butter over chocolate chips and stir. Blend all remaining ingredients and stir into chocolate chip mixture. Pour into an unbaked pie shell. Bake in a 350-degree Fahrenheit (180-degree Celsius) oven for 30-40 minutes (30 would be preferable, but add 2 minutes as needed). Overcooking can make the pie too hard.

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  • New Year's Day Good Luck Tradition!

    by Lafinwithu1953 Written Aug 26, 2006

    In much of the American South, eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day is thought to bring a year filled with luck.

    Black-eye peas, rice and ham hocks/ bacon are the basis of a dish called Hoppin John, which originates from the Slaves in W. Africa.

    There are at least 4 reasons for calling it Hoppin John. "Hop in, John," as one might say, "Go to it,".

    Another tale is that children would hop around the holiday table playing a game and chanting a rhyme called "Hoppin' John."

    The dish goes back to 1841, when it was hawked in the streets of Charleston, SC, by a crippled black man who was known as Hoppin' John.

    Southerners sometimes put collard greens into the Hoppin John, and serve it with cornbread, saying the peas stand for coins, the greens for cash, and the cornbread for gold.

    Some add a dime to the peas for an extra "boost" of luck. Greens, thought to symbolize folding money, are often eaten eaten with the peas, and simply cooked as a side dish.

    Hoppin' John

    2 c. dried black-eyed peas
    cold water
    1 lb. lean slab bacon or 1 pound meaty ham hocks
    1 lg. onion, chopped
    1/4-1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
    4 c. water or chicken broth
    2 c. long-grain white rice, uncooked
    salt and black pepper, to taste

    Sort through dry beans thoroughly for tiny pebbles or other debris. Soak, rinse, and drain.

    Place in a lg. pot over med-high heat, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 1-2 hrs. Drain, and rinse beans.

    Using the same pot, over med-high heat, add soaked black-eyed peas, bacon or ham hock, onion, and red pepper.

    Add water or chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low, and cook for 1 1/2-2 hrs., or until the peas are tender (do not boil as the beans will burst).

    Remove bacon/ ham hock, and cut into bite-size pieces. Return meat to pot.

    Stir in rice, cover, and cook 20-25 mins., or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper.

    Makes 8 servings

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    The Piedmont Region of NC

    by Shihar Written Feb 18, 2006

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    This is the central region of the state. The piedmont actually means"foot of the mountain". The Piedmont region actually is located between the Blue Ridge Mts. and the eastern " fall line" where all rivers have there last rapid before the coast.

    The piedmont region definately has it's diversity in the city and country roots of NC.

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    Southern Hospitality

    by Astrobuck Written Mar 12, 2005

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    When I was growing up, native North Carolinians stood out from most types of people. The males were all gentlemen, and the ladies were very down to earth. Unfortunately, for some reason, there has been a slow to rapid culture flux. Living in Wilmington and the coastal areas, this norm still held true. However, as you move westward toward the mountain areas, people begin to get mean, hateful, and very territorial. I'm not sure why this is, but the majority of the people in North Carolina are very nice, especially the ones who have lived there most of their lives. Others leave a lot to be desired. Overall, North Carolina is still a great place to spend your vacation.

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    Eastern Carolina BBQ

    by grandmaR Updated Dec 7, 2004

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    About 10 years ago, I went to the restaurant that offered a 'sampler' of BBQ styles. The four kinds they offered were Texas (range from thick, spicy, tomato-based sauces to thin, hot-pepper-based sauces), Kansas (thick, with a tomato and sugar base), Carolina (a very thin, vinegary sauce), Memphis (all three of the major ingredients– vinegar, mustard, and tomato). Generally I have not liked the Carolina BBQ because it is too vinegary.

    But last week on Roanoke Island I had some that I liked. It was pulled pork, served with mayonnaise-based coleslaw and hush puppies on the side.

    Gretchen (Gretnet@aol.com) on AOL NC Travel Boards offered this recipe

    "1 pork shoulder or butt, bone in or out--any size--the cooking time is the same for a 3#or 8# piece. BBQ rub of your choice - or just rub the meat with a mixture of coarse ground black pepper and brown sugar. Let marinate 8 hours or overnight.

    "Place the meat in a 250* oven for 8 hours uncovered . I have often done them overnight. You will have to slap your hands to have any left over as you take it out of the oven. When ready to serve pull chunks of meat off and then "pull" the meat into shreds by pulling between forks. Do not discard the fat--mix it in. This is not a low fat dish and to really enjoy, use it!!!

    "For a traditional Carolina serving method very lightly moisten the meat with sweetened vinegar (1 qt. vinegar + 1/4C sugar and 2TBS coarse black pepper). You should use this VERY sparingly--you should not even be able to detect it on the meat.

    "To warm before serving put the vinegared meat in a pan (black iron frying pan is good) and cover tightly. Heat at 250* until heated.

    "If you use commercial bbq sauce I suggest diluting them 1/2 with vinegar for this use. Eastern NC uses vinegar sauces--sweetened vinegar with 1/4C (at least!!) cayenne pepper OR black pepper. It is too hot for me!

    "To serve, offer bbq sauces, cole slaw (in the Carolinas, it goes ON the sandwich), baked beans, rolls, and banana pudding."

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    Core Sound Clam Chowder

    by grandmaR Updated Dec 5, 2004

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    I ordered clam chowder in Manteo on Roanoke Island, and was surprised to get something that was not a cream soup like New England or Boston clam chowder, nor was it tomato based like Manhattan style chowder.

    The first Clam Chowder (on the left) was Outer Banks or Hatteras style; clear broth and clam based. It includes clams, potatos, bacon, onion, and a few extras. ( No cream and no tomato!!)

    The second one was called Core Sound Clam Chowder (on the right) and had LOTS of clams and potatoes, but no bacon.

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